2012 Le Mans MotoGP Race Result: Dominant Victory And Epic Battle For Podium

Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Le Mans:

Jorge Lorenzo has wrenched back the momentum of the 2012 championship by taking a supreme victory at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans. Lorenzo dominated almost from the start to take the lead in the championship by 8 points.

With Dani Pedrosa on pole, the question of who would be first into the chicane at Le Mans was never in doubt. The Spaniard led the field through the first few corners, but Jorge Lorenzo was a man on a mission from the start. The 2010 World Champion was up to 2nd after the first couple of corners, and snapping at the heels of the Pedrosa as they rounded Le Musee. At the double right at Garage Vert, Lorenzo was past, and was gone. The Spaniard pushed hard in the early stages to get a gap, and though Casey Stoner closed up in the middle part of the race, there was no one who could match his pace. Lorenzo managed the gap to come home with a comfortable lead and a massively deserved victory.

Though Lorenzo effectively had the race won before the first lap was even halfway done, the battle behind him turned out to be one for the ages, for many reasons. Dani Pedrosa would not capitalize on his rocket start, the Repsol Honda man going backwards after the first few corners. Teammate Casey Stoner came past on the second lap, and Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow would follow in short order, leaving Pedrosa to fend off Stefan Bradl further down the order. Stoner held station with Lorenzo at first, though the Spaniard was a long way ahead, before starting to close in on him a little during the middle section of the race. But at around the two-thirds mark, Stoner's pace began to flag, and the group behind started to close.

That group, containing Valentino Rossi on the Ducati, and the two Monster Tech 3 Yamahas of Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso, provided the best entertainment of the day, at least until they caught up with Stoner. Rossi led the chase for the most part, but both Crutchlow and Dovizioso took their turns at the head of the group. Places were swapped, and quarter was neither given nor asked, but as the race went on, Rossi emerged as the stronger of the three. With the pace at this level, mistakes were inevitable, and Crutchlow was the first to falter, falling on lap 19 at the chicane, though he would manage to rejoin the race. Once Rossi was past Dovizioso and chasing Stoner, Dovizioso too would fall, but like his teammate, would rejoin and finish, the two teammates scoring a Tech 3 1-2, but much further down the field than team boss Herve Poncharal had hoped for.

Having shaken off Dovizioso, Rossi set his sights on Stoner, and with the Australian's pace starting to flag, the gap between the two bitter rivals would not hold. While catching Stoner was relatively easy, getting past would not be, both men determined not to cede an inch to one another. Where Rossi thrust, Stoner parried, the pair swapping places as the laps began to tick off, but on the penultimate lap, Rossi's challenge would prove too strong for the Australian. A jubilant Valentino Rossi would cross the line in 2nd, his best ever result on the Ducati and a repeat of the podium at Le Mans last year. Stoner would be forced to settle for 3rd, limiting the damage to his championship challenge, and extending his podium streak to 19 races.

Dani Pedrosa came home a lonely 4th, boosted a couple of places by the mistakes of the Tech 3 riders, while Stefan Bradl rode an outstanding race to come home in 5th, his best ever result in MotoGP. Nicky Hayden made it two Ducatis in the top 6, finishing ahead of the crashed Tech 3 riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, both of whom had looked in with a genuine shout at their first podium of the year at Le Mans. Hector Barbera came home in 9th, while Alvaro Bautista could not capitalize on the strong pace he had shown in practice, to take 10th. After having the threat of a sacking hanging over his head early in the season, a little help from Aprilia with the electronics of his ART bike helped James Ellison score an excellent result, coming home as the first CRT bike.

That electronics cannot cure all ills was demonstrated at the start of the race. Both Ben Spies and Randy de Puniet had to start from the wettest inside part of the grid, and both got horribly squirrelly off the line, despite launch control and anti-wheelie electronics. De Puniet got the worst of it, losing control of his bike entirely, and crashing before he had even crossed the start line. In the end, he returned to the pits and went out on his second bike.

Lorenzo's victory opens up the championship once again. The Spaniard retakes the lead from Casey Stoner, extending it to 8 points over the Australian. The two men are pulling firmly away from Dani Pedrosa, while just 1 point separates the two Tech 3 riders in 4th and 4th place.


Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 49'39.743  
2 46 Valentino ROSSI DUCATI 49'49.648 9.905
3 1 Casey STONER HONDA 49'51.041 11.298
4 26 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 50'09.104 29.361
5 6 Stefan BRADL HONDA 50'12.220 32.477
6 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 50'12.585 32.842
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 50'39.502 59.759
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW YAMAHA 50'44.895 1'05.152
9 8 Hector BARBERA DUCATI 50'47.589 1'07.846
10 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA HONDA 50'52.936 1'13.193
11 77 James ELLISON ART 51'06.406 1'26.663
12 54 Mattia PASINI ART 51'07.376 1'27.633
13 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ART 49'55.456 1 lap
14 51 Michele PIRRO FTR 50'03.709 1 lap
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ BQR 50'13.248 1 lap
16 11 Ben SPIES YAMAHA 50'55.642 1 lap
17 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUTER 49'42.348 2 lap
18 22 Ivan SILVA BQR 51'28.427 2 lap
Not Classified
  9 Danilo PETRUCCI IODA 43'54.019 4 laps
  14 Randy DE PUNIET ART 42'19.625 6 laps
  17 Karel ABRAHAM DUCATI 20'45.461 17 laps


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Nice to see that Rossi can still surprise us. Having that CRT bike in Parc Ferme is a bit silly. Really makes it feel like there are two championships. Brilliant race. Even if Jorge ran away at the front (and congrats to him for a superb performance) there was no shortage of excitement.

Not sure about the bikes ... but it would definitely come in handy in the media tent!

@ javi

Yes the bikes do have launch control, I believe it's a combination of 'anti wheelie' and 'traction control' and I would say for sure Randy did not have it on. It's the first time I've seen it in a race, but according to John Hopkins, Pedrosa got spat off the back of his Honda on a practice start at Phillip Island a few years ago when he forgot to set the "L.C." (much to the ammusement of Hopper who said he almost fell off his bike laughing)

What a fantastic race tonight, great to see a confidence boost for Rossi and Ducati.

Perhaps the wet weather is the only time when lots of electronics on the bikes create close racing.... Rossi's rear tyre was like new and Stoner (who uses the least T.C.) his tyre was trashed.

Yet in the dry Stoner's tyres hold up quite well even with all the time he spends sideways.....very strange

And Lorenzo ....an absolute master class in wet weather riding and tyre management.

The tyres for the top three runners all had plenty of tread left so no problems there. Looks like only the two HRC guys had problem with warm up so I think they missed a trick with their setup.

in any position to comment on what's funny regarding offs? Strange, that comment, coming from someone that should be making RdP blush with the frequency and velocity with which he has found the gravel lately.

Please note it is not my intention to sound like a snarky punk towards you...

this was an exciting battle for the lower pod
congrats to vale
spies, whats up,bro ?

The wet always throws it up although most hate it. The GP podium battle was memorable for one particular reason in my view. Ducati ! That Preziosi bike is a very competent piece of kit across a spectrum of conditions. Credit to Rossi for exploiting it on the day.
George at his sublime best. Casey well pleased and exactly what are CRT bikes and riders doing in parc ferme ? Clearly GP 2012 is a 2 tier Championship. Great performance by Stefan Bradl.
Big winners on the day across all classes include Louis Rossi (obviously), Sandro Cortese and Tom Luthi.
CRT and Italians in junior classes. Once again that IODA Dani rider is one scalp I would hunt for. A major team ride for 2013 should be his lot. Reminds me of Stoner in 2006. Comprehensively very fast with any bucket of trash underneath him. First time out at Le Mans,I hear. You listening Ducati ?

"The Spaniard retakes the lead from Casey Stoner, extending it to 8 points over the Italian". Would not mind Stoner changing his nationality though ;)

... some guy called "Andi Pedrosa" in the last sentence. ;)

Still, great write-up, as always.

A good race, finally some passing and re passing and Rossi second is bigger news than Lorenzo wining. Spies needs a visit to a witch doctor, he has bad luck hiding on his aero hump.

