2011 Indianapolis MotoGP Race Result: Victory Taken In Race Of Attrition

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Indianapolis:

Casey Stoner has taken a virtually unchallenged win at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his 7th victory of the season and the 30th of his career, extending his championship lead to a sovereign 44 points over 2010 champion Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner's victory did not look certain at the start. His Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa pulled one of his usual jet-propelled starts, rocketing into the lead off the line and ahead into Turn 1. Lorenzo followed, slotting in behind his compatriot and ahead of Stoner, right where the Yamaha man needed to be if he was to take back points from the Australian.

The third man on the front row, Ben Spies, did not have such a fortuitous start: slow off the line, Spies found himself caught up in traffic, and getting pushed off line a couple of times, he was soon bumped down to 9th. His fellow American Nicky Hayden fortunes were diametrically opposed, Hayden forging his way forward to 4th, and running with the front group early on.

With his teammate getting away at the front, Stoner felt that he could not be left to hang around in 3rd. But solving that problem first meant getting past Jorge Lorenzo, and Lorenzo had other ideas entirely. Stoner shoved his wheel in any gap that Lorenzo offered, but the Yamaha man slammed the door shut at every opportunity, keeping Stoner behind for the first two laps. But Lorenzo could only postpone the inevitable for so long, and Stoner's drive out of the final corner meant that he motored past the Spaniard as they crossed the line to start lap 3, and despite a valiant attempt to defend into Turn 1, Lorenzo was forced to concede.

Stoner's next target was Dani Pedrosa, but Pedrosa was proving a tougher fish to fry. Stoner chased down his teammate over the course of four laps, only getting past as they roared down the straight to start lap 7. Once past Pedrosa, Stoner was gone, quickly pulling out a 2 second lead, then eking out a tenth or a lap extra to build up a cushion. Though Stoner's advantage was not large, he was consistently the fastest man on the track, responding with ease any time that Pedrosa threatened. Stoner made the victory look simple, which belied the difficult conditions that almost everyone else appeared to struggle with.

Pedrosa, like Stoner, went unchallenged once the Australian was past. Lorenzo closed briefly on the second Repsol Honda, but soon faded from view, leaving Pedrosa to take an easy second. The Spaniard was pleased to have found the pace he missed during practice, but could do nothing about his teammate.

While the competition for the first two places was over quickly, there was plenty of interest further down the field. With the two Repsol Hondas gone, Jorge Lorenzo then had a third factory Honda in the shape of Marco Simoncelli to contend with. That looked like ending as badly for Lorenzo as his encounter with Stoner had a few laps earlier, but Simoncelli ran out of tires just as he closed on Lorenzo. An aborted pass on lap 5 proved the turning point, Simoncelli going backwards from that point onwards, joining Nicky Hayden as they went backwards through the field. Simoncelli's fall was down to tires deteriorating in the heat, while Hayden's crew had gambled on using the softer of the front tires, a gamble that turned sour as the race went on, the American pulling in at one point, then rejoining to finish last, 2 laps down on the field, his front tire worn down to the carcass.

Simoncelli and Hayden's backward progress were mirrored by the meteoric rise of Ben Spies. The Texan's dismal first lap unleashed a gritty determination in the Yamaha rider, Spies cutting his way surgically through the field. From 9th on lap 1 he started picking off the riders ahead of him, taking Colin Edwards, Alvaro Bautista, Hayden and Simoncelli, and then Andrea Dovizioso on his way forward. He came at last to his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, and proving that team orders do not exist in MotoGP, eased his way ahead of the slower Lorenzo on lap 17. An outstanding recovery saw Spies make it all the way to the podium, posting times along the way that would have seen him capable of matching Stoner's pace. But an average start and some bad luck getting boxed in on the early corners meant that 3rd was the best Spies could do on the day.

Lorenzo was left to settle for 4th, having given up 12 precious points to Stoner in the title race, with nothing the Spaniard could do about his title rival. Lorenzo was lucky not to have lost another position, as Andrea Dovizioso posted another solid performance to finish 5th, nearly catching Lorenzo on the final lap. Alvaro Bautista posted his second best result of the season to finish 6th, running a strong race on the Rizla Suzuki, and finishing ahead of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards, the first of the satellite machines. Randy de Puniet won the most entertaining battle of the race, the Frenchman fighting with Hector Barbera and Hiroshi Aoyama for the second half of the race. Barbera washed out the front of his Mapfre Aspar Ducati on the final lap, scoring a DNF within sight of the finish, while Aoyama held on to finish 9th behind De Puniet. 

Valentino Rossi crossed the line in 10th, after a bizarre race that saw the Italian almost pull out a number of times. A gearbox problem with the Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1's seamless transmission meant that Rossi kept hitting neutrals as he changed down through the box. Having started from 14th, and crossed the line as 17th and dead last for 5 laps, ending up in 10th was much better than he might have expected. But the Ducatis were particularly hard on the the tires at Indianapolis, and all things considered, it was a dire weekend for the Bologna factory.

Stoner's victory puts him firmly in charge of the 2011 championship, and takes the title out of Lorenzo's hands. Facing a 44-point deficit with six races to go, Lorenzo will need some help from other riders - or from a Stoner DNF - if he is to wrest the championship out of Stoner's grasp. All is not lost for Lorenzo, but his deficit leaves him with no choice but to attend Motegi if he is to have a chance of defending his title. The task has become a very uphill one indeed now.

Results:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 46'52.786  
2 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 46'57.614 4.828
3 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 47'03.389 10.603
4 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 47'09.362 16.576
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 47'09.988 17.202
6 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 47'23.233 30.447
7 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 47'32.476 39.690
8 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 47'46.202 53.416
9 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 47'46.576 53.790
10 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 47'48.131 55.345
11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 47'49.970 57.184
12 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 47'52.927 1'00.141
13 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 47'54.955 1'02.169
14 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 47'38.936 2 laps
Not Classified
  8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 46'03.510 1 lap
  17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 34'36.516 8 laps
  65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 27'47.440 12 laps

 

2011
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Total votes: 37

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Comments

Casey just looks stronger and stronger, can get those hard fronts to work like no other rider. The soft front was obviously no alternative. Not a memorable race but a good result for Honda, a disaster for Ducati and Rossi. Back to Europe and closer to Phillip Island.

