2011 Motegi MotoGP Race Result: Easy Victory In Incident-Filled Race

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Motegi:

Dani Pedrosa has taken victory in an incident-packed MotoGP race at Motegi, which saw five of the top seven finishers either run off or subjected to a ride-through penalty. With Jorge Lorenzo taking 2nd ahead of Casey Stoner, the race saw Stoner's championship lead cut to 40 points.

The chaos commenced even before the race started, with Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Cal Crutchlow all moving before the lights went out and committing a jump start. Casey Stoner got off the line cleanly and led into Turn 1, ahead of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Dovizioso, but the carnage returned on the way into Turn 3. Having drifted wide through Turns 1 and 2, Jorge Lorenzo found himself on the inside of that track on the straight towards Turn 3, while Valentino Rossi was on the opposite side of the track looking to make a move on Ben Spies. The former teammates aimed for precisely the same piece of tarmac, arriving at the same time. Lorenzo, being on the inside, got the better of the contact, heading off to chase Stoner and Pedrosa, but Rossi bounced off Lorenzo and into Spies, catching his front brake at the same time. The front locked and down Rossi went, forcing Spies off into the gravel along with him.

In front of the first-lap chaos, Casey Stoner was starting to pull a gap, his teammate Pedrosa unable to match the Australian's pace. Andrea Dovizioso did appear to have the measure of Stoner, but the Italian found himself stuck behind Pedrosa while Stoner escaped. A pass going into the S Corner saw Dovizioso get by his Spanish teammate and start to chase Stoner down.

The gap came down fractionally, but by this time, Race Direction had issued a ride-through penalty to the three men who got a jump start. Dovizioso pushed on to limit the damage from the ride-through, and by a stroke of bitter irony, found himself leading the race. There had always been bumps down the back straight at Motegi, but the earthquake had made them worse. As he crested the hill on the approach to his braking marker, Stoner hit one of the bumps and the front of his Honda suffered a gigantic headshake, knocking the brake pads back into the calipers and leaving the Australian temporarily with no brakes. Stoner grabbed a handful of front brake to seat the pads correctly once again, then braked hard for the right angle corner at the end of the straight, but the extra time needed saw him miss his braking point and run on into the deep gravel at the end of the back straight. Stoner lost 10 seconds in the incident, handing the lead to Dovizioso, and rejoining the race down in 7th. The Italian would enjoy his advantage for just a single lap, heading in for his ride through on the next lap, in the company of Simoncelli and Crutchlow. 

With first Stoner and then Dovizioso out of the equation, the lead landed in the lap of Dani Pedrosa, the Spaniard having kept up a fast-but-steady pace. On his tail sat Jorge Lorenzo, but though he looked like challenging early on, Pedrosa slowly started to pull a gap. By the end of the race, that gap had grown to over 7 seconds, Pedrosa winning this race comfortably, a triumphant return to the Japanese circuit where he had broken his collarbone a year earlier, setting him on a six-month rollercoaster of injuries, operations and recovery. Though he could not stay with Pedrosa, the margin Lorenzo had over the chasing field was large enough to see him home comfortably in 2nd as well.

Behind the leaders, the incidents just kept on coming. The crashes and ride throughs had left Alvaro Bautista and Nicky Hayden in 3rd and 4th, but Casey Stoner put on a charge once he rejoined after his off-track excursion. Stoner quickly caught the Suzuki and the Ducati, though taking four laps before managing to pass both Hayden and Bautista, going on to leave them behind. By then, it was too late to do anything about Pedrosa and Lorenzo, a frustrated Stoner forced to settle for 3rd and limiting the damage in the championship to just 4 points.

Both Bautista and Hayden would suffer further misfortune, Hayden running off on lap 12, and rejoining down in 10th, while Alvaro Bautista crashed out of 4th while pushing to hold on to the position as Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli closed, Bautista on for his best result of the year before the crash. The battle for 4th would go down to the  penultimate lap, Simoncelli catching his Italian compatriot with three laps to go, then passing Dovizioso at the end of the back straight, after Dovizioso ran a fraction wide and off into the dirt at the exit of the hairpin, losing drive and giving Simoncelli an opening. The Italian seized the opportunity with both hands, firing past and into 4th, holding off Dovizioso's desperate challenges to the line. This is the second time in three races that Dovizioso has been beaten by Simoncelli, though the rivalry score remains a convincing 12-3 in favor of the Repsol rider.

