Casey Stoner Wins at Mugello

June 1, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Casey Stoner once again managed to judge racing conditions and the reaction of his sportbike to the track to perfection to produce a complicated, yet ruthlessly professional display of sportbike racing and take the victory in the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice held at the Mugello circuit in Italy on Sunday. This was the second straight flag-to-flag victory in two rounds of the MotoGP, which also gave Ducati their first victory at Mugello, and ended Valentino Rossi’s streak of consecutive wins at this Italian circuit.

Casey Stoner takes the lead in the points race

Casey Stoner takes the lead in the points race

The majority of the race was determined by strategy as the crowd of 80,000 sportbike fans once again watched as the race started on a wet surface and was finished on slicks. Casey Stoner timed his tire change perfectly and raced out of the pit to take the lead until the last lap, when he had to survive a scare. He made a critical error coming into Correntai corner in front of thousands of his Italian fans, but managed to keep his bike under control as he came out of the corner. At the same time his clutch started to act-up, which he managed to overcome to win by a second over former point’s leader Jorge Lorenzo, who Stoner overtook for the points lead with this victory.

Jorge Lorenzo had an excellent race after a crash in the sighting lap that left him shaken, but was just beaten to the line by a second. This result should still leave him confident heading to the next race and hopefully we’ll see a three or four way competition for the championship this year.

Valentino Ross, Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha colleague, took third place and must feel slightly disappointed after this result ended his seven year reign at his beloved home circuit. He finished the race two seconds behind Stoner and just one tenth of a second in front of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso. Disappointment, once again, for Dovizioso, who finished fourth after leading the race early on, just off the podium.

Monster Yamaha 3 racer Colin Edwards out raced his teammate James Toseland to take sixth, LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet took eighty, Niccolo Canepa of Pramac racing took ninth, and the top ten was round out by Chris Vermeulen of Rizla Suzuki.

The local time schedule for the next race at Catalunya is listed below.

Friday, 12 June 2009

125 FP1      12:40 - 13:40

MotoGP FP1    13:55 - 14:55

250 FP1        15:10 - 16:10

Saturday, 13 June 2009

125 FP2      09:00 - 9:40

MotoGP FP2       9:55 - 10:55

250 FP2      11:10 - 12:10

125 QP     13:00 - 13:40

MotoGP QP     13:55 - 14:55

250 QP       15:10 - 15:55

Sunday, 14 June 2009

125 WUP          08:40 - 9:00

250 WUP          09:10 - 09:30

MotoGP WUP     09:40 - 10:00

“Image: Newscom”

Jorge Lorenzo Prepares for Challenge

May 28, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

The Moto Grand Prix World Championship series travels from the track at Le Mans onto the boot of Italy for this Sunday’s competition on the track at Mugello in a few days time. The current standings leader, Jorge Lorenzo, is ready to compete and hoping to improve his points total in the race to the world championship after his unexpected victory at Le Mans. Lorenzo’s win maybe a surprise victory to many and maybe not expected by Jorge but it’s certainly not a feat that was beyond his ability.

Jorge Lorenzo leads the pack so far this year in the MotoGP

Jorge Lorenzo leads the pack so far this year in the MotoGP

A humble racer, Jorge would never go into a race expecting to win, but sports are often activities where momentum can be a powerful force and considering Jorge’s consistency in the first four races, he must be feeling pretty good about his chances. The Fiat Yamaha rider understands the special qualities of this Italian track and he has a good record racing at Mugello from his days racing in the 250cc class, which includes a pole-to-flag victory in 2006. Jorge had a learning experience in his first MotoGP race at Mugello last year; he crashed out after racing hard for a good portion of the race and surely hopes to make amends for his fall.

It has been a busy week for Jorge Lorenzo; he was inaugurating the Fiat Open Lounge in Milan on Sunday and then watching his beloved Barcelona football club compete in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome on Wednesday. Playing the part of the confident racer perfectly, he’s becoming a darling of the fans and is quickly learning about the benefits and promotional commitments of racing for an Italian team in Italy.

This intelligent racer has been concentrating on preparing for all possibilities to occur on Sunday, as much as is possible, and not worrying about the possibility of rain on Sunday. The thought of rain will certainly be on Jorge’s mind as much as the other competitors, and maybe even more, considering he’s had a history of crashing in recent history and rain increases the chances of a crash for all of the competitors. This year however is different from last year, this year he comes in with the points lead after four races and confident in his body’s ability to stand up to the rigors of sportbike racing. Last year he had problems with his ankles that were compounded by his crash after trying to pass Andrea Dovizioso on this very same track. Could this be the year that Jorge Lorenzo comes out from under the shadow of Valentino Rossi to take his place beside his team mate as a world champion? Tune in Sunday and find out. It may only be the fifth race of the season, but you might be watching a part of Moto GP history being written before your eyes.

“Image: Newscom”

MotoGP Heads to the Hills of Italy

May 24, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Last weeks Grand Prix de France was the first flag-to-flag ride of this year’s Moto Grand Prix championship, when two riders and their sportbikes were basically the race and the others riders as much spectators as the rest of us. This was a new experience for seven riders on the grid, being a spectator of the race between two of the world’s greatest sportbike racers and certainly one they hope to emulate and be part of in the future.

MotoGP heads to Italy

MotoGP heads to Italy

One of these racers who was experiencing the two racer scenario for the first time is Monster Yamaha Tech’s James Toseland, who managed to place ninth in the variable weather of Le Mans that had the racers trying to decide when they should go to wet tires or if they should stick to the dry tires. After returning to the top ten in France, Toseland and the rest of the Moto Grand Prix crew are headed to Mugello in Italy to race on one of the most popular and fan friendly courses on the circuit.

As racing environments and fan atmospheres go, they don’t get better then Mugello on the Moto Grand Prix circuit. The surrounding Italian hills act as a natural auditorium that echoes the sounds of the bikes and the cheering crowds over the duration of the Grand Prix weekend at the Gran Premio d’Italia. The amazing greenery in the surrounding country side is breathtaking beside an invasion of the yellow of passionate Italian fans. Poggio Secco will of course be full to the rim with Valentino Rossi fanatics as always, the roar of his fans as he passes this area of the course surely fills Rossi with energy every time he goes past.

If you’re standing in the Rossi section you also get a fantastic view of the track-action, but also of all the other groups that form the fans of other teams in their spots around the course. Last year Ducati filled the Correntaio corner and once again their red grandstand and banners will wave in this corner. The bird’s eye view for the casual fan sites looking down on the Arrabbiata section, Casanova, and the turns of Scarperia is available if you want to take in the action.

Mugello is a Moto Grand Prix race course made for the fans, with something for everyone, if you can’t be there taking in the action, then the next best thing is to check back here in a couple days for the race results.

Image: Zuma Press

Dani Pedrosa on Pole of 2009 Le Mans

May 17, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

MotoGP is a tough challenge for any racer, the speeds, g-forces, and pressures of competing against the best sportbike racers in the world can bring out the best in an individual or have them go down in flames in the tight corners and unforgiving pavement of race tracks like Le Mans, the next venue of the MotoGP season and a race track that has seen its share of disappointments and successes.

Valentino Rossi will be chasing Dani Pedrosa in the opening laps of the Le Mans race

Valentino Rossi will be chasing Dani Pedrosa in the opening laps of the Le Mans race

Saturday’s surprise is only a mild surprise and certainly for those who have raced against him and lost and his fans it’s no surprise that factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will be on the pole of Sundays’ Grand Prix de France, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to many if Dani Pedrosa is able to use his pole position to finish well during the race and maybe take the checkered flag at this prestigious venue.

Dani has had a pretty good start to his 2009 season on the MotoGP grid, he managed to reach the podium at Motegi, and at Jerez he was surprised to be running among the fastest sportbikes, and finished high on the final rankings. Confidence is probably high for this young racer after taking the pole-position for Le Mans and his intentions are surely to beat everybody to the finish line and turn his season around.

