Stoner victorious at incident-packed Iveco TT Assen

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Repsol Honda Team’s Casey Stoner took victory at an incident-packed Iveco TT Assen on Saturday as he held off the challenge from Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.

The race started with high drama as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took out Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo in the first corner, putting an end to both their challenges. Lorenzo was clearly upset about the incident, which has been put under investigation by Race Direction. After this, the Repsol Honda Team pair of Dani Pedrosa and Stoner were left to lead the race at the start, with Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies in pursuit.

Two laps in it was heartbreak for LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl as he crashed out of fourth, making this the first race he has not finished in his rookie season. In the meantime, Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden had run into the gravel in the last corner, but managed to wrestle his bike back on track.

As the Hondas started to pull out a small margin, the crashes continued at the back as Avintia Blusens’ Yonny Hernandez ended his race in the gravel. With 19 laps to go Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso went past Spies into third as the pair diced for the final podium position. Dovizioso’s teammate Cal Crutchlow, who was ninth after taking avoiding action at the start was having a tricky time trying to pass the Ducatis of Hayden, Valentino Rossi and Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá.

On the same lap, NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards retired with mechanical issues. With 14 laps to go, Crutchlow had passed Barberá into seventh in the group fighting it out for fifth, while Spies had made a move on Dovizioso back into third. A few laps later Crutchlow’s charge continued as he passed Rossi into sixth to hunt down Hayden, who he also passed some laps later.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró retired from the race with 11 laps remaining, putting a dent in his top CRT hopes. This was followed up a lap later with Rossi entering the pits with a chunk missing from his rear tyre, which was changed before he re-entered the race. Meanwhile at the front Stoner made his move on Pedrosa as the Spaniard looked to be struggling.

With six laps remaining both Hondas looked to be slowing, yet had pulled out a seven second lead over Spies, who was lapping a second a lap quicker. Further back, Barberá saved a near crash as he diced with Hayden for sixth. Three laps before the end Dovizioso had caught up to Spies once more as the pair was involved in yet another tussle for the final podium spot. The Italian made his move going into turn 1 on the final lap, and held on until the line.

In the end it was Stoner who took the chequered flag to go equal on points at the top of the championship with Lorenzo, as Pedrosa finished second and Dovizioso took yet another podium this year. They were followed by Spies, Crutchlow, Hayden, and Barberá, whilst the CRT contingent benefited from the numerous crashes, with Espargaró’s teammate De Puniet taking eighth, in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro and Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini. Rossi finished in 13th, 0.002 seconds ahead of Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham did not start the race, as his hand injury proved too severe to race.

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