Round three of MotoGP was about as straight forward as any race can get. With the top three riders sorting themselves out early on, the race at Estoril, Portugal primarily consisted of these riders holding their ground.
Nevertheless, this is no easy feat considering Estoril’s bumpy straights, constant radius corners, and a treacherous chicane between turns 8 and 10; this is by far one of the most difficult tracks on the MotoGP calendar.
Missing on Sunday’s grid was NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards who broke his collarbone in a crash with Randy De Puniet during Saturday’s qualifying session. Edwards will undergo surgery on his left collarbone today in Barcelona.
Starting from pole position, Casey Stoner (Honda) pulled into the lead by the second turn and held onto it throughout the race. By the end of the first lap, he was 1.6 seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who never quite managed to seriously threaten Stoner’s lead.
Both riders were experiencing some troubles with their bikes, which definitely contributed to the fairly tame nature of the race for first. Stoner suffered from chatter throughout the race due to the heavy braking required by the track layout, while Lorenzo burned his clutch at the start. Yet both riders were able to adjust to these setbacks as Stoner took home first, followed by Lorenzo in second.
Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo
Just behind these two was Dani Pedrosa (Honda). Due to a big slide at the start of the race, he was never able to catch up to Lorenzo and make a bid for second. However, he remained a good 10 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack and landed in a comfortable third place.
The battle for fourth came down to Monster Energy Yamaha teammates, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, who kept close to each other for most of the race. Eventually running wide on Turn 6, Crutchlow gave Dovizioso a chance to secure fourth, while he ended up finishing fifth.
Alvaro Bautista (Honda) spent most of the race minding his own business in sixth, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Ducati). Rossi put in some time dueling with Ben Spies (Yamaha), who had a promising start in fourth, but after running wide, continued to fall back throughout the race. Rossi would eventually beat him out for seventh, and Spies would have to settle for eighth. Rounding out the top ten were Stefan Bradi (Honda) and Hector Barbera (Ducati).
With his second win of the season, Stoner now leads in points at 66. Just one point behind him is Lorenzo at 64, while Pedrosa stands in third with 52. Stoner’s win at Estoril also means that he has now won on every track on the current MotoGP schedule.
MotoGP 2012 now breaks for two weeks before returning with the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans on May 20th.
2012 MotoGP Estoril Results
- Casey Stoner (Honda)
- Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +1.421
- Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +3.621
- Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha) +13.846
- Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha) +16.690
- Alvaro Bautista (Honda) +21.884
- Valentino Rossi (Ducati) +26.797
- Ben Spies (Yamaha) +33.262
- Stefan Bradl (Honda) +35.867
- Hector Barbera (Ducati) +53.363
- Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +1’02.630
- Aleix Espargaro (ART) +1’20.736
- Randy de Puniet (ART) +1’23.483
- Michele Pirro (FTR) +1’37.905
- Danilo Petrucci (Loda) +1 Lap