It was fortunate for him that rain didn’t intercede on the qualifying rounds, which was his saving grace as he seems to prefer the race track dry, he seems to be getting in touch with his bike, and his position on the front row will certainly help him keep ahead of the pack and the problems that are inherent with running in the pack.

Dani will certainly have a lot to contend with today at the track at Le Mans, if he wants to make sportbikes history and put himself on the list of potential champions for the 2009 season he needs to finish high and hopefully on the podium. A former winner at Le Mans, Dani knows what it takes to win at this fast and dangerous race course, so expect him to grab the lead and fend off attacks by Valentino Rossi and probably Casey Stoner, to name just the most prominent names.

Dani Pedrosa will battle his gimpy knee, which has hampered his progress this year, and will aim to correctly gauge the setup for his RC212V sportbike, which will be key to him staying out in front of his competition. Starting behind Dani in the front row will be fellow Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha), Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro), and fourth on the grid will be Valentino Rossi.

The weather man is calling for a 80% chance for precipitation on Sunday, if it does rain expect Valentino Rossi to take the win, but if the rain stays away, Dani Pedrosa has a good chance of beating off Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and the rest of the field to the finish line.

Image: Newscom

Casey and Rossi Head Back to Le Mans

May 13, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

The MotoGP heads to one of the oldest and most-famous race tracks in the world this weekend as Casey Stoner and Valentino continue their rivalry for the Moto Grand Prix World Championship at Le Mans, a venue that has probably had Casey up a few nights since last years debacle that saw Stoner finish 16th on a track that hasn’t been very friendly to the Australian. This said Casey is surely expecting winning at Le Mans to be his extreme challenge of the MotoGP season, so far, one far beyond the party he had at Jerez at the last MotoGP event. Casey Stoner’s best finish at Le Mans in any class has been a third place podium finish in the 2007 Grand Prix de France, so Le Mans has been a bit of an enigma for Stoner and one he would surely like to bring to an end.

Rossi and Stoner will race at the French track of Le Mans on Sunday

Rossi and Stoner will race at the French track of Le Mans on Sunday

Casey Stoner’s 2008 Le Mans experience was a competition that turned out to be a convoluted and complicated affair for the Australian and the only race while with Ducati that he hasn’t scored points for the team. The race ended in frustration for Stoner who had to change to a second bike with new rubber to deal with rain after his first ride stopped due to mechanical problems.

I’m sure Casey is hoping for a more traditional result on Sunday at Le Mans, one that’s he’s use too, like the confidence-boost his podium finish at Jerez has certainly give him, and I’m sure his confidence is probably high as they head to the fourth race on French soil. Casey Stoner currently is second in the MotoGP point’s race with 54 points, but with a good showing can certainly do a lot to improve his year.  Jerez and Motegi both provided an extreme challenge for Casey and his bike with their tight corners, but he has come through pretty good, and I expect him to challenge Valentino the rest of the way.

Le Mans certainly has a few tight corners that will provide him and his bike with a challenge; his bike isn’t as reactive in the corners as many of the machines, so requires strong handling techniques to drive. Le Mans is a classic stop and go track that requires strong braking techniques, although it’s one where the racers can get some good speed with the right lines out of the corners.

Valentino Rossi on the other hand tends to like any track he races on and is in France early this week for a press conference for his new energy drink sponsor, but come Sunday, expect him to be leading the field again, despite his Eiffel Tower photo opt set up for this week.

“Image: Newscom”

Valentino Rossi Rides Again

May 6, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Valentino Rossi got his season back on track Sunday in front of a crowd of 120,000 screaming motorcycle race fans at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, by earning his first victory of the MotoGP Championship season at the first race on European soil for the 2009 season.

Casey Stoner found himself 10 seconds behind Valentino Rossi at the finish

Casey Stoner found himself 10 seconds behind Valentino Rossi at the finish

Valentino achieved his first victory of the year at the Gran Premio bwin.com de Espana by reaching the line 2.7 seconds ahead of Dani Pedros in front of a crowd of appreciative Spanish fans in Andalusia, despite the failure of their Spanish riders to win.

