2011 Catalunya MotoGP FP2 Result: Stoner Tops Mixed Session Again

Casey Stoner is fastest again in the second session of free practice for the MotoGP class at Barcelona, improving his time from this morning to lead Marco Simoncelli by half a second. The track started out wet, with times very slow, but the rain stopped shortly after the session started, the track drying out as the session progressed. Stoner had been fastest by some two seconds in the wet, then taking back top spot from Simoncelli on a dry track at the session wound to a close.

Andrea Dovizioso made it a Honda clean sweep of the top 3, with the factory Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies in 4th and 5th, just ahead of Valentino Rossi on the Marlboro Ducati. Cal Crutchlow was the first of the Monster Tech 3 Yamahas in 7th - and the only one who will race, after Colin Edwards broke his right collarbone in a crash - while Simoncelli's San Carlo Gresini teammate Hiroshi Aoyama ended the session in 8th, ahead of Nicky Hayden and Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista.

Edwards' broken collarbone rules him out of the race, meaning that only 15 riders will start on Sunday, with both Edwards and Pedrosa out with broken right collarbones.


Pos No. Rider Bike Time Diff Diff Previous
1 27 Casey STONER HONDA 1'42.940    
2 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 1'43.468 0.528 0.528
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 1'43.603 0.663 0.135
4 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 1'43.810 0.870 0.207
5 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 1'44.859 1.919 1.049
6 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 1'44.944 2.004 0.085
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 1'45.136 2.196 0.192
8 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 1'45.666 2.726 0.530
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 1'45.715 2.775 0.049
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 1'45.751 2.811 0.036
11 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 1'45.760 2.820 0.009
12 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 1'46.126 3.186 0.366
13 17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 1'46.280 3.340 0.154
14 65 Loris CAPIROSSI DUCATI 1'46.366 3.426 0.086
15 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'46.501 3.561 0.135
Not qualified (Out 107%) 1'50.145
0 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 1'51.512 8.572 5.011


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He is such a great guy. Fate doesn't care much apparently.

I know that most here disagree, but every time one of these outstanding sportsmen are sent into hospital it really angers me what Alpinestars, Dainese, et.al have to offer to keep them healthy.

In 2011 racers are still sent out with a little bit of dead animal skin and some plastic pieces here and there to protect them, it's infuriating!

If you land with all your bodyweight on your shoulder from a couple of metres in the air, your collarbone is going to break unless you can absorb a lot of energy elsewhere. It can't be done by leather and plastic, so the only option would be some sort of airbag.

As I understand, both A-stars and Dainese have air-bag suits. Not all riders choose to wear them, it seems. Presumably this means they are restrictive of movement, or hotter or heavier or otherwise less comfortable. I'm sure they are working on it, but getting upset about it seems as pointless as being angry at the weather...

A perpendicular force the clavicle would be help by some solid plating to disperse forces. But I'd be that's the rare event and the kind of protection that would be effective might cause secondary problems with that level of neck flexion.

I don't have to find solutions as I'm neither working for Alpinestars nor Dainese.

Fact is that it's possible to build protection gear that stops a 9mm full metal jacket bullet in masses:


Another fact is that even in a niche sport like paintball there are more forward thinking developments in protective gears like e.g. this Field Armor Exoskeleton:


It also appears to be a not so smart move from Dorna to *not* be a driving force in the improvement of protective gear when they have dwindling fields of racers.

IMO your analogy with the weather is BS and racers and fans have every right to be upset with the race suit manufacturers because they're *not* putting enough effort in the development.

That argument is not even specious. To suggest that companies who's core business is protection, and that operate in a highly competitive environment, don't care is ludicrous in the extreme. So it's a global conspiracy cartel of a dozen manufacturers who want to see us snap? Oh dear.....

Read my posting again, I took the bullet proof vest as an example what kind of energy focused on a small area can be absorbed by todays protection technology. I never stated that using such a vest should be used in MotoGP.

Fact is that other former dangerous sports like formula 1 become highly safe today because great effort was put into improving safety on the track but also in the car and protective apparel (e.g. HANS). When ever a bad accident happened the responsible people responded with analysing and fixing safety problems.
I don't see that effort in MotoGP, 2 riders suffer the same injury within 2 weeks, the grid shrinks to 15 racers and no one analyses what can be done to avoid this in the future. The situation is simply accepted and fans even defend those people (protection gear companies) that obviously failed.

I never implied a conspiracy, that was your invention. Looking at the achievements of motorcycle protection gear companies in the last couple of years, and comparing them with e.g. formula 1, I get the strong impression that they could do way more if pressure would be applied.

