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Stoner Czechs out at Brno, Simoncelli podium
14 August 2011
MotoGP title leader Casey Stoner cruised to a dominant victory in Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix, which saw Dani Pedrosa crash from the lead, Marco Simoncelli claim a first ever podium and Jorge Lorenzo fade to fourth.
Unlike his rivals, world champion Lorenzo chose the soften option front tyre - which helped the Yamaha rider take the lead ahead of Repsol Honda riders Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Stoner on the opening lap.
But by lap three Lorenzo was starting to have front-end moments, which allowed both Pedrosa and Stoner back past. Moments later poel-sitter Pedrosa lowsided out of the lead, handing the advantage to Stoner.
The Australian then rode steadily into the distance, building an advantage of over eight-seconds on his way to his sixth win of the year - extending his title lead over Lorenzo from 20 to32 points.
Despite a stubborn resistance, world champion Lorenzo was caught and passed by Italians Dovizioso and Simoncelli, with Dovizioso gaining breathing room over his compatriot in the closing stages.
Former 250cc world champion Simoncelli, who has crashed in five races this year and been penalised in another, finally claimed his debut MotoGP rostrum after withstanding late-race pressure from Lorenzo.
Ben Spies - struggling with a pinched nerve in his neck this weekend - brought the second factory M1 home in fifth, 1.6sec from Lorenzo.
Valentino Rossi lost places from his best Ducati qualifying of sixth, but - aided by Pedrosa's exit - recovered the ground lost and crossed the line 2.4sec from Yamaha replacement Spies and 12.6sec from victory.
Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista - the only rider other than Lorenzo to choose the soft front - pressured Rossi for much of the race, before lowsiding from seventh place with six laps to go.
That allowed Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden to inherit the position, having spent much of the race just ahead of fellow American Colin Edwards.
Edwards' Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Cal Crutchlow joined Pedrosa and Bautista on the DNF list, as did fellow rookie Karel Abraham.
Abraham, whose father and team manager owns the Brno team, was unable to finish his home race after an off-track moment was followed by an engine failure.
Bautista's wild-card team-mate John Hopkins was forced to withdraw from the event after fracturing fingers in his right hand during Saturday morning practice.
A test session will be held at the circuit on Monday, which will feature next year's 1000cc bikes from Honda and Yamaha.
Czech Republic Grand Prix:
12. de Puniet
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