Total votes: 89

well, ... well done Mr. Stoner! And with "Stoner Tracks" like Aragon, Philip Island and Valencia to race ..., doesn't look very bright for JLo and the rest.

... feeling sorry for Hayden as he rode strong at the beginning.

And Bautista is making the progress ROS is talking about.

Total votes: 85

He looks better every race on his Suzuki!
And he and his bike are making progress indeed.

Total votes: 94

It was great to see Bautista outdragging a Honda down the straight, things with their 800 are improving, and being that it seems they are keeping it for next year, it should be strong.

Total votes: 80

I´ve read rumors that they change their minds about running an 800 next year. Apparently they are doing private tests on a 1000 that is going rather well. I hope that`s true or they will go back to zero (performance wise).

Total votes: 83

Yeah, it's great to see Suzuki getting nearer and nearer to the factory performance. As David pointed out years ago, rules need to stay as constant as possible with minimal changes so it levels the playing field for "Madman trying to race".

If the rumors for Suzuki running the new formula is true, I hope they are close to the front in terms of machinery.

Total votes: 90

I may have been hallucinating, but I could have sworn I saw red flashes on the sidewall of Spies front tyre on the warm down lap. Is it possible that he ran the softest of the 3 tyres available this weekend?

Since several riders said the hard was graining worse than the medium, it would make some sense...

Total votes: 90

You're right. Haven't spotted a photo of a "third option" front yet...

Total votes: 85

After taking some steps back at Mugello and Sachsenring and letting Lorenzo back in the game, Stoner really seems to have digged reep to raise his game.

Total votes: 83

I don't think Stoner deserves anywhere near all the blame / credit for the team's recent dip / recovery in performance. It seems they took a wrong turn with regard to suspension setting and tire management. Once they corrected the mistake, it was back to "Situation normal, Stoner dusts them all."

Gotta empathize with J-Lo. Watching your title inexorably slipping away 10 points at a time must be tough.

Total votes: 93

Stoner is in a class by himself! Ped & Dovi can't even keep him in sight, let alone push/race w/ him! The big surprise was Spies beating JLo so easily. If Spies would have got a decent start he 'might' have made it interesting for awhile, but I don't think he could have beat Stoner. Did Burgess really say, that w/the way Casey/Honda combo is looking, he might not be beatable for the next 5 years? David, any comment on that?

Ducati? Saying the bike is 'junk' would be an understatement! How many Duc's ate the front tire and came in? To see Rossi struggling w/the back markers says volumes about how much of a dog the bike is.

Total votes: 82

New Class at the back of the field you mean !!!

VR must be apoplectic.
Ditto Dorna - their biggest marketing asset a non event - they WON'T be happy.

Burgess says the upgraded front end "(Ducati supplied the parts) is now built as it should have been in the first place. We made some fundamental changes and made it the right way."

Shuhei Nakamoto/HRC says he is surprised Ducati has not made more changes this season in response to VR's complaints about the GP11.

"If Honda had similar results to Valentino then we would have already tried more things to improve the bike," he said.

Is comment needed ?

Surely there must be serious discussion at Marlboro.

EDIT: Sorry guys - in NO WAY did I mean to diminish Casey's stellar talent. Just in case you read it that way.
.

Total votes: 86

...because Casey insists his team is struggling with his setup for the last three races and still he's kicked everybody's arse in Laguna, Brno and Indy. I'm kind of worried to what will happen the day they finally nail a "good" setup. Congrats to Casey, he is really riding superbly, he should however thank more his team and Honda. They are also doing a grand job.

Total votes: 101

I picked Ben for the win, but that first sequence of bends put paid to that.
Would have been hard to beat Casey, though, the way he rode all weekend.

That's 7 wins this year for Casey, and zero for Vali.
Vali's worst win count in the premier class has been in 2000 and 2010, where he won 2 races. Unless something magical happens this will be his worst year in GPs.

Be patient, I'm getting to my point..... :-)
If we chart the arc of Vali's career, we could almost say - based on his talent and how fast we know he can be - that the Ducati bikes really should not be rated as "factory" rides at the minute. Remember, Vali had 9 wins in 2008, and he has not suddenly become a worse rider. As Marco Melandri found, the Ducati can be a career re-defining experience, and not in a good way.
Ducati are looking more and more like a bunch of rank amateurs, and they need to pull their collective fingers out very quickly, this is fast becoming an absolute embarrassment.

Total votes: 99

They're not amateurs but they blundered down a route with their thirst for innovation (revolution) verses the time honoured "evolution".

They are really a small outfit compared to the other manufacturers so they are probably punching far above their weight and they are proud of that.

However, it's difficult for anyone to admit mistakes and this one is a major one so they are trying to persist to save some face. It's been an embarrassing exercise for everyone involved from Rossi/Burgess who, at the end of last season, thought their huge talents would quickly whip the bike into shape, to Ducati engineers, designs and management who don't seem to want to admit publicly that they made a huge error.

They arrogantly would not listen to Stoner who has been telling them the same thing as Rossi et al. They didn't listen because they thought Stoner wasn't that good. Ducati thought that it was their bike that was the winning factor and it was coincidently Stoner's style that suited the bike whereas every other Ducati riders style didn't. They probably told other riders to learn to ride like Stoner! Now that they have Rossi/Burgess who have the reputations and respect of the world it makes Ducati look stupid.

To make matters worse, I think they're majorly embarrassed and now they're fighting tooth and nail to prove that they were right in the first place and that they really are a technological forward thinking innovative company. Maybe they think that this concept is what sells their bikes worldwide?

