2012 Phillip Island MotoGP Race Result: Dominant Victory After Dramatic Early Laps
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Phillip Island:
Casey Stoner has completed his domination at Phillip Island, taking his 6th win in a row at his home circuit in his last ever MotoGP race there. A crash on lap 2 by Dani Pedrosa while leading the race ended the Spaniard's title hopes, making Jorge Lorenzo the 2012 MotoGP World Champion.
Stoner had to work for victory in the first couple of laps, though. It was Jorge Lorenzo who got the holeshot off the line, the Yamaha man getting a brilliant start and leading both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa into Doohan Corner, determined to win the championship in the most convincing manner possible. But Pedrosa was equally determined, passing Lorenzo for the lead into the Honda hairpin, and pushing hard to stay ahead. The finishing order between Pedrosa and Lorenzo would determine whether Pedrosa went to Valencia with a shot at the championship, or whether Lorenzo wrapped it up at Phillip Island.
With Pedrosa past Lorenzo, Stoner was sure to follow, the Australian snapping at Lorenzo's heels round the back half of the track and pushing the Yamaha man into MG. It would have to wait for the front straight, however, Stoner flying past down the Gardner Straight to take 2nd into Doohan, and setting his sights on his teammate. Stoner in 2nd behind his teammate would have aided Pedrosa's chances of a championship greatly, but both men and Honda had made it clear there would be no team orders, and Stoner had demonstrated during practice that he was nigh on impossible to beat at the Island.
Pedrosa's lead did not last long, though Stoner's pressure had little to do with it. In his determination to push on and keep a gap over Lorenzo, Pedrosa went into the Honda hairpin a little harder than he should have, and when he tipped the bike into the tight right hander, the rear let go, dumping Pedrosa unceremoniously on the ground, taking with it his hopes of a title. Pedrosa remounted, returned to the pits to see if the mechanics could fix the controls on the right clip on, but it was game over. Pedrosa had pushed the cooler right-hand side of the tire just a little too far at Phillip Island, and had paid the price.
His teammate's departure opened up the way for the triumphal display that the crowd had come to see, and which had been Casey Stoner's aim from the very beginning. Stoner quickly opened a gap over Jorge Lorenzo, extending it lap by lap and managing it to the end, to take his sixth win in a row at Phillip Island on his last ever appearance there. "Everything went perfectly," Stoner said in parc ferme afterwards.
Jorge Lorenzo may not have been able to match Stoner's pace - he had tried in the early laps, but nearly lost the front at Turn 2 and decided that the championship was more important than trying to challenge Stoner - but he was in a class of his own compared to the remainder of the field. Lorenzo rode a controlled but very fast race to come home 2nd, clinching the 2012 MotoGP title, his second World Championship to add to his first from 2010, in fitting style. Lorenzo retains his record of finishing no lower than 2nd this season, except for the DNF caused by Alvaro Bautista at Assen.
Cal Crutchlow rode a similarly lone race to come home in 3rd, an impressive achievement given that the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man had been struggling with bronchitis since he landed in Australia. On race day, it did not trouble him, and he went on to take his second ever MotoGP podium.
If the battle for the podium was non-existent, the fight for 4th was intense, and lasted all race long. In the end, Andrea Dovizioso came out on top, but only after some brave passes in the final laps. The Monster Tech 3 man had been engaged with San Carlo Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl from the very start, with little to choose between them. All three men led at one stage or another, with Stefan Bradl's gamble on the harder rear tire looking like paying off around mid-race, but it was not quite warm enough to give him the advantage he had hoped for. Bautista got past Bradl as they approached the two-thirds mark, and Dovizioso followed a few laps later. It took a last-gasp effort by Dovizioso going into Doohan Corner for the final time for Dovizioso to finally prevail, taking 4th ahead of Bautista, with Bradl in 6th.
Valentino Rossi crossed the line in 7th ahead of his factory Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden, after a lackluster weekend for the Ducati teammates. The factory men had even had trouble fending off Karel Abraham for a while, with the Cardion AB rider getting in front of Hayden and challenging Rossi hard up until the halfway mark. Abraham's pace dropped off in the later stages, the young Czech ending the race in 9th. Aleix Espargaro won a thrilling, race-long battle with his teammate Randy de Puniet by a narrow margin, extending his lead in the CRT standings, and securing the title of best CRT rider. De Puniet would need to finish at least 5th at Valencia to prevent Espargaro from taking that title, and though the CRT bikes have made strong progress during the year, they are not quite that good yet.
Jorge Lorenzo returns to Spain for the final race of the year as World Champion, a model of consistency and focus. Casey Stoner leaves Phillip Island as the master of his home circuit, making it six straight wins in a row, a record at the track. He leaves that record as his legacy at the track, along with Turn 3, which has been renamed Stoner Corner in his honor.
|11||14||Randy DE PUNIET||ART||42'01.666||1'00.342|
|14||51||Michele PIRRO||FTR||41'13.539||1 lap|
|15||22||Ivan SILVA||BQR||41'35.733||1 lap|
|84||Roberto ROLFO||ART||28'33.372||9 laps|
|5||Colin EDWARDS||SUTER||9'46.759||21 laps|
|77||James ELLISON||ART||7'58.865||22 laps|
|26||Dani PEDROSA||HONDA||1'37.097||26 laps|