After being pushed off in the first-lap clash with Rossi and Lorenzo, Ben Spies fought his way through the field to come home in 6th, ending just ahead of Nicky Hayden, who had also made progress after running off earlier in the race. Colin Edwards made it a trio of Americans, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider crossing the line in 8th, ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama and Randy de Puniet.

There were more dramatic moments among the non-finishers. Hector Barbera crashed early on, fracturing a collarbone in the incident, while Damian Cudlin - the Australian drafted in to replace the injured Loris Capirossi - was on his way to scoring points in his first MotoGP appearance, before losing the front and crashing out of the race. The most unfortunate crash of all came from Toni Elias, the Spaniard running in 6th place for a good part of the race, and holding off challenges from Colin Edwards, Aoyama and Randy de Puniet. But Elias lost the front once again, denying him the chance of his best finish of the season.

Stoner's trip into the gravel may have put paid to his ambition to wrap up the 2011 title at his home race, the day after his 26th birthday. Handing 4 points to Lorenzo, Stoner now leads the championship by 40 points with 3 races to go. Stoner will have to beat Lorenzo by 10 points to take the title at Phillip Island, and though he is odds on favorite to take victory in Australia, you wouldn't bet against Lorenzo getting on the podium there. The inevitable may be delayed until Sepang.


Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 42'47.481  
2 1 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 42'54.780 7.299
3 27 Casey STONER HONDA 43'05.861 18.380
4 58 Marco SIMONCELLI HONDA 43'11.031 23.550
5 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 43'11.172 23.691
6 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 43'25.085 37.604
7 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 43'26.648 39.167
8 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 43'32.504 45.023
9 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA HONDA 43'36.555 49.074
10 14 Randy DE PUNIET DUCATI 43'46.503 59.022
11 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 44'01.445 1'13.964
12 64 Kousuke AKIYOSHI HONDA 44'09.190 1'21.709
13 72 Shinichi HONDA 44'13.862 1'26.381
Not Classified
  24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 30'50.565 7 laps
  19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SUZUKI 23'26.728 11 laps
  6 Damian CUDLIN DUCATI 23'53.901 11 laps
  8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 1'57.120 23 laps
  46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI    


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Thoroughly enjoyable and dramatic across all classes from Zarco's maiden win to Dani's burial of shoulder aching problems last year. Great save and comeback by Stoner. George as solid as a rock. My rider of the day... Ben Spies. A special thought for Japan. A memorable 2011 Motegi.

I'm impresses by Jorge's attitude and fighting spirit this year. He has the demeanor of a true champion and has been nothing but gracious in defeat. It's a pleasure to see the respect shown on the podium after each race.

Pity Stoner won't get the chance to wrap it up at the island, but a great ride from him none the less. He's amazing to watch this year, can't wait to see him on a thou...

Not sure I would call pushing into low 46's when everyone else was mid-to-upper 46's, with a questionable setup (the softer compound, ran in race, is what put Dani on the 2nd row instead of the front in QP); "Easy"

totally agree, after the first few laps Dani was head and shoulders above everyone else...Great ride by him and hope it will give him some confidence not doubt it's demoralising seeing some one on the same kit go faster.
Gutted for Rossi hasn't had much luck this year looked like he was on the limit when Jorge snagged him it happens...Don't buy the coulda got in the top four/five thing, would still be a gimme Presiozis nightmare at the moment can't force it's way into the top six. Pound for pound he's currently the worst engineer in the paddock.. Honda domination would have been a clean sweep but for the false starts. Can someone explain why Motogp goes to track like motegi when wsbk are at magny cours, the wsbk program looks like they said what great tracks can we get into the program. Dorna just said who's got the money.. Maybe the new management team can get some cross over tracks that's wsbk to motogp not the other way round..

Why is there this attempt to shift ALL the blame for the Ducati debacle on Preziosi? Hugelean I am sure you are intelligent enough to know that the whole team bears responsibility. Preziosi, Rossi, Burgess, Ducati management.

Preziosi attempted to beat the Japanese by doing something different. He is to be applauded for that. After all, Furusawa got the better of Honda by doing something different with the 2004 Yamaha (the crossplane crankshaft). But as with any radical design departure there is a high risk of failure.

But the failure of the Preziosi design was not immediately apparent because of the brilliance of Stoner, Ducati's star world champion rider. After all, Stoner won the first race the CF Ducati contested at Qatar in 2009. Many people at the time thought it was the start of the CF era.

But for 2011 Ducati massively miscalculated:

1. Stoner, by far the most successful Ducati rider, left Ducati after some atrocious treatment by Ducati management and their sponsors. He took his experienced team with him. A massive miscalculation by Ducati management.

