The starting grid of the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix was not quite what people expected, but the qualify session of the previous day was so filled with accidents that there were bound to be changes for the actual race. Spies and Stoner both made it to the starting grid after their respective crashes, though Stoner was seen using crutches during practice because he had a few broken bones in his right ankle.
Nicky Hayden also made it to the circuit, but he had to watch from his garage and was not able to ride.
Straight into the first turn, Ben Spies on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine was already moving through to the front of the pack, moving past Dani Pedrosa in turn two. By the end of the first lap Spies was pulling away, crossing the start finish straight with a time of 1'45.554 on his 1000cc machine. Right behind him was Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda and Andrea Dovizioso on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in third.
As they crossed the line for lap two you could see Pedrosa looking through the turns around Spies. He mounted a challenge going into the first turn of lap 2 and these two front runners had a lead of 1.300 seconds over Jorge Lorenzo on his Factory Yamaha. Pedrosa tried to get around Spies again at the end of the straight, but Spies held his line and shut off the gas a split second later, keeping the front spot.
At this point of the race there were 1.476 seconds between first and third places. Moving into the fourth lap Pedrosa made yet another move on Spies and this time it worked, letting him take the lead. Within six turns Pedrosa had pulled away, solidifying his new lead. Even with his broken foot Stoner was holding on to sixth place behind Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda MotoGP machine.
On lap five, while the MotoGP pack started accelerating to full throttle down the start finish straight, a huge plume of smoke appeared as Ben Spies' engine blew, removing him from the race entirely. After the race Andrea Dovizioso talked about the oil that went onto his visor after the explosion and how it "upset his rhythm," causing him to lose a second on that lap. It took him two more laps to get back into the groove.
The pace picked up on lap eight with Pedrosa still leading and running at a 1'39.175. Jorge Lorenzo was 2.400 seconds behind him and Dovizioso 9.986 seconds behind the leader. Lorenzo had chosen to race with a soft rear tire and while this worked at the beginning, it started letting him down as the race progressed.
Lorenzo said in the press conference afterwards that he had tested the tire for "ten to twelve laps and had not simulated race distance taking a bit of chance with the choice". Tony Elisa on the Pramac Racing Ducati was the only other person on the soft rear tire and he finished the Indianapolis Grand Prix in eleventh place.
On lap nine Cal Crutchlow on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine lost his front end and was out of the race. This put Crutchlow, De Puniet, Spies, and Michele Pirro all on the bench. By the eleventh lap it was Dani Pedrosa's race to lose, running 3.104 seconds ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and 12.789 in front of Casey Stoner with his broken leg. Hobbled by his injury, Stoner was running a lap of 1'40.418.
On lap 14 the gap between Pedrosa and Stoner had increased even further to 14.330 seconds. Lorenzo fell to 4.285 seconds behind Pedrosa who posted a time of 1'39.088 on lap 15. As they passed the media center Lorenzo was lapping Aaron Yates, a back marker for the GP Tech wildcard ride.
Lorenzo made Yates on the BCL test machine look like he was standing still. Again in the press conference Lorenzo complained about the lack of "Blue Flags" being present when they were coming up on back markers. He said he had to try and pass Steve Rapp as if Rapp was "defending a podium position."
On lap 17 Pedrosa had a back end scare when his bike stepped out on a right hand turn. He said that he "hit a false neutral and when he put it back into first gear it nearly kicked him off." He managed to save it quickly and accelerated through the mistake, but the gap between himself and number 2 Lorenzo dropped to just 3.919 seconds and Stoner was 15.209 seconds off the leader.
Final MotoGP Laps
The standing as they rode into lap 19 was Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Stoner, Dovizioso, Bautista, Bradl, and finally Valentino Rossi running 1'41.740. Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Motoracin machine in eighth was running a time of 1'42.011.
By lap 21 Pedrosa increased his lead back up to 4.939 seconds over Lorenzo and Stoner dropped back to 17.292 seconds behind Pedrosa. On lap 21, with seven more laps to go, Casey Stoner couldn't hold off Andrea Dovizioso anymore and he was overtaken.
On lap 23 Rossi was an entire 50.993 seconds behind the leader and still 30 or so seconds behind the man with the broken ankle, Casey Stoner. What does that tell you about the Ducati weekend?
Jorge Lorenzo's pit board told him he had 3 laps to go and was 11 seconds ahead of Dovizioso. It didn't tell him, though, that he was 7.734 seconds behind Dani Pedrosa on the Repsol Honda. By the next lap, with just two laps to go, he was only 9 seconds in front of Dovizioso.
In the end, Pedrosa easily walked away with the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix victory. Even if Spies' engine had not blown up it was obvious that from the very beginning he was determined to get this win. Stoner did a remarkable job finishing fourth — even with his retirement at the end of the season, a MotoGP race like this will put him up with the greatest riders of all time.
So the final finishing positions of the Indianapolis Grand Prix MotoGP were:
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
- Jorge Lorenzo, Factory Yamaha Racing
- Andrea Dovizioso, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda Team
- Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini