What if I told you there was a racer who won an AMA national road race championship and was a factory Yamaha rider who you’d probably never heard of? Does Chris Steward ring a bell? Read more about him in this week’s Cycle News Archives. Click here.
by Tracy Hagen
Defending champion Casey Stoner fought off a determined Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa to win the Portugese Grand Prix on Sunday, round 3 of the MotoGP world championship. The scrappy Australian’s margin of victory was 1.421 seconds and his victory, a week after his triumph at Jerez, lifted him to the top of the championship points table at 66, one more than Lorenzo. Pedrosa stands third at 52.
Despite the complete absence of overtaking moves between the top three, the race was nevertheless dramatic. After five laps in the 28 lap race Stoner’s Honda was 1.2 seconds ahead of Lorenzo’s Yamaha, with Pedrosa’s Honda another half-second behind. By mid-race less than a second covered the top three with Lorenzo close enough to lunge for the lead. Over the second-half of the race Lorenzo’s and Pedrosa’s lap times slowly increased while Stoner stayed consistent. Yet over the course of a lap the interval time was like a yo-yo: Stoner would stretch it out down Estoril’s lengthy front straight and Lorenzo would reel it back in, corner by corner.
The race had several good match-ups, starting with the battle over fourth by the Tech 3 Yamaha pair of Andrea Dovisioso and Cal Crutchlow. These two went at it hard again, with the Italian edging out the Brit for the first time this year. If this keeps up over the coming races the two probably won’t be on speaking terms anymore.
Sixth place went to Alvaro Bautista. The Spaniard could do nothing but watch the black Yamahas in front of him slowly pull away.
Ducati’s Valentino Rossi finished a lonely seventh, a vast improvement from the first two races. Yet the Italian great was almost a second a lap slower than Stoner. “I managed to have some fun,” was the Rossi quote offered in the press release while team manager Vittoriano Guareschi said, “I think this is a good starting point.” The opera buffa continues.
After Bautista and Rossi came the match-up of Ben Spies and Stefan Bradl. When Spies put in an error-free lap he was on pace with the Monster Yamahas in fourth and fifth, but the Texan had plenty of messy laps and found himself going back and forth with the German, eventually finishing an embarrassing eighth. Some racers make themselves look good, and some make others look good. Thus far in 2012, Spies is in the latter.
Hector Barbera rounded out the top 10, fifteen seconds behind Bradl’s Honda and all alone.
Nicky Hayden was the last of the prototypes in eleventh. The chronic case of confusion in the factory Ducati team claimed the ECU of Hayden’s GP12, causing the engine to cut power on the straights and give it all back in the corners. “Crap race,” tweeted Hayden. “Bike thought it was on a different part of the track than it really was so the electronics worked in all the wrong places.”
The last good match-up was for CRT honors between the Aprilias of Aliex Espargaro and Randy De Puniet both with the Power Electronics team. De Puniet ran down Espargaro and made the pass on lap 23. Three laps later Esparagaro took the position back and held off the Frenchman to the finish.
Next race: Le Mans, May 20.
Irvine, Calif. (May 7, 2012) – Monster Energy Kawasaki enters the 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship as the reigning championship team. In defending champion Ryan Villopoto’s absence, Tyla Rattray will compete along side Jake Weimer in the 450cc class aboard a Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™450F. Rattray, a former World Champion, finished second overall in the 250cc Motocross Championship last summer and finished second overall in the MX1 classification at the 2011 FIM Motocross of Nations.
“We are excited to welcome Tyla to the team,” said Reid Nordin, Monster Energy Kawasaki Senior Manager. “He has proven to be a contender for a national championship each and every year, and we are confident he can put Kawasaki up front this summer.”
Rattray has spent the last two weeks preparing for the outdoor season and is excited about the opportunity to race for Monster Energy Kawasaki on the championship proven KX450F.
“I’m pumped to race the 450cc class with Monster Energy Kawasaki,” said Rattray. “I know both the team, and the bike can win championships. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone allowing me to have this opportunity.”
The 2012 AMA Pro Motocross Championship kicks off with the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, Calif., May 19th, 2012.
Nancy Dewar corners her Honda RS125 in a WERA sprint race at Putnam Park Road Course in July of 1993. Dewar was a rapidly improving road racer in ’93. In May of that year she came to Putnam and scored a best of fourth-place. Two months later she won two races. The last I heard Dewar was still racing motorcycles in recent years, but had switched to off-road events. During the early 1990s Dewar dated Canada’s version of Johnny Knoxville, a guy named Ralph Zavadil, who did crazy stunts on a local TV shows years before the Jackass phenomenon. A couple of years ago a movie was made about Zavadil and in the movie’s trailer there is a brief scene of Dewar racing.
Greg Hancock is targeting a spot in the FIM Monster Energy Speedway World Cup Race-Off after leading the United States to a famous victory in their qualifying round at Slovenian track Ljubljana on Saturday. The world champion bagged four points as the men in the Stars and Stripes scored 44 points to see off hosts Slovenia, who finished on 40, the Ukraine (24) and Italy (20). Read more.