2. No-one at Ducati really understood that the CF Ducati was a front runner only because of Stoner and his team.

3. Rossi and Burgess had absolutely no experience with the Ducati prototype. Despite their arrogance prior to joining Ducati (the 80 second fix, the claim that Stoner wasn't really trying at Ducati), their previous success was entirely with Japanese bikes. Rossi was forced to concede very early on that the Ducati is a very different beast.

4. No-one could have anticipated that Rossi would be unable to master the Ducati Stoner rode to victory three times in six races toward the end of the 2010 season after an apparent breakthrough with the set up. After all, this was Valentino Rossi, arguably the GOAT, so surely he could ride anything. But not so, even Rossi isn't the best at everything.

5. Ducati now have no point of reference. With Stoner they knew they would get results of some kind, even if he binned it occasionally. With Rossi they really don't know where they stand. Thus Preziosi's recent lament that he wished he could get Stoner back to try the bike so that they would have a point of reference.

6. As Burgess has said, Ducati had focused on their successes, not their failures. They assumed their successes were due to the bike, and their failures were due to the rider. How humiliating for them now to see Stoner's success on the Honda, and to know that they, as a team, got it so badly wrong.

I can understand Rossi fans trying to deflect criticism from Rossi. But it's a team effort. Blaming only Preziosi for the debacle is a cop out.

Completely agree with you motogpmd.

It is outlandish to blame Preziosi, yet excuse after excuse is afforded to Rossi.

I've said this before but Burgess mentioned the "80% rider, 20% bike" contribution. Blaming Ducati's dismal 2011 season on the 20% is total injustice to the man & a massive insult to Ducati's engineering department.

The plain fact is that if Rossi had been able to ride the bike like Stoner did we wouldn't be having this discussion about the 2011 Ducati debacle. People (journalists, fans etc.) who want to claim that it's all the bike or the bike's designer are grossly oversimplifying the whole situation. If Stoner could ride the damn bike at the pointy end surely we have every right to expect a decent effort from Rossi, of all people. We are not talkng about Capirossi, Melandri or Hayden, all good but not great riders. This is Valentino Rossi, MotoGP's superstar. Hard to understand really.

Couldn't agree more. However, be careful for expressing such opinions on this site. You may get posts deleted for not submitting to the cult of "it's 100% the bike" of which the author of this site is a leading proponent.

Posts get deleted here for their tone, not their content. Any post making valid points in a reasonable tone will be left to stand, whatever side of the argument that post may be on.

I receive a lot of criticism for deleting posts, usually followed by accusations that I am a supporter of a particular rider. I have been criticized as being pro-Rossi, pro-Stoner and pro-Lorenzo, as well as anti-Rossi, anti-Stoner and anti-Lorenzo. All of those would appear to be incompatible with each other ...

As I've never read any of these pro any other rider except Rossi bias comments from posters.

I suggest you have a trawl through the comments. There are a lot of them, but you can find all sorts there, if you're prepared to see them.

I have not accused you of being pro-Rossi. What I am getting completely sick of is this consistent 'it is 100% the bike' line that is perpetuated ad nauseum. You put that theory forward in your 'What is wrong with the Ducati' thesis, and have defended it constantly since. Your conclusions from that article are often quoted by posters on a wide variety of forums as proof of the poor performances in the Ducati garage this year being 100% due to the bike. To me, to say that a rider has 0% influence on their own results is so outlandish, it defies all logic and reason.

As a side note, I find it interesting that your conclusions in that article regarding engine configuration/positioning have since been refuted as flat out wrong by Ducati. What does that say about the assumptions underlying your conclusions, of which the 'it's 100% the bike' was a key one?

Rossi himself is clear on this. Him saying "I cannot ride it in a good way like Stoner', should be taken at face value and not be translated as "the bike cannot be ridden in a good way" (which is what the 'it's 100% the bike' theory proposes).This statement clearly points to his own problems riding the Ducati in a good way. This is not a moral judgement against Rossi, it is just the way it is. The solution is for Ducati to design a bike that Rossi can ride competitively (which shouldn't be too hard given his huge level of talent). This is what is actually happening.

If the rider himself isn't saying it, why does it have to be constantly rolled out in supposedly well informed forums?

there still seems to be a great deal of respect and no animosity between Stoner and Preziosi.

