Title fight comes to abrupt end after Pedrosa crashes out while chasing Lorenzo
The penultimate round of the MotoGP Series saw Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo earn his second MotoGP World Championship following a thrilling race with Lorenzo securing second position at the Philip Island circuit, which was good enough to give him his second title in the premier class; the first Spaniard to hold that honor. It was also a day of celebration for the Australians when their local hero sailed from the pole to the victory in what is the final MotoGP race for Casey Stoner in his homeland.
It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season.
Pedrosa was a man on a mission in today’s race and from the start it was clear he was fully focused on trying to secure victory and keep his title hopes alive. Just at the start of the second lap Pedrosa saw an opening and took it, and his teammate followed his lead and moved into second on the front straight! On the second lap, however Pedrosa’s dream faded when he lost the rear of his Honda right in front of Lorenzo and Stoner; they both missed him but it was close. Even though the Spaniard was able to climb back on his bike, he had damaged the Honda and had to pit.
Following the early exit Lorenzo new all he had to do was ensure he finished in the points to clinch the title while Stoner was already starting to pull away from the Spanish rider. Meanwhile, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team were hoping for another strong display from Cal Crutchlow and he delivered after the English rider tried his hardest to catch up to Lorenzo in second and Crutchlow did make up some time on his rival although he wasn’t able to bridge the gap completely and finished the day with a podium third place finish.
The fight for 4th was fought out among LCR Honda rider Stefan Bradl, San Carlo Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso with Bradl the one looking like he had what it needed to break away after passing his two rivals. The three riders were locked in battle for the duration of the race giving the Australian crowds a show to be remembered and at the end of the race it was Dovizioso who clinched 4th ahead of Bautista and Bradl in 6th with less than .200s separating the three!
Cardion AB Motorsport rider Karel Abraham secured 9th position with the Czech rider having quite a lonely race but behind him the battle for top CRT rider was on between Power Electronics Aspar teammates Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet who himself secured the best ever starting placement for a CRT of 9th in qualifying yesterday. De Puniet and Espargaro battled for some time on their Aprilia powered machines but in the end it was Espargaro who crossed the line in 10th with De Puniet close behind in 11th.
The battle between the CRT machines of Danilo Petrucci (Came IodaRacing), San Carlo Honda Gresini Michele Pirro and Ivan Silva on the Avintia Blusens machine saw them also coming up against Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera with the satellite Ducati rider leading the CRT machines home into 12th place finish and Petrucci, Pirro and Silva finishing in 13th, 14th and 15th respectively. Local rider Kris McLaren, who was substituting in the Avintia Blusens squad for Yonny Hernandez, couldn’t start the race after missing the 107% time limit in practice and qualifying.
The victory on home soil is Stoner's first race win since his ankle injuries that were sustained at the Indianapolis in August. Speaking after securing his fifth win of the year and sixth race win at the Philip Island circuit, Stoner said, "It was very important for me to win a race before the end of the season and I'm really happy to do it here, at home, in front of the huge crowd. My biggest worry was to be fit again and competitive for this race, but we managed it and we had something over everyone else and this was the perfect way to say goodbye here. I was pretty nervous going into the race but the conditions were fantastic for a Phillip Island race! When I knew I only had a few laps left and a big lead, I was watching the crowd and it was fantastic to see everyone cheering me on, it made me very proud to be Australian.
My biggest congratulations to Jorge, he's ridden an almost perfect season finishing 1st or 2nd when possible and I'm just disappointed not to be in the championship fight, but I made my own mistakes and this is how things go. My condolences to Dani - I saw him crash out in front of me - but he had to push today and go out and win the race to keep his championship hopes alive. It was a small mistake, easy to do in this corner and I feel very sorry for him. Thanks to everyone for coming down and showing their support!” Stoner added.
I knew I could go faster and pull away and once I opened up a comfortable gap, I just stayed relaxed and consistent because I wasn't going to catch Jorge. Another podium is a great result and we've backed up the third in Brno. It's great too because it is my birthday tomorrow and this is a good way to kick off the celebrations. It was a big thrill to be on the podium here with Casey winning. The fans gave him a great reception and I'm glad I could be part of it. I want to say big congratulations to Yamaha and Jorge too for winning the World Championship. They have done an amazing job and they both deserve this success,” Crutchlow added.
To read what Lorenzo had to say after securing his second MotoGP title watch out for a special story to be posted soon.