Pedrosa was in the lead during the first half of the competition having started with his normal strong start from second on the grid, but he wasn’t able to keep the hard charging Italian from over taking him as Rossi passed him with ten laps to go and then never looked back. This victory puts Valentino Rossi in the lead in the championship points standings by 11 points, not much of a lead, but then something tells me Rossi is just starting to warm up his bike and ability.

Casey Stoner never did challenge during the race, trailing Rossi by 10 seconds at the end, the Ducati Marlboro rider moves into seconds place in the drivers standings with his first podium finish at this Southern Spanish track.

The Spanish rider crashed when Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, failed to control his bike with three laps to go, which means he loses ground to the other racers in the championship race.

The French had something to cheer about as French racer, Randy de Puniet, finished the race in fourth position and qualified in fifth, which should give him and his fans some confidence heading to his home Grand Prix in Le Mans in two weeks time.

The Italians really had a good day as Marco Melandri managed to take home points by finishing in fifth in a tough field and on a difficult track. Marco has been a rider for both Honda and Ducati and this excellent result adds to his improving results in the world championship circuit. This weekend should give him plenty of confidence that he can run with the big boys and his Hayate Racing teammates, the confidence that they are on the right track.

Sixth place was taken by Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi, seventh by Monster Tech Yamaha’s Colin Edwards, while eighth was taken by Andrea Dovizioso in only his third ride for the factory Repsol Honda team. Tony Elias was the second Spaniard in the top ten by finishing ninth, while Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen rounded the top ten off.

“Images: Newscom”

Jerez Promises to be a Battle for the Ages

April 30, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

The MotoGP starts up their bikes in Spain for the 3rd round of the 2009 World Championship, the Gran Premio, bwin.com.de Esparia, only a single week after finishing the second race on the venue. The racers and teams always have something to prove when they get on their bikes and this time nothing has changed. This race is the first European race and one of the most popular venues for fans to come to of the entire year and points and pride are at stake at the Circuito de Jerez.

Casey Stoner impresses in Official Test

Casey Stoner impresses in Official Test

This year finds Spanish fans cheering for the same local hero of the over-all title to follow around the circuit, one Jorge Lorenzo, the current points leader after the first two events, the Fiat Yamaha rider holds a one point advantage over team mate Valentino Rossi, and comes to the third race full of confidence in his bike and himself. Victorious in the last race in Japan, he took the pole and finished third at Jerez last season, and has previously won twice while competing in the 250cc class. Add to this a win would make a perfect birthday gift for his birthday which falls on the day after the race, and I bet Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner have a few things to worry about.

The reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi, is currently second to Casey Stoner for the World Championship, who is three points behind Lorenzo for the point’s race, and has never gone more than three races into a season without a win. His hunger to keep his streak going and win will be greater than ever at Jerez, and if he does win, his legendary Jerez celebrations after winning, should be better than ever.

Casey Stoner for his part has been impressing on lookers with the best times at the recent Official Test held at Jerez, he was untouchable in timed sessions, and sets the stage for a race that should set the pace for the 2009 MotoGP season.

Image: Newscom

Valentino Rossi Turns up the Heat

April 24, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Casey Stoner must be anticipating a real fight for the 2009 World Grand Prix Championship in the coming months after reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi edged him out to post the fastest time in Friday’s free practice session for the Polini Grand Prix of Japan. This was certainly the result expected by Rossi fans after Stoner’s dominance in Qatar and even those who might have other riders they prefer win, considering Rossi’s history, but is hardly the whole story of the first free practice session.

Casey Stoner feeling the heat now

Casey Stoner feeling the heat now

The current World Grand Prix Champion and the winner of the Polini Grand Prix of Japan last year started slow, leaving his fastest lap until the last, but managed to best his previous fastest lap in the session by over half a second to over take the present points -leader, Casey Stoner. Valentino Rossi screamed around the final turn and pushed his bike to its limits, crossing the line in a time of 1′45.545, which brought to a screeching halt Casey Stoner’s perfect record during practice, qualifying, and warm-up sessions so far in the 2009 Grand Prix season.