The comment by motogpmd ;

" 1. Stoner, by far the most successful Ducati rider, left Ducati after some atrocious treatment by Ducati management and their sponsors. He took his experienced team with him. A massive miscalculation by Ducati management. "

makes one wonder about the internal management policies that Preziosi had to deal with, re budgets, sub-contracting, etc, to effect changes as the seasons progressed. It seems inconceivable that Preziosi would not want to effect changes as suggested, it would be to his advantage to expedite them ASAP ! He is now being pilloried for having a Machiavellian "# 1" rider that demands the first ( and only ) bite of the cherry and has lead them around in circles. ( Senna, Schumacher.....) To break the strangle hold of the Japanese on GP racing , the world needs more engineers with Preziosi's vision.

Unfortunately, Ducati has now become a " boutique " brand, a la HD, which means massive corporate BS and it's consequent negative impact on its Moto GP activities are now all too apparent. Machiavellianism is still alive ...........think Bayliss's
2006 wildcard ride at Valencia.

Here's bone for some to pick on. The breakthrough changes Ducati made last year ( Aragon I think ) involved a change of Stoners seating position, even though it was relatively small. Effectively a weight distribution change. Many of the much heralded " breakthroughs " this year seem to be weight distribution changes, but how much can be gained, without major changes to tank and seat (say, up to 3"-4" ). Many of the early TD, TR, TZ Yamahas often had 3"-4" longer swinging arms ( a fairly significant % change ) fitted by riders who couldn't clic with the standard set up. But the superstar of the day ( Saarinen ) could smoke everyone with a stock chassis.................

Can someone explain why the 'ruling body' penalizes riders for a jump start when 'no advantage' was gained? I know, I know, the rules are specific . . . can't move until the lights go out, BUT . . . . it would have been a hell'eva of a race w/out the ride through.

At least it used to be done with a bunch of video cameras, one looking across each row. An observer watches each to make an immediate call, but then they need to be shown to the race director penalty is decided... which is why it takes some time.

Philosophically, rules have to be interpreted objectively, or else people will start stretching them out of all recognition. Just like the testing rules, whatever you think about the spririt of the rule, it's the letter of the law that must be followed unless you want complete chaos.

Pretty soon there's gonna be nothing left of GP but 'lectronics voodoo mumbo jumbo.

1200cc twins wit' carbs. None of that radiator heresy. Real men let the air cool their bike.

Instead of lights they should have a blonde dropping her arms.

Let's get rid of automated ignition advance too. Let the riders set it themselves with a lever, like in the good old days :)

A jump start is always an advantage if you realise your mistake and try and take it back that's another matter all together.. :-)

A place may not have been immediately gained but rolling out of the pit box is certainly gonna give that person a advantage. To prevent that the rule is that nobody can move once the lights are on. Even if they move and stop it's still a penalty. You can't just have guys moving all around trying to fake the guy next to them into a jump start so to make it even for everyone nobody can move. Besides it was a hell'eva race with the ride throughs so why complain?

The rule needs to be simple and unambiguous.

As soon as you introduce "subjective" assessment, you get the usual complaints about inconsistency.

You move, you lose - simple.

Ya, a shame for Dovi, and for others involved in the chain reaction! BUt one of the most action packed races in MotoGP for some time.

JLo is getting bouqets here for being 'such a great sportsman' and 'gracious in defeat' but did you listen to his post-race podium speech ? "Valentino almost ran me off the track" - what a joke. Here is JLo, the most vocal against dangersous/bad riding to the poiunt of wanting legislature, saying that Rossi nearly ran him off track. HA HA HA. He shunt rossi by not giving up pace, and rossi cannons into Spies, ruining both their races.

Legislate that, Lorenzo.

You might want to watch a replay of the accident in slow motion - Rossi moved from one side of Spies to the other to try and go under him. The original item stated Rossi and Lorenzo were both aiming for the same piece of track which is true but the rider in front cannot ride for the one behind. Rossi has admitted he was behind therefor it is his job to avoid Jorge not the other way around.

I just watched it back in slow mo and the only rider that changed his line going in to that corner was Rossi, he came from the outside of Spies and tried to take him on the inside, Lorenzo was in front and was on a steady line when Rossi's move (for which he was going way too fast anyway) took him in to the rear of Lorenzo, he ricochet off him and skittled back across in to Spies and went down.
In my opinion, 100% Rossi's own fault.

Once you are given a ride-through, is there an advantage to taking it earlier in the race vs. later? Riders years ago used to chalk up a few fast laps by abusing their tires a bit before taking their ride-through penalty (presumably slightly cooked tires would then cool a bit) so I'm surprised that Dovi, Simo and Cal all pulled in so early. Is that simply down to the now-famous "no-degradation" Bridgestones?

