Motorsport Wrap for Monday 16th May 2011
Stoner Flies in France
Australia's Casey Stoner put on a master class at the French MotoGP with a dominant victory on Bridgestone's new soft rear tyre.
The Honda rider also set a new record for the total race time, beating the old mark by a staggering 25 seconds.
Starting from pole position, Stoner led from the second lap and, after an intense battle with Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa in the first half of the race, pulled away from the field.
"At the start Dani was being conservative but my tyres came up to temperature faster than his so I wanted to get past and make an advantage," Stoner said.
"It's been an awesome weekend and I'm really happy with the way the bike is working."
Behind Stoner, Pedrosa's weekend went from bad to worse when he slipped into the clutches of Simoncelli in third. The two riders came together entering turn nine and Pedrosa crashed, breaking his collarbone.
Pedrosa had surgery only last month to remove a metal plate from his left collarbone before winning the Portuguese Grand Prix. He now faces a race to prove his fitness in time for his home race in Barcelona on June 5, the fifth round of the 18-race season.
"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," Pedrosa said.
As the track temperature was lower under overcast skies, every rider chose Bridgestone's new soft rear slick alongside the harder front tyre.
"All weekend I have been pleased with the performance and consistency of our new soft rear tyre, and in the race it again showed its strength," said Masao Azuma - Chief Field Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport.
"Outright performance was good with the top three riders under the existing lap record, and durability and consistency were also satisfying. Eighteen of Casey's laps were faster than the existing lap record, and in addition to his new total race time record, the top four riders were all faster than last year's winning total race time." CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) 78 points
2. Casey Stoner (Aus) 66
3. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) 61