...was something to be hold. In all honesty-I was close to passing out at the last rounds...it was Rossi at his best. And I really thought he'd lost it, but he still has the will to win no matter what. I think that all that losing on that damn Ducati has reenlighted the fire in him and he pulled out all stops.Man that was sure nice to see him winning that battle against Stoner-who earned a massive ammount of respect on my side for retirement at the peak of his career in true style, loyal to his family and telling the circus what he thinks of the screwed up way its on.
Anyway's---if that wasn't a fair fight, I don't know what is.
Finally the 100 § subscription to MotoGP.com was worthy it again after a long time.

"if that wasn't a fair fight, I don't know what is"

Exactly, a true respectful and clean fight between the two best pilots in the last 12 years ... was good, I missed these moments

What the hell is wrong with this kid? David, are you hearing anything that might explain his total lack of performance in the first 4 races this year? The CRT's are kicking his rump!

Rossi: guess he hasn't forgot how to ride a bike (yes, I'm being a smart-ass!). IF Ducati would build him a bike that was worth a damn....who knows....
Jorge: hell'eva of race. He doesn't make many mistakes and obviously his bike was working better then Casey's/Dani's.
Tech 3: great race, just too bad you guys both crashed. Gonna be an interesting year w/them pushing each other so hard.....especially w/Spies seat possibly 'up for grabs'!!!
Bradl: what can you say.....the kid is proving he's a talent.

respect to all the pilots that they did their best at very difficult conditions.
respect to 80.000+ the spectators they have been there !
respect to the winner ,he is a man now,who needs a lollipop!
respect to the man ,made the motogp so famous and he still does it!
respect to Stoner for his decision !
ciao Marco !
the show must go on !

".....especially w/Spies seat possibly 'up for grabs'!!!"

Possibly? Spies will need a miracle to keep that seat. His situation is mysterious but nevertheless inexplicable. Spies was right when he said that Dovi already had his chance on a factory bike...and that's exactly the situation Spies will be in next year.

That Yamaha is clearly a great bike and he is failing...

I am a Spies fan by the way...

What a great race for second, well done Rossi. I was wondering whether Stoner settled for third given that Rossi is not a title threat, but no he was giving it his all and was just let down by his rear tyre - otherwise we would have seen a battle right to the finish line.

Good comments here too guys : )

the condition of the three legitimate bikes on Parc Ferme? Jorge's tire looked fresh while Stoner's looked like a bologna skin - I don't suspect that Stoner settled, rather that is all he could muster. VR's tire looked very good too.

lorenzo was white hot ! how smoother could he be !!too bad casey couldn't battle with 'im

ben spies seems his fire is out,pilot light aint even lit !
itsa shame to see him suck so bad

to see Spies with such a down, I've followed Spies since AMA and always knew this kid was GP material. Wonder if there is any kind of mole in his team, these situations are a little beyond what's statistically possible!

just kidding! >_<

Apparently Spies was let down by his Visor which impeded his visibility. What's interesting is that this is not the first time he's had an issue with a visor in a race.

If I was an Arai, Shoei or Nolan rep I'd be giving Mary a call re potential deals... To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, once may be misfortunate but twice seems careless...

Spies has become nothing but excuses. I don't know why he's using a HJC helmet anyway. In fact, I believe they were actually banned here in the US by one of the racing organizations. Not sure if that's the case still, but you'd think if you're contesting the World Championship you'd want some quality gear

There are racers in AMA sponsored by HJC. To be fair, HJC came a long way compared to the AC-11 I used to have 9 yrs ago that was made in Korea.

Even VR#46's AGV also was fogging up a little, so it's not only HJC is having issues. Maybe some other racers also have some issues with their helmet but they just deal with it. I believe it's not the first time we hear BS#11's visor fogging & didn't one year at Laguna Seca, his visor will not stay locked down properly?

Need some HJC beta testers for fogging? Hit us up at Bay Area, CA...we'll help test for free if we get to keep the helmet ;)

Nice to see Bradl do well in just his 4th race.Nicky was unfortunate to miss out.Absolutely phenomenal for James Ellison,that must have given him a massive boost.

What an epic podium for Rossi.That guy still has the fire after all these results that he has had.Its so good to see him relaxed and focussed on the job at hand,fast or not.Amazing grace from the pro every time.I wanna see more races like that.