The Czech Republic Grand Prix, Round 12 of the 2012 MotoGP Championship, had two major news stories surrounding it, each involving two different MotoGP riders. The first involved the intense rivalry between the two top Spanish riders: Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda). The second involved two riders who weren't even able to race: Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati).
Racing News from the Czech Republic
Nicky Hayden on his Ducati was not able to start because of his broken wrist from Indianapolis the previous week. The same was true of Casey Stoner who also crashed out last weekend and needs an operation on his right foot. Stoner was a contender for the 2012 MotoGP title, but now those aspirations out the window. This means that the battle for the MotoGP title is between Jorge Lorenzo on his Factory Yamaha machine and Dani Pedrosa on his Repsol Honda
In qualifying for the Czech Republic Grand Prix, Jorge Lorenzo smashed the track record on his 1000cc machine, finishing his fastest lap at 1'55.799 and claiming his fourth pole of the 2012 MotoGP season. Fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa managed to top all three qualifying sessions, but his qualifying time was 1'56.327 so he had to settle for third place on the grid next to Cal Crutchlow at 1'55.995 and Ben Spies at fourth position with 1'56.331. Andrea Dovizioso started in fifth and Valentino Rossi started in sixth, his best position of the season.
2012 Czech Republic Grand Prix
Jorge Lorenzo had a great start, moving right to the front of the pack straight from the line. Dani Pedrosa was close behind in third place and Andrea Dovizioso took the second spot on the grid. It looked like Spies had engine issues again because as he changed down black smoke came out of the bike and Spies started to fall back. Spies quickly dropped to fourteenth position. Valentino Rossi moved past Spies, but his bike also has engine issues with smoke coming out of the back as he dropped down the gear box into turn three.
At 18 laps to go Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa both started to pull away at the front, with Cal Crutchlow third keeping the front pair in his sights. Cal Crutchlow has re-signed for next season with Yamaha Tech 3 team and his chasing a podium place here at Brno.
Whatever was wrong with Ben Spies' bike seemed to have gone away because he was starting to fight for eighth position against Randy De Puniet on the Power Electronics Aspar ART machine. At 14 laps to go Dani Pedrosa set a best personal lap. Stefan Bradl and Valentino Rossi were batting for fourth and fifth, with Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda MotoGP bike .
At 14 laps to go Ben Spies crashed out for his third DNF in succession. The front of the pack just dropped away and he slid across the pavement — physically unhurt, fortunately, but who knows where his careers stands at this point. Talks are reportedly going on in the paddock with regards to where Ben Spies will ride next year, but nothing has been confirmed as to whether he will have a MotoGP ride in 2013 or if he'll be leaving the series entirely. A move to another manufacturer is also a possibility.
With 11 laps to go, Dani Pedrosa's pit board gave the Honda rider the go ahead to push for the lead. Within a few corners on lap 11 Pedrosa easily pushed past Jorge Lorenzo as they came off the start-finish straight snatched the front spot. At 10 laps to go, Lorenzo was managing to hold on to the tail of Pedrosa.
With 7 laps to go it was Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Bradl, Bautista and Rossi in seventh place.
With 4 laps to go Pedrosa was travelling just shy of 200MPH down the start-finish straight and Lorenzo was right on his back, constantly looking through to see if there was a way around. Cal Crutchlow was still in third, heading for his very first podium finish — the first British rider to be on the podium for twelve years.
With just 2 laps to go Lorenzo continued to hand right on Pedrosa's tail, well aware that he had to make a move soon if he was to have any chance win the 2012 Czech Republic Grand Prix. On the last lap, though, Lorenzo was simply not close enough to Pedrosa. He still tried, though, powering out of the corner to get closer to make a move. Between turn 5 and the stadium section, Lorenzo moved up on the inside and took the front, but Pedrosa fought back into the Esses and retook the lead. Lorenzo took a different line into the last couple of turns to tried and get the lead back once more, but Pedrosa held on and won.
With six rounds left to go, Pedrosa closes the points at the top of the table and the finishing results are:
- Dani Pedrosa,
- Jorge Lorenzo,
- Cal Crutchlow,
- Andrea Dovizioso,
- Stefan Bradl,
- Alvaro Bautista,
- Valentino Rossi,
- Randy De Puniet,
- Karel Abraham,
- Toni Elisa,
- Aleix Espargaro,
- Yonny Hernandez,
- Colin Edwards,
- Michele Pirro,
- James Ellison,
- Mattia Pasini
- Danilo Petrucci
Jorge Lorenzo is leading the points table by 13 points over Dani Pedrosa with 245, and Casey Stoner's title championship hopes are over, being 59 points back from the leader with six rounds to go in the 2012 MotoGP.