Ducati's tradition is being different ..."sometimes you have to choose between tradition and success."

Total votes: 96

When Ducati took on Stoner in 2007, he was still largely an unknown quantity with a string of crashes, and they gave him their new 800 design to ride. It's probably not surprising that their immediate success made it hard for them to recognise they'd just happened to luck onto a rare talent, and accept that Casey was such a significant part of them winning the title that year. It's easy to imagine them assuming the bike must be the main reason.

Jeremy Burgess commented some time back that he believed Ducati let themselves down in the past, by only analysing their successes and not their failures. He said that their mistake was to assume the failures were primarily rider errors, while the successes were a confirmation of their design. In fact, they should have been far more critical in the assessment of the failures, and less easily accepting of their success.

It's only now that they have an unquestionable talent in the rider seat, who is struggling so badly with their design, that they have been forced to acknowledge how much Casey was responsible for their previous success.

Total votes: 96

Spot on-exactly what I was thinking!
I can only hope that VR is not getting so angry that he starts overriding that thing too much and gets another injury.
I´m already looking forward to next season, where they can start from scratch with the Ducati, but I have also doubts already that they will truly listen and admit their mistakes.
We will see.

Total votes: 83

You meant "Any idea how Casey managed to win 1 of every 3 races on the Ducati then?"

During his 4 years at Ducati (67 races), Stoner won 23 times (34%) and stood on the rostrum 42 times (63%).

He failed to qualify on the front row (top 3) only 20 times, which is 70% of starts from the front row.

Total votes: 89

It's not hard to answer, silversixtiesfan.......
One season with a technical advantage, and the much under-valued precocious talent of Stoner.
Then a number of years with the Bridgestone tyres that maybe stopped suiting the Ducati so much, as they became the control tyre, combined with the still under-valued and maturing talent of Stoner masking a lack of technical development compared to their rivals.
And finally, the loss of the under-valued talent, and a continued inability to make up the lost technical ground, and a blind faith in their chosen path.

The one variable removed this year is Stoner.
Casey won because he was Casey. Pure talent won out.

Total votes: 101

Admittedly, I was one of the smack talkers when Duc signed Casey Stoner back at the end of 2006. However, it all changed after that.

The IRONY of modern MotoGP era, fans complaint of electronics but for a few years, Casey in my opinion, is moving art form on an ill mannered Italian beast that electronics could only help so much, even when riding by himself clearing out from the rest.

Don't have the slightest doubt Casey should be pretty fast on a 500cc GP machine. Maybe Dorna should host a round of 500cc GP race at the end of the year just for the fans, lol. Teams can race any 500cc GP they could get their hands on, ha ha.

Total votes: 92

It's simple logic. The yam can't hang with the honda this year, neither Caseys nor Dani's even struggling with Dovis, and the duke could only hang with the yam 3 times last year all but one when Jlo had run out of engines(well reported at the time) going off that and the fact that the duke was going backwards 'every season' it's hard to imagine Casey maintaining even his 4th place this season on it. The downward spiral started way before Rossi got there, the problem is they still haven't done anything about i.

Total votes: 91

Please, PLEASE get your starts sorted...

But, thanks for providing the most entertaining part of the race, well done coming through the pack

Total votes: 92

I was surprised Spies said after the race that his start off the line was not THAT bad. He was second on the grid and entered the first corner in what, sixth?
Dovi may have touched him a few corners later but he really has no one else but himself to blame for a bad first part of the race.
But indeed, he came back really strong and aggressive. Well done on that part.

Total votes: 87

Spies entered the first corner in fourth which is about to be expected with Pedrosa always a factor into turn 1, Lorenzo made a good start also and held a good inside line. Spies was unlucky, and not IMO thru fault of his own in that he got closed out and lost many positions in one corner. It happens.
Testament to his form that he remained cool headed and steadily, methodically and when luck favoured, worked is way forward. As the BBC commentators mentioned, he will not be happy with the result, but would of greatly enjoyed the race.

Total votes: 84

and we can settle in between: he enters the corner in fifth. Hayden was already ahead of him.

Total votes: 89

Great to see Casey on a bike that works and him taking full advantage of it.

For all the comments directed at Casey the last couple of years re: his performance
on the Ducati, he seems to be very gracious regarding the situation the current Ducati
are dealing with.

Sad to see the Ducs struggling and impacting the riders capabilities so much.

The Honda & Yamaha seem to allow the full talent of the riders to show through,
the Duc continues to hinder the riders ..

Wouldn't we all chip in a few $$ to see a race where the MotoGP squad
is on a single type of spec bike - where rider skills, feedback to crew & set up
make the only difference?

Ah well, back to MotoGP land!

Total votes: 90

He did well to finish in 10th. Probably better by miles than he hoped for early in the race. Not such a god ride for Cal Crutchlow. I would have thought he could have been quite a bit higher.

Is this the worst weekend for Ducati ever? They made up nearly 60% of the wrong end of the field. Please, please oh mighty beings who rule the planets etc .... give Ducati a bit of luck to make them more competitive (not too much though and definitely not enough to beat Stoner :-)). We really need them to be more in the mix up front.

How are things shaping up for Bautista now for next year. He rode well and sensibly finished the race. Certainly won't harm his prospects.

Total votes: 88

I understand full well that the Ducati is an expensive carbon turd at the moment, but of interest is Rossi's approach to riding. A lot of pundits earlier on is the season thought that he could or would learn to ride around the issues of the bike eventually, but it is becoming more apparent that instead of learning to ride the bike as is, they will just test and tune and replace parts and even bikes until the shoe magically drops. This may be a sound approach to gaining extra testing for 2012, but the present effect it's having is that Vale is fast becoming the slowest of the Ducati riders. Unwilling to risk himself through injury, he seems content to rest on the laurels of past achievements, allowing the likes of Hayden (now again on equal machinery) and Barbera (on older spec) to shine. Stoner's comments earlier in the season re Rossi's results seem to have some merit, whereby he suggested that rather than try to turn the bike into something it's not, learn to ride it as it is.

While I understand Rossi's approach intellectually, it bothers me as a race fan, because I expect a top level rider to give it his all no matter what, to do the best with what he's been given. Sadly, I am losing belief that Vale is doing just that, but rather waiting for the right setup combo to appear. No doubt he will be quick if/when that package does arrive, but at what cost?

Total votes: 87

Sadly, I am losing belief that Vale is doing just that, but rather waiting for the right setup combo to appear.

You could also see it from the opposite direction - if Rossi starts adapting his riding style and brings home some good results couldn't that prompt Ducati to fall back to bad old behaviors and make them believe again that "there's nothing wrong" with their bike?

Total votes: 86

The short video with Alessandro Cicognani on MotoGP.com is a bit disconcerting.

Perhaps there is something lost by him speaking in a 2nd language, but he seems to be suggesting that the problem is the Bridgestone tyres being incompatible with their bike, and cites as evidence the fact that all the Ducatis performed so badly and destroyed tyres.

I would have thought that Racing-101 says that if you have a control tyre, you design your bike to optimise it, not try and modify it to comply later... but either way, this sounds like an admission of basic design error.

Total votes: 91

With Rossi not willing to hang it all out on a bad setup, good results now will instead prove that Ducati has made progress with the bike, Brno for example.

Total votes: 84

I thought that it has Hayden that Stoner commented on, (and copped a predictable lot of flack for) when he said something on the lines of: 'Maybe if he rode the bike like he did last year instead of waiting for the development to bring a new bike along he'd be doing better' (roughly paraphrased). What was taken then as a somewhat carping piece of gratuitous advice rather looks like kindly prescience at the moment. Seeing Hayden's parents in the pit box was a rather sad moment; it looked as if the gloss from his sister's wedding had been swept away.

Total votes: 81

Stoner has showed consistently that he knows exactly what he is talking about when it comes to MotoGP racing. That applies to his Ducati years and his current situation. Unlike Rossi, Stoner is certainly not the diplomat, which riles some people, but you don't get to be an alien just by being fast, you get there by being smart about your racing. Just ask Simoncelli. Fast, but not very smart about his set-up and racing. And for those who claim that Stoner and his crew don't know how to set up a bike, this weekend is a classic example of how wrong they are. A tricky racetrack, and as the Bridgestone people commented, it was those who got their set-up right that did well. No-one more so than Stoner and his crew.

Felt very sorry for Hayden, he should have done well this weekend, and he should beaten Rossi. But he and his team chose the wrong front tire, so they can only blame themselves. And Spies has got learn that the start is a critical part of the race. Charging through the field from way back might look spectacular, and get some fans excited, but it is not the way to win races in this era. He has got to get everything right to beat Stoner. He got it right at Assen, just has to do it every race day.

Total votes: 82

I think that Stoner was saying that he was surprised at both riders' situation, but more surprised at Hayden because he was at the same speed or slower than last year on similar machinery. Of Rossi he said that he looked uncomfortable and wasn't pushing the bike hard enough.

Thinking on it, it may be that Stoner mentioned Rossi only briefly because any heavy public criticism of Rossi's riding would create a media and public poopstorm the likes of which Stoner wasn't about to enter into.

In other news, the Ducati completely miffs me. It seems like they have taken weight off the front as of late, and when the bike brakes heavily, the front end dives only maybe a cm. Despite this, it eats front tires! I can't help but wonder in all this that if they went back to Stoner end of year 2010 settings, and were told to just ride the thing, they'd have better results. It wouldn't help development for 2012 much, but we'd be watching racing rather than testing at least.

Total votes: 90

Also, I found this - perhaps this has turned out to be the most ridiculous Rossi quote re Stoner:

But Rossi says it is hard to judge the potential of the Ducati because Stoner does not ride the machine to its limits.

"It is very difficult to understand the level of the Ducati because Stoner doesn't push at 100 per cent,'' Rossi said.

from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/stung-stoner-blasts-rossi/story-e6frf9...

Total votes: 91

Stoner has changed the way riders and teams approach practice and qualifying sessions. Livio Suppo stated once (2009 I think) that Stoner has the ability to feel very small changes in bike setup and also to quickly understand the potential of each change. He uses that ability to his benefit because you can't make changes to the bike while the rider is doing laps on it. This is why they are able to set the bike up so comparitively quickly on new, wet, or significantly altered tracks.

From the motogp.com site the "Kilometers in practice" statistic supports Suppo's comments. Of the 17 regular motogp riders Stoner sits 14th in kilometers ridden in practice for 2011. Only Pedrosa and Capirossi have completed fewer. De Puniet and Bautista who both have also missed entire meetings due to injury have done more klms in practice than Stoner.

The practice marathon men are Dovisioso, Lorenzo and Aoyama, but even their "long runs" are now down to 6 - 7 laps from the 12 - 15 we used to see from them. Stoner knows what works for him and the other riders are starting to copy him.

Total votes: 84

why I derive a perverse satisfaction at Rossi proving that the myth of him being a brilliant development rider is just that ...a myth.

At his behest, Ducati have developed a bike that is effectively worse than their customer bike, Rossi's unquestionable riding talent counts for nought.

Total votes: 86

Unfortunately the standard Rossi vs Stoner crap coming out once again. A great race from Stoner, the guys is fast , the fastest this year on the equipment available. "Fullstop". Results dont lie. All the conjecture about Stoner being able to ride the Duc and Rossi not trying = all mind-farts, ie opinions which cannot be substantiated. Without a doubt Honda has the best kit this year, add to that a selection of the best riders, if not the best 800 rider and that results in the fastest time and most probably the championship.

