Stoner roars to second victory of the season at Le Mans

Winner Casey Stoner waves to crowd

Stoner took his 25th win in his MotoGP career after a dominant ride to pull away at the front and win by a margin of over 14 seconds. With his second win of the season, the Australian has now jumped up to second place in the standings, now 12 points behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing).

It was record-breaking attendance for the French GP with 88,400 fans attending the Le Mans circuit for today's MotoGP race, with 176,200 for the full 3 days of action. The rain managed to stay away and an eventful race was enjoyed by the large and enthusiastic crowd. There was action throughout the field but at the end all eyes were on the dice between Dovizioso and Rossi. As in the previous race in Portugal, the Honda rider managed to deny the advances of the nine time World Champion and record his best finish of this year’s campaign. For Rossi, it was his best result of the season and the second Ducati podium of the year.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) who had made one his trademark rocket starts, led Stoner for the first lap until his team mate came through on the next lap to take control of the race. The Spaniard stayed with the race leader for the first half of the 28 lap race, until he fell into the clutches of Simoncelli. The Italian passed the Repsol Honda rider on lap 17 but then a controversial incident occurred between the two when Pedrosa attempted to reclaim his second position and the two touched which left the Estoril race winner clutching his right shoulder as his race came to an abrupt end.

It was announced that Pedrosa was diagnosed with a broken right collarbone after the race. Race direction declared Simoncelli to have made an illegal maneuver and served the rider born in Cattolica with a ride through penalty. The 24 year old eventually finished in fifth position and lost his opportunity of scoring his first ever podium in MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) making his 150th Grand Prix start and becoming the youngest rider ever to do so, had a bad start to his preparations on Sunday after a crash in warm up which wrecked his bike and left the Spaniard with an injury to his finger. After barging through on Dovizioso early on in the race for a top four place, the 2010 MotoGP World Champion slipped down the order after being re-passed by the Repsol Honda rider and by his fierce rivals, Simoncelli and Rossi to eventually place fourth.

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) equaled his best result of the 2011 with sixth place which is what he achieved at the opening race at Losail, the American, lost out to Simoncelli after the Italian got the better of him despite his ride through penalty. Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) was seventh, ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) who had a lonely race in eighth.

Hector Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) won the race long battle to finish in ninth. The Spaniard had been involved in a very exciting tussle with Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) who finished tenth, Toni Elías (LCR Honda), 11th and �lvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) 12th. After the poor start to his return to MotoGP, Elías was showing signs of his old self and showing his ability which took him to the 2010 Moto2 World Championship and was up to 11th place in a five rider battle in the early part of the race, but had a massive moment and was lucky to keep hold of his Honda but dropped to the back of the group. The 28 year old did manage to pick his way through a number of the riders after a difficult four rounds of the season.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) who had qualified an impressive sixth on his first visit to the Le Mans circuit, suffered a lowside when in ninth place on lap five and had to return his machine back to the pits for his first non finish in his rookie campaign. It was not a good day for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in their home race in France after Colin Edwards also crashed out mid way through the race but managed to get back out to pick up…..points

It was not a happy day for the French fans who had hoped to see Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) pick up his best result of the season. The French Ducati rider crashed into the gravel on lap two and walked back to the pits dejectedly. Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) suffered a similar fate as he crashed out towards the end of the race.


CASEY STONER – 1st – 2nd in Championship, 66 points
"The whole weekend has gone so well for us, arriving here from the Portugal test with the bike almost the same and we have improved small things here and there and only needed to adjust the set up for this circuit. We went into the race confident, at the beginning of the race Dani was very fast and he was difficult to pass as he as being cautious. When I overtook him I thought I might be able to take some advantage but he was able to match my times and follow me for some laps, so I continued to push more than I prefer to and eventually I put a gap between us. From this point the race came to me and I was able to focus on my consistency and win. A big thanks to the team and everyone for all their hard work, but my thoughts are with Dani at this moment, I hope he can recover soon as he is a very strong contender for this Championship".

ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – 2nd – 4th in Championship, 50 points
"I’m really happy with the second position today, it’s so important for the Championship and it arrives after a start of the season, where we didn’t get the results we expected. We did a very good job with the team since the beginning of the weekend and I knew I could fight for the podium, but I didn’t expect second place. I had a great battle with Valentino and to beat him always has a special taste, and it’s a good fun to get the podium after a hard fight. I was losing a lot in two areas but I was strong in braking, so I made a good strategy and once I overtook him, I pushed 100 percent not to have him too close especially in turns 10 and 11, where he was faster. Concerning the race, I had a good start, Lorenzo’s strong overtaking slowed me down a little, but then I pushed to recover the gap. We had good pace, but we need to be faster. We have to keep on working to reduce the gap to stay with the front riders from the beginning. Dani today was very unlucky and I hope he can recover soon."



Points Num. Rider Nation Team Bike Time/Gap
1 25 27 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team Honda 44'03.955
2 20 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda +14.214
3 16 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team Ducati +14.564
4 13 1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +21.075
5 11 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +31.245
6 10 11 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing Yamaha +31.609
7 9 69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team Ducati +35.566
8 8 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +51.502
9 7 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP Ducati +1'03.731
10 6 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati +1'03.885
11 5 24 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +1'04.068
12 4 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki +1'04.192
13 3 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 2 Laps
14 0 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 7 Laps
15 0 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 11 Laps
16 0 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 22 Laps
17 0 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 27 Laps

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