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motogp.com reviews the season so far at the summer break, with ten of the 18 rounds completed.
At just over halfway through the 2011 season and with the short summer interval almost finished, motogp.com takes a look back over the ten rounds of the campaign which have provided plenty of action for review. Click on each round to watch race highlights.
Casey Stoner started the season in fine form with victory from pole position in Qatar as he won his first race on the factory Repsol Honda in the 2011 curtain raiser at Losail. Following the Australian onto the podium were defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, with Valentino Rossi seventh on his Ducati debut and British MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow 11th on his GP debut.
Just two rounds into the season and a huge talking point came at Jerez where pole man Stoner and Rossi collided during a wet race, the Australian unable to finish. Lorenzo took victory, Pedrosa second and Nicky Hayden third after Marco Simoncelli and Ben Spies both crashed when in podium positions in an eventful Spanish round. Rookie Karel Abraham impressed by placing seventh in just his second premier class race – a result he would repeat at Silverstone – whilst Héctor Barberá’s best result of the year so far saw the Spaniard place sixth.
Round 3 at Estoril saw Pedrosa take his first win of the season ahead of Lorenzo and Stoner as the defending title holder maintained a slender lead at the top of the standings, and at Le Mans there was plenty of drama. Stoner took victory, the first of a run of three consecutive wins, with team-mate Andrea Dovizioso joining him on the rostrum and Valentino Rossi taking a first podium in Ducati colours, whilst an incident involving Simoncelli and Pedrosa resulted in the Spaniard crashing and subsequently missing the next three rounds with a broken collarbone.
In Catalunya Stoner took his third win of the season, Lorenzo held onto the Championship lead with second place in the race and his factory Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies took his first podium of the year in third. Crutchlow took his best finish of his debut campaign so far with seventh, but his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards missed his first MotoGP race since his premier class career started in 2003 after a fall in FP2 resulted in a fractured collarbone. However, the American bounced back in admirable style in a wet race in the following round at Silverstone where he took a courageous third place, following Stoner and Dovizioso onto the podium. Lorenzo crashed out in the wet conditions, his first DNF in 25 straight races, and after the sixth round Stoner assumed the Championship lead as the chase for the 2011 crown took another twist one-third of the way through the season. The round was also notable for an impressive ride to fifth by Álvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki, in only the Spaniard’s fourth race back after breaking a femur in Qatar.
In Assen Hiroshi Aoyama stepped into the factory Repsol Honda team as a substitute for the still-absent Pedrosa, and in the race the drama played out from lap one as Simoncelli – starting from pole for the second time this season – and Lorenzo went down together, the Yamaha man remounting to finish sixth as he tried to keep tabs on Championship leader Stoner. Lorenzo’s team-mate Spies took a deserved first MotoGP victory as Stoner and Dovizioso completed the podium, Rossi finishing fourth as he continued to look for the best set-up on the Desmosedici.
Pedrosa made his much-anticipated return to action at Mugello, placing eighth, with Lorenzo returning to winning ways ahead of home hero Dovizioso and Stoner on the podium. Pedrosa’s comeback was completed in spectacular style at Sachsenring where he won in just his second race back, Lorenzo trimming Stoner’s lead at the top of the standings to 15 points by finishing ahead of his rival on the podium.
Round 10 at Laguna Seca heralded another win for Stoner as the Australian turned around what had appeared to be a difficult weekend with a stylish victory, Lorenzo admirably recovering from a painful FP3 fall to place second with Pedrosa third and Spies the highest placed home rider in fourth.
The action resumes in one week’s time at Brno with the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceské republiky!
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