American Edwards finishes incredible third as Stoner takes points lead with wet victory
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, June 13, 2011 - Casey Stoner continued his reign of terror with his third consecutive victory of the season in Grand Prix of Great Britain on Sunday, June 12, but the MotoGP paddock was more abuzz afterward by the performance of American veteran Colin Edwards.
Edwards, from Houston, finished an incredible third in a wet, treacherous race at Silverstone just eight days after his broken collarbone was surgically repaired with a titanium plate and 13 screws. Edwards' collarbone broke in five places during a crash on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha during practice June 3 at the Catalunya Grand Prix in Barcelona, Spain.
But Edwards, whose smooth style is perfectly suited for wet conditions, earned his first podium finish since placing second - also in torrential rain - in the British Grand Prix in July 2009 at Donington Park. This ride, though, was one for the ages considering the speedy comeback from injury.
"That was an unbelievable race, and to finish on the podium feels amazing," Edwards said. "I was happy to qualify eighth, but never in a million years did I think I'd be on the podium just over a week after breaking my collarbone. My shoulder felt great, and it was the muscle damage around my ribs that caused me the most pain. I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, just trying to stay smooth and not make any mistakes."
Edwards finished 21.480 seconds behind 2007 MotoGP World Champion Stoner, who took the lead for good on Lap 2 after starting from pole. Stoner's Repsol Honda teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, was second, 15.159 seconds behind.
The fantastic ride by Edwards capped a solid day for two of the three American riders. 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, another rider who excels in the wet, finished fourth on his Ducati. Alvaro Bautista placed a season-best fifth on a Suzuki, as a motorcycle from all four manufacturers in MotoGP finished in the top five for the first time this season.
American Ben Spies failed to finish for the third time this season, as he crashed hard in Turn 1 on Lap 7 while running fifth on his Yamaha Factory machine. Spies complained of back pain, but X-rays were negative.
Spies' Yamaha Factory teammate, reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, crashed one lap later while running second and trying to keep pace with Stoner. Marco Simoncelli continued his topsy-turvy season by crashing out of third place while trying to chase Dovizioso on Lap 10. That crash launched Edwards into third, where he stayed for the rest of the race.
Stoner passed Lorenzo for the lead in the MotoGP standings with his fourth victory of the season. Stoner leads Lorenzo, 116-98. The next race is TT Assen on June 23-25 in The Netherlands. The Red Bull Indianapolis GP is Aug. 26-28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, England - Results of the 20-lap Grand Prix of Great Britain MotoGP race, with position, rider, country, motorcycle, time behind winner. All riders on Bridgestone tires:
1. Casey Stoner Australia Ducati
2. Andrea Dovizioso Italy Honda +15.159
3. Colin Edwards United States Yamaha +21.480
4. Nicky Hayden United States Ducati +26.984
5. Alvaro Bautista Spain Suzuki +35.569
6. Valentino Rossi Italy Ducati +1:04.526
7. Karel Abraham Czech Republic Ducati +1:32.650
8. Toni Elias Spain Honda +1:51.938
9. Hiroshi Aoyama Japan Honda +1:52.350
10. Loris Capirossi Italy Ducati +2:03.312
11. Hector Barbera Spain Ducati +1 lap
12. Randy de Puniet France Ducati +1 lap
NC Marco Simoncelli Italy Honda +10 laps
NC Jorge Lorenzo Spain Yamaha +12 laps
NC Ben Spies United States Yamaha +13 laps
NC - Not classified
Fastest lap: Hayden, 2:21.432, Lap 17; Pole lap: Stoner, 2:02.020
Riders: Stoner 116, Lorenzo 98, Dovizioso 83, Rossi 68, Pedrosa 61, Hayden 60, Aoyama 43, Edwards 37, Spies 36, Abraham 33, Simoncelli 32, Barbera 31, Crutchlow 30, Elias 28, Bautista 22, Capirossi 22, De Puniet 10, Hopkins 6.
Manufacturers: Honda 145, Yamaha 114, Ducati 76, Suzuki 28.
