by Tracy Hagen
A resurgent Dani Pedrosa rode his Repsol Honda to a convincing win in the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Sunday. The win was the Spaniard’s second of the year and reduced the championship points gap to Jorge Lorenzo from 23 to 18 with seven races left to run.
Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo finished second, 10.823 seconds behind. The 2010 world champion popped a wheelie at the start and was never near the front for the duration of the race.
Finished third for the fifth time this year was Monster Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian rode a solid race and came out on top of the Honda’s of Casey Stoner, Alvaro Bautista, and Stefan Bradl.
Stoner’s fourth place deserved applause after an ugly crash on Saturday that placed the Australian in the hospital with torn ligaments in his right ankle. The Australian left Indianapolis 39 points behind Lorenzo but determined to finish his final season in MotoGP on a high.
Valentino Rossi finished seventh on the factory Ducati, 27 seconds behind Bradl. It was the Italian superstar’s first race after announcing he was leaving Ducati for Yamaha, as well as his worst race of 2012 in terms of distance back from the winner.
Indianapolis proved to be cruel to the Americans. Ducati’s Nicky Hayden high-sided in qualifyin, cracked two bones in his hand, and opted to sit out the race. Colin Edwards battled Ivan Silva in the CRT race but slowed on the final lap to finish thirteenth. Steve Rapp finished fifteenth and earned two championship points to go with the kick from Jorge Lorenzo for staying on the racing line too long. Aaron Yates MotoGP debut ended in sixteenth place and thee minutes behind Pedorsa.
But the cruelest blow of all was to the hapless factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies. The Texan got a tearaway start from the second row and surged to the lead by Turn 2. Pedrosa passed Spies briefly at the start of lap 3, but Spies re-passed and held the lead. Pedrosa’s identical attack on the following lap held but Spies stayed in touch. Then, just as Spies was crossing the bricks to start lap 6, the engine belched a great white plume of smoke. Fortunately no one crashed though the on-board videos from the bikes that followed evidenced that riders were going 200 mph blind. Yikes.
Next race: Brno, August 26.