Repsol Honda claim one-two, agony for Pedrosa

Sunday, 15 May 2011

It was a happy day for Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso, finishing first and second in today’s Monster Energy Grand Prix de France. However, news of Dani Pedrosa breaking his collarbone after a clash with fellow Honda rider, Marco Simoncelli, dampened the spirits in the Repsol Honda camp.

There was a record attendance for this race, with 88,400 fans present on race day, with a total of 176,200 supporters over the three days. Stoner who started the race from his first ever pole position at the Le Mans race circuit, went on to claim his first victory in any class at the venue, after an early battle with his team mate Pedrosa. The Australian was able to pull away from the Spaniard and went on to finish over 14 seconds ahead of Dovizioso and take his second victory of the 2011 season, which pushed him back up to second place in the standings.

Dovizioso who started the race from the third row in third place, his best qualifying result of the season, continued his productive weekend on a circuit the Italian enjoys. The 25 year old spent the majority of the race tussling with Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi for fourth place. After the incident with Pedrosa and Simoncelli, the man from Forli in Italy, was then in contention to take second spot and was able to re-pass the current MotoGP World Champion, as well as the seven-time MotoGP World Champion. The dice between Dovizioso and Rossi was particularly lively and the Repsol Honda rider was able to hold on during the last lap. This made it the second successive race, Dovizioso has got the better of his compatriot on the final lap and with this result, he achieved his best result of the year to date.

Pedrosa led the beginning of the race after one of his trademark lightning starts but was soon passed by Stoner on lap two. The Spaniard stayed in the hunt for the first half of the race and then the attack from Simoncelli arrived. The two Honda’s clashed, forcing Pedrosa out of the race and unfortunately he sustained a broken collarbone in the incident. Race direction deemed the manoeuvre from Simoncelli illegal and punished the Italian with a ride through penalty. The double 250cc champion has now dropped to third overall in the MotoGP standings after this non-finish, 17 points behind Lorenzo.

Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda

"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 Pedrosa 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 too 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. My thoughts are with Pedrosa at this moment, I hope he can recover soon as he is a very strong contender for this championship.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda

"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 from 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 Rossi and to beat him always has a special taste. It’s 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 have to keep on working to reduce the gap to stay with the front riders from the beginning. Pedrosa was very unlucky today and I hope he can recover soon.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda

"I was having a good race, the goal was to ensure another podium and I had it in my grasp. Now it counts for nothing. Simoncelli overtook me, I passed him back and I had the better line. He just came into me, releasing the brakes and I could do nothing. I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation and now I’m hurt again. It is very unfair, I don’t deserve it.”

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