Yamaha was the bike to have last year, they also have been unable to keep up with the Honda's. Developed and progress made but not enough.

Rossi not pushing?? He has fallen more on the Duc than previous years, much more, so he has to be pushing. Ducati was in a downward spiral after 2007-2008 and has not yet recovered. Hayden with soft tyre riding in 4th for 30% of the race does not prove progress.

Honda is on the ball with developement, not competetive last year, not really and now they have hit the mark.

Enough drama this year just not close enough racing.

Reckon Stoner will go to Motegi?

Total votes: 93

"Results dont lie. All the conjecture about Stoner being able to ride the Duc and Rossi not trying = all mind-farts, ie opinions which cannot be substantiated."

Wait! What? Casey has the results to say that he can ride the Duc. That's not opinion, that's substantiated. It's also worth noting that there were very significant changes to the bike over his time there (the move to big bang and carbon fibre most notable).

"Without a doubt Honda has the best kit this year ... Yamaha was the bike to have last year"

I think both of those points are worthy of debate. The assumption that Honda have made a great development leap forward certainly contradicts statements made from people inside Honda. A new gearbox worth an estimated 0.1 to 0.2 seconds per lap is the only significant development I'm aware of (not that I'd know or understand the full set of changes, mind).

It's not the results that are in question, it's the theories that we invent to interpret the results that need to be questioned. You're theory says that Repsol's improvement in results are attributable to improvements to the bike, where others will say it's the change in rider line-up, with the truth probably being somewhere in between.

I'm happy to debate that with you, if you're happy to keep it scientific.

Total votes: 75

O.K I'll cut Hayden a little slack in that this was his first weekend riding the GP11.9. He made a desperate tyre choice and didn't have his set-up right. By for christs sake he rode that thing very well for the opening 5 laps staying in touch with the leaders. The bike looked stable and strong off the corners and down the straights. Dovi never managing to draft and pass on the supposedly vastly superior RCV.

Haydens team mate? He has no excuses. He needs to man up and justify his much vaunted status, Preziosi, Ducati and his own astronomical salary.

I'd like to see Spies on the Desmosedici one day. He has shown the ability to learn and adapt in recent the past and appears to have the dominating style required to get the best from the GP16.

Total votes: 91

Another very disappointing race from Ducati, if anything they seem to be going backwards. The bike has got progressively worse since Stoner won the title on it - but yesterday was a new low.

Two bikes retired, one crashed, Rossi's had gear box problems and Hayden's devoured a front tyre; this must be their worst weekend for some time.

Stoner was clearly the only person who could ride the thing and be at the front - but does anyone really believe (considering this years' bike is slower - if Hayden's times are anything to go by) that he would be challenging for the title on a Ducati?

Total votes: 88

There is no way that Stoner on a Ducati would beat Stoner on a Honda. Maybe an occasional race but not a championship. Nor would Stoner on a Ducati be ahead of Lorenzo in the championship this year. That is completely unrealistic.

At the same time, I don't ever recall Stoner putting in the kind of shockingly bad performances on the Ducati we have seen from Rossi on some occasions this year. Rossi almost four seconds off the pace at Silverstone for example! Never saw that from Stoner. And I am fairly sure that Stoner was never out qualified by a satellite Ducati. In fact, could be wrong, but I don't think that Stoner was ever beaten by a satellite Ducati in a race which Stoner finished. Apart from Donington in the wet in 2009 but Stoner and Hayden gambled on slicks in a wet race so that hardly counts.

Total votes: 85

I'd like to see the fact based(this is crucial) analysis that shows that 'riding it like Casey' would get you in the top four this year.. nevermind not only stiffled development but meant they rode the same chassis next year with a 1000 engine.. private ambulance anyone??

Total votes: 83

Clearly the Repsol guys found something to make the tyres last while still getting enough grip, since all 3 were still lapping fast at the end. I don't know that you can call running off and lapping faster than everyone else on the track "tire management"...

What was fascinating though was that Spies had a bike that worked and Lorenzo didn't. True, Ben is taller and heavier and so will never be running the same settings, but I'd have though there might have been some sort of hint passed across the garage.. "Hey, we did this and it seems to help..."

Total votes: 83

During the post race press conference, Ben Spies led on that the two had a nearly identical setup. Im tempted to say it was exactly the same (since, if you watch the conference, that's pretty much what he says), but better judgement leads me to believe that it was at least slightly modified. Most importantly, that Lorenzo's, "style seems to fit most tracks, this one suited mine." (roughly..).

Total votes: 93

Look, it's obvious that:

-Stoner was better than VR at riding the Ducati;
-Nobody else can go fast on the Ducati, and Stoner himself is faster and more consistent on the Honda;
-VR and Burgess under-estimated the challenge.

Things we can possibly conclude:
-If they were both on Ducatis, Stoner would beat Rossi;
-That no one is going to look their best on the current (or recent) Ducatis.

All the rest is just a waste of keystrokes. Why not just enjoy what is actually happening, rather than worry about what might happen in another universe in which everyone was riding 2009 Yamahas on individually tailored Michelins on a sunny day at Mugello? It will never happen, no one will ever be proved right or wrong, it's as useful as debating the number of angels on the head of a pin.

Total votes: 112

Can we please post your comment in any article that has the word "Stoner" or "Rossi" in it so we don't have to go over the same crap over and over and over......... good grief

Total votes: 72

And another of my posts deleted.
I´ll make it more simple:CS has yet to prove that he can achieve anything close to what VR did on Honda.Winning one title with Honda is not bad at all and I would be glad if I could be as fast as CS in a parade lap at the end of a race, but winning 5 in a row will not happen to him.

Total votes: 76

Your post got deleted because it was the exact opposite of what Graham asked: covered a lot of theoretical ground that made is akin (as someone else said) to debating how many angels can sit on the point of a needle.

I have had to delete a lot of posts comparing Rossi and Stoner. I expect I'll have to delete a lot more in the next couple of years.

