The 2012 MotoGP World Championship stops in Barcelona this weekend for the fifth round on the calendar.
Catalunya circuit is a place full of fond memories for both Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa. Casey recorded the best ever lap at this track (pole position in 2008 with 1’41.186) and Dani has the circuit record (1’42.358, the fastest lap in 2008 on his way to victory).
In the last five years, Casey has never missed the podium at Catalunya. The Australian champion, currently second in the championship eight points behind Lorenzo, will fight to close this gap in Montmeló, where last year he took a solid victory.
Dani knows how it feels to be on top at his home Grand Prix; he has won here in all classes and after missing the race last year due to injury, he is more motivated than ever. Dani wants to enjoy the race in front of his fans and reduce the gap in the championship standings as much as possible. He is third with 65 points, 25 behind the leader.
Dani Pedrosa, Motomondiale
Yesterday at the Grand Prix of France, Casey Stoner scored his fourth podium of the season and his 19th successive in MotoGP with team mate Dani Pedrosa in fourth at a cold and slippery Le Mans circuit that once again proved to be a real challenge for all the riders.
In the 28 lap race that started with rain and ended with a dry line, the Australian World Champion crossed the finish line in third place after a thrilling battle with Valentino Rossi, resulting in the Italian passing Casey on the last lap. Stoner is now second in the Championship standings, with 82 points, 8 behind Jorge Lorenzo.
Dani Pedrosa, starting from pole, missed the podium for the first time this season. He lost contact with the leading group in the first laps and riding alone for most of the race, he managed to remain focused and score important Championship points, where he maintains third position.
Dani Pedrosa, Motomondiale
Yesterday Casey today took his 42nd win in all classes in Grand Prix racing equaling the record of Max Biaggi and Tony Mang. After his win in Estoril, Casey has now won at every circuit on the current GP calendar.
This podium has also been very special for Dani because with this third place finish, he joins an elite club of riders with 100 career podiums to their name. Only six competitors have achieved the milestone before Pedrosa: Valentino Rossi (175 podiums), Giacomo Agostini (159), Ángel Nieto (139), Phil Read (121), Mike Hailwood (112) and Max Biaggi (111). In addition, at just 26 years of age he is the second youngest, after Rossi to reach this milestone.
Casey’s victory has given Honda it’s seventh win out of thirteen races in the premier class at the Estoril Circuit. The Australian rider attacked hard from the beginning, setting an incredible first lap of 1’42.369 which put a one second gap between him and Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. The current World Champion led every lap of the 28 lap race and maintained a high pace for the duration with Jorge and Dani also riding consistently in the 1’37′s.
The Repsol Honda riders have been on the podium, together with Lorenzo, in all three races held so far this season. Casey also takes the lead in the World Championship standings with 66 points, followed by Lorenzo with 65 and Dani in third with 52 points.
Read race results and discover the championship standings
This week the MotoGP family head to Estoril for the last time after visiting the circuit since 2000. The Grand Prix of Portugal is the third race of the season and the Repsol Honda Team arrives there only four days after celebrating the victory of Casey Stoner and the third position finish of Dani Pedrosa in Jerez.
Casey and Dani, second and third respectively in the MotoGP World Championship standings, will be aiming for another strong result at the Portuguese track, always a challenge for its combination of long corners and heavy braking and an unpredictable weather, even more this year with the powerful 1000cc machines.
Stoner, who took his first ever GP victory at Jerez last week, will try to do the same now in Estoril, the only track on the calendar where victory eludes him in the premier class.
Dani was the last winner here having won in 2011 and holds the circuit record from 2009 with a lap time of 1’36.937. He has achieved 4 podiums out of 6 races in MotoGP class in Portugal, while Casey won in 250cc (2005) and has 3 podiums finishes in MotoGP.
Casey Stoner took his first ever MotoGP victory at the Grand Prix of Spain and Dani Pedrosa, third on his 100th race in MotoGP, joined him on the podium at the Jerez circuit, where the Repsol Honda Team has celebrated the second consecutive double podium of the season.
The current World Champion had a difficult start but quickly recovered proving to have something extra in his pocket to fight for his first victory of the season after a superb race in front of a strong Lorenzo.
Dani Pedrosa had a perfect start again, but he got passed on the second lap and dropped to the fourth position. The Spaniard was quite cautious at the beginning and lost precious time that he was unable to regain in the second half of the race, when he started lapping faster than the leaders.
Dani recovered 3 seconds in the last 13 laps and held off the pressure from Cal Crutchlow to finish third and taste the podium at Jerez for the eighth successive year.