Casey Stoner talked to his Ducati Marlboro team mates before mounting his bike and throwing himself into the conflict by posting  an early time of 1′48.601 on the curves of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, before electing to skip another try and head back to the garage to talk to him team rather than attempt to best Rossi’s time. Expect Stoner to make a few changes to his bike and riding style to match the track and subsequently post better times.

Valentino Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo had early in the week expressed his intentions to produce faster times in the run-up to Japan and he was a man of his word. Making his final lap his best as his teammate did, the Spaniard ran under 1′49, and was the last rider to accomplish the feat.

Rizla Suzuki had a much better showing then last year, and seem to have solved a few of the problems with the GSV-R from last year, as both Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi finished in the top six at a venue that wasn’t so nice to them last year.

Image: Newscom

Casey Stoner Wins Qatar

April 18, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Casey Stoner was riding one of the fastest sportbikes ever made, the Ducati Desmosedici, when he strapped on his helmet at the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on Monday. The native Australian made his third consecutive triumph at the Losail International Circuit look pretty easy if you were just watching on TV or were actually lucky enough to be in the stands at the historic venue. One of the most amazing things about the skill these gentlemen show on their metal steeds is the concentration and racing knowledge Casey used to ride his way to victory over the 22 lap race.

Casey made 22 laps against the best in the world look like a drive in the park

Casey made 22 laps against the best in the world look like a drive in the park

The race was entertaining to view as Casey changed his style after he jumped out to a lead and really started to turn up the heat on Valentino Rossi, who was running some fast laps. Casey revealed later that he had a small fuel consumption problem that he and his team had decided they would try to deal with by making changes to his racing style to see if it would help conserve fuel and not really a response to the lap times of Valentino Rossi. Stoner changed his race style after the first couple laps and started to use faster speeds in the corners and higher gears to try to save fuel, but about lap ten decided to change his style again, probably because his early techniques weren’t providing enough fuel savings.

Casey seemed to be fighting his Desmosedici GP8 last year, issues with the bike that seem to have been resolved this year, and hopefully he’ll run a little faster and more consistently in the front this season. Greatness requires many things, one of which is great competition, and any racer that desires to be considered among the best ever, needs rivals to push them to their greatest heights.

Image: Newscom

Casey Stoner Sets the Pace

April 11, 2009 by Warren Hayashi  
Filed under Racing

Casey Stoner responded to Valentino Rossi’s comments about the fast times the Australian had posted to dominate the first MotoGP free practice session for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on Friday, with a shrug. True confidence is not having to say anything at all I’ve heard it said and maybe that’s the case with Casey, who seems to prefer to do his talking with his bike.

095

The second MotoGP free practice session for the Commercialbank Grand Prix of Qatar on Saturday was expected to be a battle between Valentino Rossi the 2008 World Champion and Casey Stoner, the Australian young-gun with Rossi in his sights, and the two gentlemen didn’t disappoint. Casey Stoner once again dominated the time trials and was sitting pretty with times under 1′57 posted for the first time on the weekend and took it all with his customary quiet-confidence that’s inspiring a times. Valentino Rossi only started to get his bike up to speed in the final laps and was able to post one time under 1′57. The final margin of difference in times between the two gentlemen’s best times will give you an idea of the battle we have in store for us when the bikes finally pull away from the line in the Commercialbank Grand Prix in a few days. Casey Stoner’s best time of the two sessions was 1′56.310, which is under a tenth of a second faster than Valentino Rossi’s best lap during the sessions.

The third and fourth fastest times were posted by Loris Capirossi and Jorge Lorenzo who made late moves to pull themselves to within half a second of Casey Stoner, while the fifth best lap was posted by Marco Melandri who reduced his previous best time by over 1.5 seconds. Melandri had been in a late Friday-night session with his mechanical crew to get his bike figured out and it appears to have been worth the effort.

Andrea Dovizioso placed the sixth best time, Chris Vermeulen came seventh, Colin Edwards eighth, Randy de Puniet ninth, and the top ten was filled out by James Toseland.

Image: Newscom

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