Weekend Motorsport Review and Preview
To those who started reading my weekend wrap up earlier this week saw that only the qualifying results were posted. Somehow it slipped through before being finished. So this the review of last week, with this week’s preview added.
Taking a pole position in motorsport means you know what you are doing. You know how to drive/ride. You are a general favourite. Even to start on the front row, which is 3 riders in MotoGP, means you’re in for a good chance on the run down into the first corner.
What you generally don’t expect is for 5th to go past everyone into the lead by the first corner, with 4th place right behind him. Dani Pedrosa would have been feeling amazing, leading one of his home GP’s, while Ben Spies would have been over the moon after a troublesome 2012 so far. For Casey Stoner, he may have been having second thoughts about announcing his retirement, it has not gone as well since. Even though he started on pole, he was passed by teammate Pedrosa (P5), Spies (P4) and Lorenzo (P2) before the first corner, and soon after Andrea Dovizioso. Then a lap later, a wide corner let Cal Crutchlow through.
A few laps later, Spies in second at that point, made a move on Pedrosa at turn 4, running wide into the gravel trap, before remounting at the back of the field. Lorenzo then passed Pedrosa a few laps later, but it was far from over. Pedrosa retook the lead 14 laps from the finish, and Lorenzo went wide a lap later, letting Dovizioso catch up, until he too lost time. With 6 to go, Lorenzo was now on Pedrosa’s rear wheel, before Pedrosa made the mistake, and Lorenzo took the lead. 3 laps later he increased it. By the end, he had 5 seconds over Pedrosa, Dovizioso, a fast finishing Stoner, and Crutchlow, who was there until 3 laps to go.
We will next see the MotoGP on the weekend of June 17th.
Yvan Muller probably wasn’t happy on missing out on pole in Portugal, but he soon forgot about it as he led the field into the first corner from P2. The Frenchman was then unstoppable, not Gabrielle Tarquini nor Rob Huff could do a thing about it, Muller winning a seemingly easy race from first corner to last. Norbert Michelisz won the Yokohama trophy from 4th.
In the second race, you would have been forgiven thinking that perhaps Michel Vaillant (aka Alain Menu) could win race 2 from P2 as well. In a bad day for pole position, that exactly happened, the Vaillante disguised Chevrolet winning by 3.2 secs over the 17 year old Pepe Oriola and Tom Coronel, while the Huff and Muller were 4th and 5th. Oriola won the Yokohama Trophy from second, while James Thompson in his Lada finally finished a race properly without incedent, finishing in 11th with no points, 1.7 secs from 10th.
The next round is in Brazil, at Curitiba July 22nd.
Honda has well and truly hit back in the Indycar championship. Those who discounted them (not looking at me) have had to eat their words, as Scott Dixon took maximum points at Belle Isle. The Ganassi driver took the pole, win and most laps in a shortened race due to the deterioration of track. Not any deterioration, the type where the track is actually damaged and is breaking up.
The 90 laps were shortened to 60 after a 2 hour delay, as first the new surface had to be laid, and then allowed to set. Once completed, and accepted as being safe, the race was set for a frantic last 15 laps. Everyone was fuelled, new tyres were fitted, sprint racing at its finest. Scott Dixon lead the restart with Will Power right behind, but for some reason could not get going, and finished 4th. Dario Franchitti capped off another 1-2 for Ganassi, one week after their win at Indy. Simon Pagenaud took 3rd in another Honda powered vehicle, leading to the amazing feat of Honda taking a 1-2-3 at Chevrolet’s home race…
This week the Indycar series moves to its second oval race of the year at the Texas Motor Speedway. The high banked course is the only of its kind this season, the other 2 much lower banked. Ganassi will surely be looking for yet another good result, as Dixon is now second in the standings. Honda too will be confident, defeating the seemingly invicible Chevy’s at Indy, while this race is 50 miles longer. Penske will want to reassert their early season dominance, but it is anyone’s guess which driver could take it. Castroneves has won in Texas 3 times, Power has won his only oval race here last year, and Briscoe showed he can drive a oval well taking pole at Indy. Chevy will be looking to unlock the speed that won it 4 straight races and 9 of the top 10 at Indy, but whether it can is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile Lotus will be hoping they can finish an oval race, something they still haven’t done..
Jimmie Johnson took another fine victory, winning the 400 mile race at Dover. At 31 laps to go, the final caution of the night was cleared up, and the grid went green again. Johnson took his lead, and never let anyone get close, winning his 7th race at the Dover track, making him equal first on wins at the 1 mile track. Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth rounded off the podium, while Greg Biffle was down in 11th, meaning that he will take a 1 point advantage into the next race at Pocono. Which is this weekend.
The formidable 2.5 mile, 3 turn track has been confusing at the best of times, but the recent repaving of the surface threw in a curveball. To put it in perspective, Kasey Kahne’s record on the track is from 2004, or rather was. The two day testing session of the track saw 22 drivers beat that on the first day. In the next morning, 35 had. By the afternoon, all 42 drivers were lapping faster than that record as they started to figure out the new driving style needed. So, race day. Anyone’s guess. Kasey Kahne still holds the lap record, set on Thursday, so he is one to watch. Biffle and Kenseth will be looking to beat each other, while Jimmie Johnson will want to take another victory, as he guns for the top.
Edoardo Mortara was on top of the world after qualifying his Team Rosberg Audi on pole. He was halfway to the moon when he added a victory with it. And so Audi finally took blood this season, which has now seen all three manufacturers take a win. The podium was made up by Martin Tomczyk for BMW and Gary Paffett in his Mercedes, and so for the second race in succession, all three manufacturers were on the podium too.
Paffett increases his lead with 3rd place, while in the Manufacturers championship, Audi was (obviously) the big winner, taking 30 points out of Mercedes and overhauling BMW into 3rd. To quote reigning champion Martin Tomczyk, “Today is a great day for the DTM. All three brands in the top three and a highly exciting race.”
The “exciting” DTM series will be back on track at the Norisring on the weekend of July 1.
The F1′s are back in action this weekend in Canada. After winning in Monaco, Mark Webber will look to take a 2nd win of 2012, as will Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Vettel and Maldonado. Also in the running this weekend are Hamilton, Raikkonen, Grosjean…and watch Schumacher, he may spring a surprise. Meanwhile, the support GP2 and GP3 cars will be seen next at the Valencia round, on the weekend of the 24th June.
The premier touring car series in Britain, and notorious for being one of the most “crashiest” in the world, will again resume at Oulton Park this weekend. Jason Plato in the new 888-Engineering build MG is leading the championship, with Honda teammates Gordon Sheddon and Matt Neal in close pursuit.
The new Next Generation Touring Car regulations have spiced up the competition, with no fewer than 10 manufacturers all vying for top spot. Watch out for the manufacturer MG’s and Honda’s to be up there as always, but also the Pirtek Racing Honda’s, eBay Motors BMW’s and the Dynojet Toyota to be giving it their best, as only the independant drivers can.
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