Stoner beats Spies in ultra-close finish
6 November 2011 – Casey Stoner claimed victory at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in spectacular fashion this afternoon. The Australian, who dominated the race until late rainfall, overcame Ben Spies by just 15 thousandths of a second in an incredible dash to the line. Andrea Dovizioso completed the podium, earning third place in the championship.
The day began emotionally for the MotoGP fraternity, with riders from all classes lining the grid and paying tribute to the late Marco Simoncelli. A series of fireworks were set off over the course of a minute, creating a fitting tribute to the vibrant Italian.
As the race got underway amid tricky and drizzly conditions, a quarter of the 16-strong field were wiped out almost instantly. Álvaro Bautista lost control of his Suzuki machine after contact with Andrea Dovizioso, sending the former into the path of Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden and Randy de Puniet, taking all four men out.
The race then passed through a calm phase, with the battle for second between Spies, Pedrosa and Dovizioso the main highlight. Pedrosa slipped back when the rain moved in, leaving Spies and Dovizioso to fight for the place. The American ultimately jumped ahead, going on to set his sights on leader Stoner.
An incredible scrap then developed as the race drew to a close, with the pair swapping positions on what was becoming an increasingly challenging track surface. However, a well-timed exit from the last corner on the final lap saw Stoner overhaul his Yamaha rival and take the win, bringing his 2011 total to ten triumphs.
Behind the top two, Dovizioso rode well to hold onto third, while Britain’s Cal Crutchlow completed a fine afternoon to finish in a personal best fourth place. The Tech 3 rider stayed out of trouble all afternoon and had strong pace to back it up, as proven by his ability to hold of factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa in the closing stages.
Japan’s Katsuyuki Nakasuga completed the top six during his second race this year as a replacement for Jorge Lorenzo, with Josh Hayes a little further down the road. Karel Abraham was next up, while Loris Capirossi ended his MotoGP career in a respectable ninth place. Toni Elias completed the top ten.
The MotoGP field will be back in action next week to test 2012 machinery