Weekend Review: MotoGP, DTM, NASCAR and more
Jorge Lorenzo took another step towards a second world championship, taking an emphatic victory in Italy during the MotoGP. Racing at the Mugello Circuit, it was Dani Pedrosa on his Honda that took the lead off the line, but by the third corner, he was starting to get a nice view of Lorenzo’s rear wheel. Andrea Dovizioso quickly found himself in 3rd place after starting 7th, and soon passed Pedrosa as well, while Nicky Hayden on his Ducati and Stefan Bradl on his Honda started fighting for fourth. After 2 laps, Pedrosa repassed Dovizioso, while Bradl was winning his battle. Hayden was soon under pressure from Stoner, who was starting to get going after starting on a set of experimental harder tyres. But just as you thought the reigning champion might make some fireworks, he experimented a little too much, running into the gravel and losing 5 places by the time he got back on. Rookie Bradl had also passed Dovizioso by this stage, but the fight was a two horse race, and Pedrosa pushed to close the gap. He was achieving it, but Lorenzo found more speed, and opened the gap to more than before. And that was the end, Lorenzo took a strong, effortless victory from Pedrosa, while the Italian crowd loved the pass made by Dovizioso on Bradl with 3 to go that saw him take the final podium step. Nicky Hayden saw an oppotunity to get past Bradl too, but left the door open and Bradl took it back, Hayden being pushed wide and letting through both Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow into 5th and 6th respectively. Meanwhile not too far behind, Casey Stoner finished a second straight race in a position that doesn’t help his championship cause.
My Rider of the Day: Will have to be Stefan Bradl, rookie to the class, and punched above his weight against the home-crowd favourite Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden too.
From a Distance: Lorenzo breezes to victory, while Stoner falls further behind.
The non-championship Munich Olympiastadion event was a bit of fun for the drivers, and it was Mattias Ekstrom that took his first victory of 2012 in the DTM, ableit with no points to go with it. The unique knockout format of the event, and the side-by-side track gave some great spectating, and this was only heightened before the semi finals when rain brought another factor to the event. In the semi’s, Ekstrom was up against Gary Paffett, but Paffett, leading the championship, couldn’t handle the conditions as well as his counterpart, finishing back 1.5 seconds. In the other semi was Bruno Spengler and Jamie Green, driving for BMW and Mercedes respectively. Unlike the other semi it was a close fought battle the entire way, with the Brit Green taking the honours on the line. In the final, the race was decided in the pits. Green won the first run, while Ekstrom had a small delay in his stop, giving Green a 1.9 second advantage into the second. But Ekstrom pushed in the now very wet conditions, and it was Green’s pit stop that sealed it, getting away slowly as Ekstrom roared on ahead. The day before, Mercedes Benz won the Team Competition courtesy of Ralf Schumacher and Jamie Green, defeating Audi in the final.
Nothing else to report, as it was all in fun.
Kasey Kahne notched a second victory of the season at New Hampshire Raceway as he starts to look towards the Chase for the Championship in NASCAR. His second win puts him top of the wildcard table, but if he continues, no doubt will be a top-10 qualifier for the Chase. His win over Denny Hamlin could easily be counted as a lucky one, a pit wall error saw Hamlin take on 4 new tyres instead of 2, and have to fight from 13th with 30 laps remaining. To his credit, Hamlin took 2nd, showing that he was the car of the round, but in the end, it was his to lose, and he lost it. Clint Bowyer rounded off the top 3, while behind in 5th was Brad Keselowski, moving up from 22nd on the grid.
Driver of the Day: Has to go to Kahne, he drove the race he needed to. Hamlin deserved it, but you don’t reward mistakes.
From a distance: Kahne is now well and truly set up for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, while Carl Edwards, runner up last year is currently not in the running.
This Week: The F1′s are back at Hockenheim in Germany, and that means that the GP2 circus will follow. Indycar is back, this time taking part in Edmonton, while NASCAR Sprint Cup will not be racing. The WTCC is back, racing in Brazil.
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