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Dani Pedrosa dominated the Indianapolis Grand Prix to take his second victory of the season, a much needed boost to his championship hopes this year. Jorge Lorenzo took a solid second place, while Andrea Dovizioso continued his increasingly regular visits to the podium with a creditable third.
The starting grid did not feature Ducati home rider Nicky Hayden, who was declared unfit to race following his qualifying crash. The 'Kentucky Kid' sustained two minor fractures to the metacarpals of his right hand in a highside at Turn 14 on Saturday. Champion Casey Stoner had a similarly vicious fall last afternoon, tests later in the day revealing a litany of injuries including torn ligaments, small fractures and a chipped bone at his right ankle. The Australian, though, heroically soldiered through the pain to take part in both the morning warmup and the race.
Pedrosa had a trademark quick start from pole, taking the holeshot at Turn 1. Yamaha rider Ben Spies, starting fourth, arguably had a better getaway, using his momentum to get past the Spaniard at the next corner. Lorenzo was sluggish off the blocks and was overtaken by Dovizioso who began third. Stoner lost two places to Honda satellite riders Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista at the start, dropping to eighth place.
The lead pair of Spies and Pedrosa began pulling out a gap to the rest of the field in the early laps, as riders battled behind them. The duo traded positions on lap 4, with Pedrosa eventually inching ahead. The contest was however not to last as Spies suffered a blown engine on the 6th lap, retiring from the race.
Lorenzo meanwhile got past Tech 3's Dovizioso on the second lap, and Spies' exit meant he could set his sights on the leader. The 2010 champion could pull away from the pack behind, which was held up by the Italian but never got close enough to trouble Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda rider expertly managed the gap to Lorenzo throughout the race, breaking the lap record on Lap 16 with a blistering 1'39.088 time. He had grown his advantage to over 10 seconds come the chequered flag.
Stoner had steadily managed to pick his way up the order to fourth place by lap 9, when he passed Dovizioso for third. He was unable to create a sizeable advantage over his former teammate during the consequent laps, his injuries perhaps showing later on as Dovizioso re-passed him on lap 21. The riders held those positions to the end, Stoner finishing 2.5s behind.
San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Bautista had a strong race to finish fifth, scrapping with Stoner and LCR Honda's Bradl in the midfield in the first half of the race. German Bradl ended the race in sixth position, followed by Valentino Rossi who had a lonely race on his off-colour Ducati. Czech Karel Abraham finished 8th on his satellite Ducati.
Yonni Hernandez was delighted with a 9th place finish, the Colombian heading the CRT riders for the first time this season. Another notable performance was put in by American wildcard rider Steve Rapp, scoring on his MotoGP debut with a 15th place finish.
Among the six retirements of the race was Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow, who capped a forgettable weekend with a crash on lap 9.
The win moves Dani Pedrosa to 207 points on the championship table, now just 18 behind Lorenzo who leads at 225. Stoner remains adrift in third on 186 points.
Marc Marquez took his fifth win of the year in Moto2 beating polesitter Pol Espargaro, while in Moto3, Luis Salom beat Sandro Cortese by the slimmest of margins to claim a maiden victory.
- 24/08/2012 22:44 - Stoner heads back to Australia for surgery
- 23/08/2012 13:53 - MotoGP: Hayden, Barbera to miss Czech GP after Indianapolis injuries, Stoner doubtful
- 23/08/2012 13:22 - MotoGP: Dovizioso to replace Rossi at Ducati