MotoGP: Stoner Closes 800 cc era with 10th Win of the Season

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The final race of the 2011 MotoGP season, and of the 800 cc era, began with a tribute to Marco Simoncelli, the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider who died after crashing during the Malaysian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Prior to the race, Simoncelli’s friend, former World Champion Kevin Schwantz, rode the 24-year-old Italian’s RC212V motorcycle to lead riders from all three World Championship categories around the track in a lap of honour. Riders, officials and paddock members then gathered at the start/finish line for two minutes of noise (requested by Simoncelli’s family) provided by a fireworks display. 

The race at Valencia was run under wet conditions that immediately wreaked havoc, after the entire field chose to run on slicks. Suzuki rider Álvaro Bautista fell in the first corner, taking out Pramac Racing’s Randy de Puniet along with both factory Ducati riders, Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. It was the Rossi’s third crash in as many races, marking the end of a difficult season for the seven-time MotoGP champion. Casey Stoner, however, launched into the lead from the pole with team-mates Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso in tow, battling for second and the final championship position. Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo (still not racing due to his finger injury) had first and second overall locked up, but third was yet undecided. Yamaha’s Ben Spies, back to form after suffering a concussion at Phillip Island, followed the Repsol Honda team closely in fourth, waiting until lap 23 of 30 to make his move on Pedrosa for third and then also pass Dovizioso on his way to catching Stoner. With three laps remaining Stoner ran wide, letting Spies through to the front where he immediately opened up a one-second gap. It looked like the American was set to win the final race of the 800 cc era, but the 2011 champion came back on the final turn to snatch victory from the Texan at the line by just 0.015 seconds — Stoner’s tenth victory of his triumphant season. Dovizioso claimed the third podium spot and third in the championship, after Pedrosa dropped off the pace to fifth once the rain became heavier. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow finished fourth, a result that garnered him rookie of the year honours over Karel Abraham.

This was Loris Capirossi’s final MotoGP race of his long career. The former 125 cc and 250 cc champion, who rode the race with #58 on his Pramac Ducati in memory of Marco Simoncelli, finished ninth.

2011 Valencia MotoGP Results

1. Casey Stoner AUS Repsol Honda

2. Ben Spies USA Yamaha Factory Racing +0.015

3. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda 48m +5.936

4. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +8.718

5. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda 48m +9.321

6. Katsuyuki Nakasuga JPN Yamaha Factory Racing +23.818

7. Josh Hayes USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +33.118

8. Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing +37.952

9. Loris Capirossi ITA Pramac Racing +48.953

10. Toni Elias ESP LCR Honda +52.501 

11. Hector Barbera ESP Mapfre Aspar +1’06.519

12. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini +1’08.760

DNF:

Randy de Puniet FRA Pramac Racing

Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro

Valentino Rossi ITA Ducati Marlboro

Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki


2011 MotoGP Championship Final Standings

1 Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 350

2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 260

3 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 228

4 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 219

5 Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 176

6 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 139

7 Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 139

8 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 132

9 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech 3 109

10 Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 98

11 Héctor Barberá Mapfre Aspar Team 82

12 Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech 3 70

13 Álvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 67

14 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 64

15 Toni Elías LCR Honda MotoGP 61

16 Randy de Puniet Pramac Racing Team 49

17 Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 43

18 Katsuyuki Nakasuga Yamaha Factory Racing 10

19 Josh Hayes Monster Yamaha Tech 3 9

20 Kousuke Akiyoshi San Carlo Honda Gresini/LCR Honda 7

21 John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 6

22 Shinichi Ito Honda Racing Team 3

 

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