I speak to the people who make protective gear fairly often, and am impressed at just how much work they put into creating more protection. But the reality is, it's incredibly difficult to make something that is light, comfortable, and totally protective. Sending riders out in something akin to a bullet proof vest may protect them from a range of injuries, but could actually make them more liable to injury, as it would restrict their movement and therefore their bike control.

The comparison with cars is not a good one. Firstly, cars are controlled using the hands and feet only (though you might argue there is some input from the shoulders as well), so restricting motion is not a problem. A motorcycle is controled with the entire body, from the tip of the toes to the position of the head. Motion is crucial.

Secondly, cars have built-in absorption areas. Whenever a car crashes, there is a large area of the structure of the car which absorbs a large part of the energy of the impact. The remainder of the energy is absorbed by the driver's safety gear. Motorcyclists have no crumple zones, hence the effort to build airbags around the most commonly injured and most vulnerable areas (the shoulders and the neck).

Whilst I sympathize hugely with your position, I have to disagree with your perception of the efforts being put into rider protection. It's a really big deal, but riding a motorcycle is inherently dangerous, and there's only so much you can do to protect a rider in case of a fall.

The comparison with cars is not a good one.

Obviously I'm aware that there are huge technical differences between F1 and MotoGP and that the requirements are very different, but that wasn't my point.

I chose F1 because it is frequently compared with MotoGP because of similarities in the spectacle.

And I compared F1 with MotoGP because it is also an organized racing series but other then in MotoGP these organizers are doing an incredible job in improving safety.
When one checks F1's history on safety regulations there is a consistent string of new ever more restrictive regulations that eventually led to this enormous record of not having lost a racer since 1994 due to an F1 accident.
For the interested, check out e.g. this "History of F1 safety" site here to see their impressive efforts:


I don't see an equal effort in MotoGP, but please correct me if I'm wrong. And not having a driving force to improve safety for the racers is my point of criticism against the MotoGP organizers and the protective gear companies. (Yes I know there are safety regulations that circuits have to full fill to be added to the MotoGP racing calender)

There is a constant drive for safety in MotoGP. The Safety Commission meets every race to discuss ways of making the racing safer, there are constant improvements sought and found.

The problem is that most of the safety advances revolve around the track rather than the rider. As I said before, you can build safety improvements into a car, but it is extremely difficult - if not completely impossible - with a motorcycle. If the F1 drivers were perched on top of their cars rather than enclosed in a specially reinforced tub fitted with crumple zones, they would be suffering the same problems.

The improvements that have been made have all been about the track: adding runoff, moving back walls and earth banks, putting up air fence, resurfacing tricky parts of the track. That is expensive and difficult, but track owners keep doing it to have the bikes come.

Adding safety elements to rider gear is difficult, though the manufacturers are constantly working on improvements. This is a question I have asked several times, and each time, they say it's impossible at the moment to build something that will protect the rider completely, as it would restrict the motion of the riders completely. They keep looking for ways to improve.

It appears that most MotoGP riders choose to NOT use airbags in their suits.
I mean, we saw Simoncelli in 250cc which was the first GP rider to trigger it IIRC, then we may have seen Lorenzo or even Rossi trigger it once or twice but that's it.
In the numerous falls we've seen in MotoGP in practice, qualifying or race, we haven't seen an airbag inflated for years, do you know why?
My impression is that riders have the choice to wear a suit with or without the airbag and that the vast majority of them choose to ride without it, is that correct?
Though on the BBC footage of FP2 they were mentioning a red light on Rossi suit supposed to mean that the airbag was armed...yet again we didn't see it deployed in his fall during FP3 (nor in Dani's fall or Edwards fall and so on).
I interpret this as a sign that the technology is not yet favored by the riders because of its weight or because it's uncomfortable or something...apparently they don't think its advantages outweigh its drawbacks?

Most MotoGP riders do wear airbags in their suits, but you don't always notice them. Rossi's airbag fired in his FP3 crash, but it's hard to see. You see him walking hunched over, which usually means the airbag fired. It's not always immediately obvious when it fires, and the Alpinestars airbags deflate within 3 seconds, so that they can re-arm to fire a second time.

The only relation between the two sports is the tracks they operate on and the fact they're motor sport events. That's it! There is nothing in that game on track that is relevant to our sport.

