Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner was able to cruise to the win in the Le Mans MotoGP race but there was controversy after Marco Simoncelli was given a ride-through penalty while sitting in second after an incident with Dani Pedrosa which resulted in a broken right collarbone for the Repsol man.
Gresini Honda’s Simoncelli rode around the outside of the tiny Spaniard with 11 laps to go but clipped his front wheel, sending the Repsol Honda man crashing into the dirt and himself having to ride across it. Four laps later, he was called into the pits and emerged in seventh.
The penalty handed podium spots to Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso after third-placed man Jorge Lorenzo has a massive moment with five laps to go. After fencing with the Italian for the final circulations, Dovizioso took second and Rossi third after the Repsol man went under The Doctor with three to go and Rossi couldn’t find a way back past. It is Rossi’s first podium for Ducati and his 175th time on the box.
Simoncelli ended the the race in fifth as he managed to get past Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies. Britain’s Cal Crutchlow crashed out, hitting a kerb on lap five and losing the front.
Pedrosa was furious with the move that fellow HRC man Simoncelli put on him, especially as the Spaniard will more than likely miss his home round in Catalunya.
Pedrosa has only just recovered from one operation and may well have to have another to pin the offending bone. He will also miss a chance to ride the 2012 1000cc bike at Jerez on Tuesday.
“I was having a good race, the goal was to ensure another podium and I had it in my grasp. But it counts for nothing. Simoncelli overtook me, I passed him back and I had the better line, he just came into me releasing the brakes and I could do nothing,” said the Spaniard.
“I leave here with a broken collarbone and he with a ride through penalty, good for him! Yet again I come out worse off. We only just recovered from the nightmare of the last operation and now I’m hurt again. It is very unfair, I don’t deserve it.”
Simoncelli believes his ride-through penalty is as much to do with talk of his dangerous riding as it was to do with the incident with Pedrosa .
Simoncelli’s ‘aggression’ was the subject of a rider delegation going to the safety commission on Thursday on top of Jorge Lorenzo’s comments before the Estoril race where the world champion basically accused Simoncelli of being a menace.
The big-haired star says he is unhappy that Pedrosa has been hurt but insists he gave the Repsol Honda man ‘a metre’ in which to put his RC212V .
“I am unhappy because a result that was within my reach was denied and, above all, because of the fact that Pedrosa is hurt. In my opinion the incident went like this: Pedrosa was having a bit of difficulty – I had pulled alongside him and passed him,” said Simoncelli.
“When he passed me back I was not intentionally trying to resist, and my telemetry shows that I got on the brakes at the same point as on previous laps. I think that he had hit the brakes well before the corner, and I found myself on the outside of him and in front on the entry to the corner.
“I didn’t want to back off, so I left him with a metre between myself and the kerb in order to go in. I saw that it was tight, so I tried to adjust my position. That was when he touched my back wheel and went down. I repeat that any controversy regarding penalisation, but I believe that my ride-through was a result of all the talk over the past few days. Now I have to focus on Barcelona.”
MotoGP race results from Le Mans:
1 Casey STONER AUS Repsol Honda Team HONDA 44’03.955 159.551
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 44’18.169 158.698 14.214
3 Valentino ROSSI ITA Ducati Team DUCATI 44’18.519 158.677 14.564
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 44’25.030 158.290 21.075
5 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 44’35.200 157.688 31.245
6 Ben SPIES USA Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA 44’35.564 157.666 31.609
7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Team DUCATI 44’39.521 157.434 35.566
8 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini HONDA 44’55.457 156.503 51.502
9 Hector BARBERA SPA Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP DUCATI 45’07.686 155.796 1’03.731
10 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Cardion AB Motoracing DUCATI 45’07.840 155.787 1’03.885
11 Toni ELIAS SPA LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA 45’08.023 155.777 1’04.068
12 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP SUZUKI 45’08.147 155.769 1’04.192
13 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 45’03.007 144.918 2 laps
Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Pramac Racing Team DUCATI 33’55.169 155.459 7 laps
Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team HONDA 26’47.714 159.308 11 laps
Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 10’27.276 144.108 22 laps
Randy DE PUNIET FRA Pramac Racing Team DUCATI 1’43.987 144.883 27 laps.
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha Factory Racing 78
2. Casey Stoner Repsol Honda Team 66
3. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 61
4. Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 50
5. Valentino Rossi Ducati Marlboro Team 47
6. Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 39
7. Hiroshi Aoyama San Carlo Honda Gresini 36
8. Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 22
9= Héctor Barberá Mapfre Aspar Team 21
9= Cal Crutchlow Monster Yamaha Tech3 21
9= Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech3 21
12. Ben Spies Yamaha Factory Racing 20
13. Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 18
14. Toni Elías LCR Honda MotoGP 17
15. Loris Capirossi Pramac Racing Team 9
16. Álvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 7
17= Randy de Puniet Pramac Racing Team 6
17= John Hopkins Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 6