Motegi, Race Report: Casey Salvages Podium After Run-off From Lead

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It was a chaotic race at Motegi today, where Casey Stoner was out of the fight for victory — due a problem with the brakes. Despite that, Casey finished on the podium in third place.

Casey made a great getaway and soon took some advantage, setting a very fast pace from the second lap onward. However, the situation changed dramatically when in the fourth lap, a strong jolt on the front of Casey’s Honda left him temporarily without brakes, forcing him to have an off. In the manoeuvre to go back on track he fell to the seventh place, leaving Dovizioso in front. A lead that only lasted one lap, because in the next he had to do the ‘ride-through’ penalty for getting ahead of the start.

From that moment on, Pedrosa found free track to achieve a new victory, the first of a Honda rider in his own circuit since 2004. The Spaniard of the Repsol Honda Team stood the initial pressure from Jorge Lorenzo to increase the pace a bit later, set the fastest lap of the race in the eleventh lap and secured the win with more than seven seconds over Lorenzo and 18 over Casey.

The Championship leader improved four positions to get again on the podium and add another 16 points very valuable for the overall standings, which he leads with an advantage of 40 points. His team mate at the Repsol Honda Team, Andrea Dovizioso, went back to the track on tenth position after his penalty and recovered lost ground by overtaking Edwards, Aoyama and Elías. Benefiting from Bautista’s crash, he finished fighting during the last laps with Marco Simoncelli for the fourth place, but finally had to settle for the fifth position.

The next stop of the World Championship will be in two week’s time at the Australian circuit of Phillip Island, Casey’s home race. The Repsol rider will have his first opportunity to secure the title, as he has 40 points of advantage and there are still 75 up for grabs — he will need to score 10 points more than Jorge Lorenzo.

Casey’s View…

“The whole weekend had gone so well for us and even the start of the race we got a great start and everything felt good in the first laps and I was able to pull a small advantage. Andrea [Dovizioso] was riding very well on the soft tyre compound and we knew ours would work well towards the end of the race, so the pace we had at that stage I was very comfortable with.
As I came out of the back straight I got a wobble on the bike, we hit the big bump and as the front came down it practically shook the bars out of my hands, I was lucky to hold on. I went for the brakes and there was nothing there so I had to pump them up a couple of times, when I pumped it the second time if flicked me up over the front and I was lucky to stay on the bike.
Thankfully I avoided hitting the wall at the end of the gravel trap but this pretty much ended our race. It’s really disappointing as we had the bike to win here today, but in the end I guess I should be thankful that we were able to climb back up to a podium spot after other peoples misfortunes and mistakes on track.
I’m looking forward to going to Phillip Island now and to see what we an achieve there, I’ve got a Championship lead to protect but I also want to win races which is why I’m disappointed here today”.