Total votes: 82

After 5 seasons plus the current one in MotoGP, no one has won more races than Casey Stoner (Stoner 30, Rossi 26, Lorenzo 16, Pedrosa 14).
In fact he has won one third of the races he started from 2006!
Only one rider has gathered more podiums (Rossi 58, Stoner 54, Pedrosa 53, Lorenzo 41) but Stoner is very much likely to be on top of this list as well before this season ends.
For the moment one rider has won more world championships (Rossi 2, Stoner 1, Lorenzo 1, Hayden 1) but Stoner is well on his way to tie the score this year.

For many different reasons, Stoner's early career is far from being as successful as Rossi's.
However, since he entered MotoGP he has won more races than anybody else and in the end of this year he will be probably end up with more podiums than any other rider and as many world titles as Rossi over this period.

It's not really relevant to compare Stoner's performance with other riders' when they were in MotoGP while he was in 125 and 250 (when Stoner made his debut season in Grand Prix in 2002, Rossi was already in his 3rd season in 500/MotoGP and already had 3 world titles).
But when you compare Stoner's performance to any other current MotoGP rider since he joined the MotoGP field, the results will likely show that he is (provided he clinches that title in the end of the year) the best rider currently out there.

No one is arguing about his achievements being better than Rossi's, they're not (yet).
But still, Rossi has been around longer in 500/motoGP (12th season) than Stoner in Grand Prix, all categories included (10th season)!
In 5 or 6 years we will be able to make some relevant comparisons, and the fact that these 2 great champions actually crossed each other path (unlike Doohan and Rossi for instance) will make it even more interesting.

The thing is, comparing Rossi's and Stoner's results from 2006-2011 doesn't really look utterly favorable to Rossi and it will be quite the contrary if Stoner clinches this year's title indeed.

Please note that these statistics include Stoner's rookie year on a LCR satellite Honda (in the year the team was making the jump to MotoGP). Also Lorenzo only entered MotoGP 2 years later, in 2008.

No one knows the future so I can't say that Casey will win 4 or 5 titles in a row more than you can say he will not.
However some Grand Prix legends are starting to think that he could, and his current achievements at Honda (7 wins, 11 podiums, 7 poles and 11 starts from the front row out of 12 races) are certainly pointing in one direction more than the other. Given it's only his first year on the Honda, with some development input from his part to get the 2012 bike to suit him and better knowledge of his ride, his prospects for the next years don't look too bad...

Total votes: 84

Really a good post and I can´t deny a lot of things you´ve said.

It is clear that I´m a VR fan, but as an engineer I try to be lead by objective reasons.
Could CS convince me and turn me arround?
Yes, he just has to contribute some entertainment to the sport like Rossi did and that is probably very unlikely given his nature.

Total votes: 78

"It is clear that I´m a VR fan, but as an engineer I try to be lead by objective reasons."

From your posts here, I have to compliment you on your humility when confronted with better arguments/data. I will say that you're points are starting from a pretty subjective position, though (as most of us are).

"Yes, he just has to contribute some entertainment to the sport ..."

You're really not doing yourself any favours with this comment. I'm going to be generous and say that the only reason you're saying that is because you don't want to like Casey, so you're judging him by a standard that he can't possibly compare well against Valentino.

If you don't want to like Casey, that's totally fine. If you're going around admitting to only like "entertainers" though, you'll probably not be taken seriously around here, I'd imagine. That, and you're just going to cry when the Marquez show comes to town ;-)

Total votes: 89

So you are generous with me-oh thank you very much.
VR has proven over and over that he is the better racer than CS and only because he made one good racing move in 11 years hes suddenly"the man" because Kevin Schwantz is saying that while forgetting all good moves from VR.
CS was good on Ducati in 07 but it was going downhill from there.
Now he is on a Honda and I´m pretty sure its going downhill for him next year.
I´m looking forward to next season, when Stoner will develope again in the wrong direction and everybody will say"oh his riding technique is so special, even the Honda can not support his greatness enough".
We will see what happens in the future, but for me and millions of others its clear that as soon as VR quits its finally not worthy anymore watching MotoGP.

Total votes: 77

I must be very strange (or just lucky)- my respect and appreciation for the riders is not exclusive.. The achievements of one for me doesn't detract from that of those of other or those before or after.
That is why I like watching MotoGP (and other forms) and will continue to do so when a new crop arrives to replace the current stars.
In fact the changing of the guard with the arrival of new exciting talent is one of the most thrilling things in any sport, especially if the old guard refuses to go and fights back.

Total votes: 93

Steve, at least you are honest enough to admit you watch MotoGP for Rossi, not for the racing. In all honesty MotoGP doesn't need fans like that.

I've seen all Rossi's moves, and some of them were pretty good, but I don't recall anything like what Stoner did to Lorenzo at LS11.

Rossi is a great champion. So was Doohan, Rainey, Lawson, Hailwood, Agostini and others. But champions come and go. What matters in the end is the racing.

And it is interesting that despite Rossi no longer being a front runner MotoGP, attendances are very strong.

And there is every chance that 2012 will be a repeat of 2007. All new bikes, so everyone effectively starting from scratch, everyone chasing new set-ups at every track, and no-one deals with new conditions better than Stoner.

Total votes: 72

"So you are generous with me-oh thank you very much."

What I meant was that I wasn't going to accuse you of the sorts of things that you've just admitted to.

"I´m looking forward to next season, when Stoner will develope again in the wrong direction"

How good are your predictions for this year going?

"but for me and millions of others its clear that as soon as VR quits its finally not worthy anymore watching MotoGP"

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

You say that you want to be objective, but you can't even see that your fanaticism distorts your perception and limits your knowledge and enjoyment of the sport. Your honesty is commendable, but I won't be wasting my time responding to you again.