By suggesting protection equipment manufacturers don't care, you imply a conspiracy. There is no apathy in a competitive market place. In case you haven't noticed my Persian Rug there have been numerous advances in safety equipment over the last thirty years. From lighter, stronger, better impact absorbing helmets, to Kevlar and Titanium inserts at impact points, back, kidney and chest protectors, boot limiting lateral ankle movement. Kevlar suits were tried 20 years ago but didn't prove to be superior to good old hide. Now the manufacturers are trialling air suits - bulk is the problem here. You've got to remember motorcycle racing is a very dynamic sport requiring a significant amount of body movement. Safety is always going to be compromised to allow for this factor not to mention wanting to remain small for aerodynamic purposes.

The clavicle is a very vulnerable bone. Evolution hasn't yet caught up with the fact some of us hurtle around race tracks at silly speeds and occasionally launch ourselves up and off violently. I'm no physicist but 60+kg of rider being slammed down onto a small impact point sounds like a lot of force for a wee bone to deal with.

I still don't get what a tiny high speed projectile has to do with the price of fish either?

David - can you provide us with more information about the crash that resulted in Colin Edwards braking his right collarbone? Maybe that is better saved for the Friday roundup.

15 riders! Oy vey.

Back to 'the season starts now'. Its Catalunya,it always throws momentum into the game or a dark cloud. In this case Colin. A quick recovery I wish for him.
Catalunya also seems to have put the preliminary exams and arguments behind, circa GP 2011. The Simmo/Rossi vs George/Casey issues are hopefully a thing of the past on track.
With a 15 rider grid for Sunday,I guess most have taken a reality check.
Then again,Catalunya's first corner can open another 'Pandora's box' like it did in 2006.
I tend to be impressed with the Ducati as a competent tool in the wet, whose competency drifts away as more lean angle avails itself as the circuit dries out.
Same old story,front end. Which brings me to Casey Stoner. Arguably the most adaptable athlete MotoGP has seen in its modern history.
What we certainly do not wish to see are further injury issues tomorrow and Sunday. The season indeed starts now with back to back races heading into the summer break. The game can ill afford further carnage.
Will Catalunya smile or frown for the rest of the weekend ?
The next 48 hours will tell.

I must have been twitching in anticipation of posting..and appear to have double-clicked up my post below, without being able to delete it this end. If you would do the honours I'd be obliged.

From 2007 until 2010 Stoner has been the only Ducati rider able to consistently win (or even podium) on the Ducati.
And his teammates were all world champions.
I can't recall such a huge difference between top teammates in a top team in recent years.

Casey had 2 wonderful seasons with the beast (world champion in 2007 and runner-up with highest points record in 2008) and 2 "ok / sub par" years (4th in the championship with 3 and 4 victories, 8 and 9 podiums).

For all these years his teammates never ended the championship higher than 7th or closer than 60 points from him (Hayden in 2010 otherwise it was 115 in 2009 and over 200 points away in 2007 and 2008).
In 4 seasons his teammates racked up a total of 1 victory and 6 podiums compared to 23 victories and 42 podiums for himself.

Arguably Stoner has been the only rider that could adapt to the Ducati MotoGP, much much better than anyone else, and he has been super fast on the Honda, a completely different bike, since the word go.

Rossi's performances on the Ducati underline that it is indeed a very different bike and his comments and results prove that even with extensive testing and development it remains a very fickle creature in essence.

So yeah, I would say he is very adaptable, able to win on very different bikes including one on which nobody else could do anything.

How modern is "modern history"?..France 3 weeks ago? FP1 & 2 today?

I wonder if its too late for someone to fill his shoes, surely he is already out for Silverstone too. Maybe Melandri?

Yay! Points for everybody!

There really needs to be a threshold for awarding points. 2/3 of the total grid, maybe. With grids this small, just getting in the points isn't what it used to be, and getting inside the top 10, which used to be a good result, is virtually meaningless.

I think that if a rider is to miss more than 2 races, he has to be replaced. If it was my team I wouldn't replace him, but CE's injury comes at a really bad time - 2 races will be done next weekend, so they'll likely have to replace him with someone. Probably for a couple races.

The maximum races that CE#5 can miss is 2 races and thereafter, the Tech3 has to put in a substitute rider. Once CE#5 gets well, he will resume his role in Tech3 unless the team thinks otherwise, which is unlikely as Herve Poncharal believes in CE#5.

Get well soon Colin! If I had more money in times like these, I would had want to see him in Bootcamp.

Gutted for Colin and it's a worrying trend. The 800s have been anything but safer, slower on the straight where you tend to stay on and faster in the corners where it's easier to fall off. Next year we will have a more extreme version of the same. Get fit soon Colin.