Riders have to take a ride through within three laps of being told, otherwise they get black-flagged and excluded from the race, as happened to Max Biaggi at Donington this year in WSBK. So there's not much to choose from, I'm afraid.

Aretha Franklin sang it and you can see it on display on every podium now. Its good to see as theres no question that they each have earned it. But why do we see it now and not last year?

Anyone who loves motorcycle racing and motogp in particular could not help but be a Rossi fan at some stage but you'd have to say as well as he plays the ball, he also plays the man.

Dont think myself that the sport itself needs it, sure there'll always be different personalities but manipulating the media hasnt been part of the sport until Vale mastered it (Gibernau, Biaggi). You can see the result of all that "personality racing" in the pages of other motogp forums with the fanboys spitting at each other.

Hoping that he will see the new found "love" and when he does get back to the top ( and we should all hope he does) decide that its time to be the gracious champion that has been down and come back. Am I dreaming or what?

No mind games, no snappy comments against each other between the 4 fastest riders this season, just respect and sportsmanship.
You can't find one recent nasty comments of Stoner, Lorenzo, Pedrosa or Dovi against each other.
That's refreshing, especially considering how Jorge and Dani were built into each other nemesis in their early years, they clearly have matured.
The atmosphere between the top riders is probably healthier than it has been for years.
And that's a better image for the sport.

not having the kiss from his wife, Adriana, before the race started may have done something to his concentration! After a great effort in getting pole, Casey knew the bumps were there... yet in his haste to break from the field he got caught out. Casey must have had a few choice words go through his helmet during that tank-slapper then the brakes not responding. He made a great decision/save to let the bike settle while going through the gravel. Casey dropped the ball in Motegi... he can't afford another incident like that which could end with an injury! Going to his home GP next... can't wait to see him there on the RCV!

You can circulate all day without issue and then another time be slightly off line, carry a little more speed or lean angle and wham you're into the mother of all slappers. It's bloody awful and I can well understand how Stoner would have lost a tenth or two on that corner thereafter.

Once upon a time I tried to race a satanically posessed R1 that slapped everywhere unless I was either standing on the back brake or running a Pirelli rear tyre. One effect was strained muscles in my back from trying to hang onto the b----d. And Casey was having back problems...

Remember back int he 500 days, Rainey and team manager Roberts were complaining to Yamaha about the chassis on the new YZR and Yamaha manegement came back with

" It cant be that bad, Rainey is winning on it"

But they didnt appreciate how hard Rainey had to ride to win , sounds familiar........

I believe they ended up using a ROC Chassis that was a copy of the previous years YZR Yamaha

Yes maybe you are right about rider in front/behind in the Rossi/Spies/Lorenzo bingle.

But you can bet your bottom dollar JLo is the first to whinge about racing incidents. He is one of a small group of riders that consistantly freak out when other riders get too close/the racing gets tough. To me Lorenzo is a long way from being 'a great champion'. I believe Rossi was/is, and Stoner - well, his riding proves that undoubtedly, but he still needs to get his head right.

Don't agree with you about either Lorenzo or Stoner. In his 250 days against Stoner and Pedrosa Lorenzo got into trouble for rough riding and contact with other riders. Since joining MotoGP he has cleaned up his act. Maybe, given his previous history, it could be argued that he is being a bit of a hypocrite, but people are entitled to change. And the incident at Motegi was in no way Lorenzo's fault. As for being a great champion or not, well, that's a value judgment, and it is way too early to make that judgment about Lorenzo.

And Stoner has been mentally almost flawless in the races this year. Sure he has had a couple of practice incidents, but Motegi was a perfect example of mental strength. A bizarre incident was dealt with calmly, resulting in a podium. Reminds me of Rossi at his best really. Rossi had a remarkable ability to recover from racing incidents and maximize his points. Stoner has learnt to do the same.

Do MotoGP and WSBK have different rules regarding jump starts?

Jonathan Rea looked to have committed a jump start in race one at Magny-Cours, but the commentators later stated that race control had reported there had been no jump starts.

Rea was later quoted on crash.net with:
“In race one, you know, I can put my hand up and say I got completely out of rhythm after I thought I'd jumped the start. Actually, when we checked the wheel speeds, it turned out that it wasn't a jump start – it was just a short movement,"

It looked similar to what Dovi had committed at Montegi, but begs the question as to what is the difference between a jump start, and a short movement?