Total votes: 87

You don't like Stoner. How about Lorenzo - he took over the mantle from Rossi at Yamaha last year, he is more flamboyant than Stoner, is he not worth your time? Simoncelli is a character, you don't think he will ever put it together? Don't like Spies or Pedrosa? How about Marquez or Bradl in a year or two?

There are always riders worth watching in MotoGP. The races weren't as fun when Garry McCoy was gone but I learned to make do with Rossi et al. Guess what? The racing wasn't too bad. Now Rossi is a non-factor and guess what? Watching Spies charge at Indy, Lorenzo get up at Mugello or Stoner at LS has been pretty good. Move on.

(And are you really going to take potshots at Stoner's dev skills / 'special riding technique'? I think its pretty clear at this point that, whatever other shortcomings he may have, he can currently setup and ride both the best and worst bikes on the grid faster than anyone else in MotoGP. Combined with the rate he's piling up wins and we should be excited that another of the Great Ones has come along so soon)

Total votes: 82

Yet to contribute entertainment to the sport? Truly bizarre comment. Stoner is the most exciting rider in MotoGP. No-one else can manhandle, slide and ride a MotoGP machine on the edge the way he does. He has contributed enormously to MotoGP since 2006. Millions of words have been written about him. Love him or hate he has added a whole new dimension to MotoGP. He broke the Rossi/Yamaha domination with his championship win on the Ducati.

I note another post attacking personally Stoner was deleted. But any way it suggested that Stoner was just in MotoGP for the money, which is complete rubbish. This is a kid who came from the backblocks of Australian, no connections in Europe (unlike Rossi), a kid whose parents made big sacrifices to get him to Europe. He got where he is today through shear guts and determination. The guys loves motorcycle racing, it's what he lives for, it's his life, as he has said himself. He has said that it's all he wants to do for the forseeable future.

Was Doohan a colourful character, an entertainer in your terms? What about Gardner, Lawson, Rainey, even Schwantz? A certain kind of person is attracted to the juvenile antics of Rossi after a race win, just like there is a certain kind of person who watches motor racing hoping to see big accidents. Hopefully more people care about the racing, the stuff that Stoner does so well, not some peripheral nonsense.

You also claimed that Stoner is not a racer. The guy who won at Laguna Seca 2011 not a racer? With a move on Lorenzo that Schwantz said was one of the best he's ever seen in grand prix motorcycle racing.

Rossi is a great racer. So is Stoner. It's a pity some people are so one-eyed they can't acknowledge that talents of anyone except their particular hero.

Total votes: 77

Good post Frenchie. Just to add to that, Stoner started his MotoGP career on a satellite Honda, so he didn't have access to the best tires and best bits in his first year. Both Pedrosa and Lorenzo started with works teams (Rossi too, but the discussion is about about MotoGP from 2006). This makes Stoner achievements even more meritorious.

Total votes: 85

First off a 17 bike grid for the “premier” class of motorcycle racing in the world. 4 of those are back-marker Ducati’s, basically acting as “filler” so the grid doesn’t look as empty.

Another win by Stoner, wow big deal. As good as the guy is, it just highlights how lousy the field is. Since 2008 every race except Assen this year has been won be either Stoner, Pedrosa, Lorenzo or Rossi. In four years of racing there has been one winner (Spies) outside those four. How is that racing? That a 4 man match race. And while the Yamaha gets less and less competitive the series looks more like the Honda Championship. Dorna keeps introducing new rules and regulations to “keep costs down” but, like most bureaucratic butt-in-skis they actually increase the cost and make things less competitive. Weren’t they also responsible for the brilliant strong-arming to get Tony Elias back in the series? I guess it helped Pramac, they don’t feel so lonely at the back of the track.

The Honda mandated move to 800CC ruined the class. Going back to 1000CC is not going to fix anything. There will never be a competitive satellite team and this new “CRT” is just a bunch of nonsense to fill the grid. The prototypes are over 6 seconds of the pace of the 800s.

Who in their right mind would spend sponsor money on a team or rider, knowing if you are not one of the four, well now 3 (since Rossi ruined his career by going to Ducati) then you will never be on top of the podium. Plus, if Valentino Rossi, arguably the greatest rider ever can’t get a Ducati higher than 8th or 10th, what’s the point? Why does Pramac continue to pour money on back-markers? LCR gets some results only because they are a differently branded Repsol factory bike. I can’t imagine any rider wanting to go to MotoGP these days, there is no point unless you get a factory Honda ride. World Superbike is the place to be. They have real racing, actual competition and a (compared to MotoGP) full grid.

It’s a shame because it used to exciting to watch. Now is a just Repsol Honda parade………

Total votes: 80

It’s a shame because it used to exciting to watch. Now is a just Repsol Honda parade………

You didn't watch during Doohan's reign, I assume?

Total votes: 86

"this new “CRT” is just a bunch of nonsense to fill the grid. The prototypes are over 6 seconds of the pace of the 800s."
These prototype bikes with engine derived from production were 6 seconds from the 800s for the first direct comparison but merely 4 seconds from the 1000s (3 seconds from the 800s) 6 weeks after the previous test.
Edwards thinks CRT can be competitive at some tracks and given WSBK laptimes I can only agree that the right rider on the right bike will surprise lots of satellite riders.

"LCR gets some results only because they are a differently branded Repsol factory bike."
Here I assume you're talking about Simoncelli's Gresini bike, not Elias's LCR.

"It’s a shame because it used to exciting to watch. Now is a just Repsol Honda parade………"
So you missed Doohan but also early Rossi period?

Total votes: 86

Markferrigno, have you actually been watching WSBK? Largely dominated this year by two or sometimes three riders. Mostly a bunch of has-beens, wannabees and also-rans in a second tier series. Harsh but sadly true. The aliens win because they are easily the best four in the world. Name any rider that you could bring in on a Honda or Yamaha right now who could match the aliens. Spies dominated WSBK is his first and only year, but on a works Yamaha he is unable to match the top three on a consistent basis.

