Results Catalunya Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain2007-06-10 10:24
Fearless Stoner takes win in Barcelona
Casey Stoner took his fourth World Championship victory of the season in an absolute thriller of a race at Catalunya. The Ducati factory rider rode the race of his life to deny Valentino Rossi his third consecutive win at the Spanish circuit, but was pushed all the way as he headed a podium separated by under four tenths of a second.
Stoner absorbed every manoeuvre that Rossi threw at him in the pressure cooker atmosphere of the Circuit de Catalunya, never losing his cool despite being put on the back foot on more than one occasion. The Australian first took the lead on the second lap as he roared down the home straight, but had home rider Dani Pedrosa to contend with in the early going. When Rossi finally showed his cards on lap ten to give the Spaniard a back seat view of an epic battle, the two way duel between the championship leader and the experienced race winner was set. Stalking Stoner at every turn, Rossi assessed his options in cerebral fashion; letting the 21 year old know that he was there as he slipped through on a number of corners.
'The Doctor' finally made the lead stick on lap 21, resisting an attempt at a quick comeback on the home straight. Stoner learnt his lesson, and pulled ahead on the next lap before predicting his Italian rival's line. He continued in the lead until the finish line, passing the flag just 0.069 ahead of Rossi.
After taking the holeshot, Pedrosa had been expected to push for the win on his Honda RC212V, but was only really able to make advances on the second placed rider after the midway point. Tucked in behind the leading duo, the Spaniard waited to capitalise on any possible mistake from either rider, making overtures towards overtaking moves when Rossi or Stoner strayed from their lines. In the end Pedrosa had to settle for third, meaning that his winless run extends to fifteen races; the last time that he stepped onto the top of the rostrum being at Donington Park where the riders return in two weeks time. A home victory in MotoGP still eludes the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion.
John Hopkins took a comfortable fourth place on the Suzuki GSV-R800, separated from the top three dragging each other further away from the Anglo-American as the race went on. Gutsy Frenchman Randy de Puniet took his best ever MotoGP result from second on the grid, gritting his teeth to take fifth despite a nasty haematoma in his leg restricting his movement onboard the Kawasaki ZX-RR.
Loris Capirossi took the second Ducati home in sixth from seventeenth on the grid, ahead of Chris Vermeulen, Alex Barros , Marco Melandri and Colin Edwards. Toni Elias was the only rider not to finish the race, retiring with engine problems.
Jorge Lorenzo bounced back from his Mugello disappointment with a dominant victory at his home circuit, his first ever win at the Circuit de Catalunya. The reigning 250cc World Champion was in a class of his own after storming off the pole spot, and put on a masterclass for the 100,000 fans gathered at the Barcelona track.
The 20 year old's fifth win of the season continues the quarter litre class trend of victories from pole, something quite different to the current state of affairs in the MotoGP class. The Spain's No1 Aprilia rider celebrated his triumph with two lookalikes and a giant microphone, and certainly has something to sing about with a 36 point advantage in the general classification. Alex de Angelis took second in the race to close the gap between himself and Andrea Dovizioso to just two points, with the latter unable to repeat his 2006 victory in the face of such strong competition and having to settle for the final podium place. He was ten seconds behind De Angelis on crossing the line.
Thomas Luthi had another great ride that belied his relative inexperience in the 250cc category, taking fourth ahead of fellow rookies Alvaro Bautista and Mika Kallio. Hiroshi Aoyama, Hector Barbera, Marco Simoncelli and Julian Simon completed the top ten.
There was late disappointment for Aprilia wild card Alex Debon, who crashed whilst in fifth position with just six laps remaining. He remounted to complete the race in 16th.
Tomoyoshi Koyama took his maiden World Championship win in a great 125cc race at the Circuit de Catalunya, giving the class it's sixth different winner of the season.
The Japanese rider had started from the second row, but had not really been in the running for victory until the latter stages. An amazing finale saw the 24 year old snatch victory on the closing lap and deny the home team - Spain's Aspar squad- the win. 'Koyamax' has had something of a stuttering start to his first season with Red Bull KTM, but finally confirmed his potential and showed just why Harold Bartol was so keen to draft him into his 125cc project.
An extremely tight leading pack, separated by little more than a second, meant that nothing could be taken for granted on the final time round the Barcelona circuit. Second placed finisher Gabor Talmacsi was out of the podium spots at the beginning of lap 22, but took advantage of an error by team-mate Sergio Gadea to take another rostrum finish and the championship lead.
Starting from fifteenth on the grid and with little experience of being involved in the top positions, Swiss rider Randy Krummenacher shocked everybody with his maiden podium place onboard the second KTM machine. Krummenacher led a 125cc race for the first time on lap sixteen, putting in times faster than those clocked during qualifying. Talmacsi's experience may have been the deciding factor in preventing a KTM one-two, but the young rookie seems to have a bright future ahead of him in the lower cylinder class.
Having had to sit up on the penultimate corner, Gadea was denied a home podium on the Aspar Aprilia, finishing ahead of birthday boy Pol Espargaro. The latter quickly made his way up from eighteenth on the grid to fight with the front runners, and celebrated both his highest ever Grand Prix finish and his sweet sixteenth by blowing out the candles of his cake trackside.
It was a disappointed Bradley Smith who took sixth position, with the Briton believing that he could have won the race. Making a small mistake on lap nine provided those in front of him with the opportunity to break away from the sixteen year old, who benefited from a late crash between title contenders Lukas Pesek and Hector Faubel in front of him to move up by two positions.
Simone Corsi, Joan Olive, Stefan Bradl and Michael Ranseder completed the top ten, whilst Mattia Pasini once again failed to finish the race after suffering a nasty looking crash. The Italian - who has experienced more than his fair share of frustration this season- literally put the boot into his bike after the incident, enraged by his situation.
Source: Dorna Communications
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