CASEY STONER (Repsol Honda Team, winner): "At the beginning of the race, we didn't have a great start, and I needed to wait for the tires to get up to temperature. In the first few laps when I was behind the other riders, I got a lot of spray up inside the visor, and it was hard for me to see or for me to push. At this time I was being careful, trying to cover my lines to stop them coming inside. Then after five laps, my visibility got clearer and the water drained away from my visor, and I was able to start doing the lap times we were looking for and started to open up a gap. I was just happy to stay up on the bike. It was incredibly cold, and I was so nervous as in these conditions it's so easy to crash. We had a great race today in very tough conditions where anything could have happened, but to come away with a win is fantastic."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Repsol Honda Team, second): "I'm really happy with today's podium. It's a second place that feels like gold. The track conditions were very tricky, with much more water than in the warm-up this morning. We made a modification on the setup to have more rear grip, and then we did a very good strategy. It helped us doing two laps before the race to bring the tires up to temperature quicker. I had a very good start, and then I was focused to manage the second position with Casey. I was braking very hard to close the doors to Lorenzo and Simoncelli. I had a good rhythm, not too far from Casey's pace, but he is very strong with these conditions so I preferred to manage my race the best I could. I want to thank my team for the hard work and the support. We need to improve the performance also in qualifying, but at the important moment, in the race, we are there. We never give up. With today's second place, we have consolidated the third position in the championship and reduced the gap to Lorenzo. The season is still long, so I'm confident."
COLIN EDWARDS (Monster Yamaha Tech 3, third): "That was an unbelievable race, and to finish on the podium feels amazing. I was happy to qualify eighth, but never in a million years did I think I'd be on the podium just over a week after breaking my collarbone. I need to thank Dr. Xavier Mir for the repair job he did on my shoulder and also my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because they gave me a phenomenal bike today. My shoulder felt great, and it was the muscle damage around my ribs that caused me the most pain. But the rain definitely helped because it was a lot less physical than in the dry. I just gritted my teeth and got on with it, just trying to stay smooth and not make any mistakes. Conditions were pretty bad, and it was a case of working out when and where you could push. I'd have been happy to finish the race and then go home to think about Assen. But I saw a few people succumbing to the conditions, and I saw P3 on by board and I couldn't believe it. At that time, though, there were still eight or nine laps to go, and I couldn't feel my hands or my feet because it was so wet and cold. It was difficult, but it was a good way to the end the weekend for the team after what happened to Cal. Nobody wants to get hurt, but being injured for your home race is really tough to take, so I wish him a quick recovery and hope to see him back in Assen."
MORE AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES
NICKY HAYDEN (Ducati Team, fourth): "To be honest, I really liked my chances for a podium in the rain today. If you'd have told me before the race that I could have fourth, I'd have said, 'No, thanks, I can do better,' but I'm not disappointed with my ride. I didn't get a great start because the clutch was jumpy, and for the first few laps, it was hard to see and to get heat in the tires. I had a big moment on the exit of Turn 1 and actually jarred my shoulder pretty good, but I tried to hang in there. I saw Colin in front of me for the podium, and I really pushed. I think that's the first time I've ever had the fastest lap on a Ducati, which is kind of cool even if you don't get points for it. Full respect to Colin a week after breaking his collarbone, but I still don't like him beating me for the podium! Thanks to the team. It hasn't been an easy weekend for us, but we kept trying and got a pretty good chunk of points. We'll take it and move on."
BEN SPIES (Yamaha Factory Racing, not classified): "I'm so disappointed to finish like this after we worked so hard to be ready for the race. It's been a challenging weekend for all the guys with the different weather changes, but we were ready to race with a really good package. The track was really wet. When I hit the brakes going into Turn 1, the front just dropped away and I hit the wall before I knew it. I hit my back pretty badly. My back protector is really busted up, but it did its job. I'm really sore and will probably need a big cushion for a few days, but I'm happy it wasn't worse. We'll take a few days to relax and recover then come back fighting at Assen."
MotoGP SUPPORT CLASS WINNERS
Moto2: Stefan Bradl, Germany, Viessmann Kiefer Kalex. American Kenny Noyes was not classified.
125cc: Jonas Folger, Germany, Red Bull Ajo MotorSport Aprilia.
TT Assen, TT Circuit Assen, Assen, Netherlands, June 23-25, Round 7 of 18.
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