I feel sorry for anyone who can't appreciate just how good the top four are. Stoner in particular of the young guns will very likely go down in history as one of MotoGP's greatest ever riders. Rossi already is.

Rossi at Ducati is a whole different story. And by the way LCR does not have factory bikes. Only Simoncelli outside the works team has a factory Honda.

If I recall correctly, MotoGP has never had big fields, at least in the last twenty five years I have been watching it. And it has always been dominated by just a handful of riders, and sometimes just one (Doohan/early Rossi).

We have seen largely Yamaha domination for the last three years. It's about time that Honda got their act together.

Total votes: 85

I think Spies is a very relevant comparison element.
Killing the field in his rookie year in WSBK (got some very hard competition from Haga but had a few mechanicals, still 14 wins, 17 podiums and 11 poles out of 28 races) but the competition in MotoGP kept him honest.
He could become really really good, but he's not there yet, clearly the field is much more competitive in MotoGP.
No disrespect to Checa, who really deserves a world title in my opinion, but he was hardly setting the world on fire in 500/MotoGP (2 wins and 24 podiums in 12 seasons).

As David explained in previous articles, the "parade" racing probably has to do part with the rules (800s, fuel limits and unique tire supplier), part with the very very competitive field.
No more days when Rossi or Doohan could screw up in qualifying or at the start and make up for it later in the race, now you'll hardly gain back the time you lost because of a mistake. To gain so much time you'd have to be much faster than the opposition, as demonstrated by Spies at Indianapolis, but it remains exceptional, you don't have 1 second on the opposition anymore, whether you're called Rossi or not.

Total votes: 84

"As good as the guy is, it just highlights how lousy the field is."

I'm inclined to believe that there is more to the explanation than this. I highly doubt that the anemic grid is to blame for the poor spectacle (I enjoy watching either way).

During one of the FP sessions, Gavin Emmett (sp?) reviewed a statement by Cal Cructchlow. While in WSBK he used to slag on a lot of the MotoGP riders. How he could do better, scoffing their poor results, etc, etc. Flash forward, and Cal is getting schooled by a lot of these guys. Make no mistake: every rider on the grid is mind boggling fast. Even Toni Elias is no exception.

The real problem is that there is no room for error. The 800's seem to require inch perfect precision, and a real lack of respect for danger. The coalescement of: sensational electronic packages, difficult to confide in tires, and a harsh limit to fuel (21L), is a much more likely culprit.

If you ask me, this is probably one of the most comepetitive and talented grid MotoGP has seen in a while.

Total votes: 95

I watched Mick Doohan dominate. I also saw a rider who outclassed everyone in the field, a man who beat truley great riders on great machines. On a full grid, not the pathetic 17 bike "grid" of 2011

What I see now is a parade, much like F1, where passing is limited and electronics take away any leeway in riding style or line choice. There is no more "overriding" the bike as KR used to say. Electronics don't allow that, mkae even the slightest error and no way to make up that time.

Though racing is safer, it's less exciting and while I don't want to see crashes or injuries, what's the point of racing high performance motorcycles if most of risk is eliminated. It's pretty much pin the throttle, point the bike and go. Don't worry the electronics have your back.

Throw in the uttlerly pointless fuel restrictions and maps that slow the bikes down to "finish race mode" and the rideris now just manageing fuel and electronics, not "racing"

Yes, Stoner is great, though like his team mate Pedrosa he does not seem to enjoy racing. It's something he is good at so he does it.

My point is MotoGP is boring and predictable. 4 winners in 4 years (save one race) is something MotGP should be ashamed of.

In the years Mick dominated there were 10 other race winners. yes he dominated but there was avery competative field. Not so much today......

Total votes: 78

Every other race there is someone getting seriously injured. Race tracks are safer, racing certainly not.

Total votes: 80

Much bitter comments re Stoner/Rossi. Back to the event. As usual,I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sure,it was not the greatest race if you are one of those who judge any race's merits on the adrenalin generated by a last gasp pass for the win. Ben's charge was memorable. Likewise Bradl's clinical comeback in Moto 2.The superb foresight regarding set up was aptly demonstrated by Stoner,Pedrosa and Spies. At Ducati, Barbera got it all right barring the last corner. I was gutted on his behalf. He's a racer and Martinez and the team can be proud of his effort.
No doubt the Marlboro Ducati effort with their current rider line up are in dire straights on track and commercially henceforth.
I don't know where this will all end,but end it will.
If Ducati hope to wrest a GP title from HRC and Yamaha in the future, they, along with their sponsors need to keep their hearts' in their wallets.
2012 and 1000 is around the corner. Their factory riders are just getting older and slower. They need to replace them sooner rather than later with young blood. A Schumacher'esque 2012 awaits Rossi. Sentimentallity is not what they should be focussing on,nor 'magic potions'.
Rossi and the shoulder may have been a terminal GP issue for him. The bust leg, he recovered from very quickly,but he's never been the same since the shoulder op. No,its not just the bike. There are deeper and darker forces at work. After all the hype following the signing, the psycho pressure on him to deliver results is starting to tell.

Total votes: 78

There are a lot of comments on the lack of depth in MotoGP and how the old days had larger fields and better racing. I have watched some reruns of 500 races this year and there has been some truly great racing at the front. This is not surprising as the boring races don't get dragged out of the archives.
But what surprised me most and what I had forgotten was how slow the rest of the field could be and how common the lapping of multiple tail enders was.
Many of the grid fillers in the larger 500 fields looked like mobile roadblocks whose only role in the race was to create a sense of anxiety and a hope that they would do the right thing when the leader lapped them.
An example in the 1987 San Marino race riders down to 8th place were lapped and the last finisher in 21st place was three laps behind the winner.
Or the final 1987 race in Argentina that had only 15 starters and 13 finishers, five of whom were lapped, the last four times.
Nostalgia - ain't it selective.

Total votes: 101