MotoGP round in Jerez

The Rain in Spain


Semi-wet conditions meant Jerez MotoGP round was like a demolition derby.

Clearly, MotoGP needs to schedule more wet races. The damp MotoGP event in Jerez April 3 packed more action and passing into it than most of last year’s races combined.

Casey Stoner led on his Repsol Honda, Marco Simoncelli led on his Gresini San Carlo Honda and Valentino Rossi diced for the lead. Colin Edwards looked set for a podium, Ben Spies likewise, Cal Crutchlow ditto in only his second MotoGP race, while rookie Karel Abraham looked like a decent top five bet. Every one of them except Edwards crashed, though he DNFed.

The Jerez circuit has pavement with notoriously inconsistent grip, especially in the rain. That’s especially true in conditions like yesterday’s, with periods of rain alternating with a drying track, sometimes both on the same lap. It wasn’t really wet enough for wets, and everyone experienced tire problems before the race ended.


Lorenzo did what he had to do to win – mainly he kept the bike upright.

The win went to Jorge Lorenzo, the 2010 champ who finished a fighting second at Qatar two weeks ago. Out of the limelight during practice and qualifying, he nevertheless was on the front row for the start, and in the race kept his head straight and made no mistakes on his factory Yamaha.

He was followed by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and, to everyone’s shock and the delight of many, the popular Nicky Hayden brought his Ducati into the last podium spot. Stoner, who dominated pretty much every session up to the race, was taken out by Valentino Rossi.

The Italian was on a mission. Having qualified only 12th after a practice fall, he tore through the field and made what looked like a rather optimistic passing attempt on Stoner, losing the front and collecting the disgusted Aussie on his way off the track (see video of the incident below).


Uh, guys, I need a push here too… 

Stoner wasn’t so much upset by the accident, which he referred to as a “racing incident” post-race, but was incensed by what he felt was far from impartial help from the marshals, who got Rossi going again but left the Australian with a stalled engine, unable to restart without a push.

Stoner was incandescent after the race, blaming everyone from the FIM jury members to the marshal’s pet dog – and with some reason, it looked. Stoner wasn’t the only rider left out to dry, according to a report on Visordown. Rossi, who ended up scything through the field again to fifth, had the grace to head to Stoner’s pit directly after the race to apologize.
"Yes it was a crazy race because it was difficult conditions and everyone was on the limit with the softer tires,” explained Rossi. “I was very fast in the beginning of the race in the wet, but unfortunately I made a mistake in braking and I crashed. Unfortunately, I also crashed into Stoner.


Just… lovely.

By the time all this was over, Italian Marco Simoncelli had a healthy lead, where he looked comfortable until suddenly suffering a high-side and crashing out of the race.
By this point, Lorenzo, who  was in a solid second, took the lead which he kept until the end. This also put Dani Pedrosa back up there as well; after a most atypical bad start he drifted back as far as 11th in the thin 17-bike field, then caught his second wind and methodically marched up to second. Considering that he’s due for more surgery today on his left shoulder, it was a pretty impressive ride.
You couldn’t give third place away. By late in the race Hayden was there … Spies caught him up and passed, then crashed. Edwards caught him up, then had an undefined “technical problem” on the last lap that apparently killed the engine.

Hayden’s rain tires were completely fried and he could hardly keep going the last few laps. Hiroshi Aoyama was right on his tail at the flag, but couldn’t get past in time. Fourth was still the Japanese rider’s best MotoGP outing.
Cal Crutchlow, in his first MotoGP year on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, recovered beautifully from his own crash to come back for an eighth-place finish, while John Hopkins rounded out the top 10. Hopper was drafted into the Rizla Suzuki team to replace Alvaro Bautista (who broke a femur in testing before Qatar) and both he and the team were delighted with the result.
It was all pretty crazy and highly entertaining. Still, anybody who bets against Casey Stoner winning the title this year should be getting long odds.

Standings after two of 18 races
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, Yamaha Factory Racing, 45; 2. Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 36; 3. Casey Stoner, Australia, Repsol Honda, 25; 4. Nicky Hayden, U.S.A., Marlboro Ducati, 23; 5. Valentino Rossi, Italy, Marlboro Ducati, 20; 6. Hiroshi Aoyama, Japan, Gresini San Carlo Honda, 19; 7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda, 17; 8. Hector Barbera, Spain, Aspar Ducati, 14; 9. Cal Crutchlow, U.K., Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, 13; 10. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic, Cardion AB Ducati.

Next race, May 1, Portugal, Estoril.


  1. Lorenzo was smart to cruise around in 4th , because you can’t win the race by making a pass on the 12th lap but you sure can loose the race by crashing. The track looked like it was drying out so wait till the end and see who has the better tire left.

  2. “Stoner to Rossi: Your ambition outweighs your talent.”

    Yeah, that was an excellent crack. On the other hand, history says he’s wrong, lol.

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