At the Grand Prix of Portugal of the 2012 season of MotoGP, Casey Stoner took his second successive victory of the season with team mate Dani Pedrosa again joining him on the podium with a third position.
Today 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 today, 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. Today, 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.
The team remain in Portugal for a one day test tomorrow in preparation for the next GP, at Le Mans in two weeks.
“In the end it was another fantastic weekend for us. This morning we were more confident but also a little concerned because yesterday afternoon when we had a very similar setting to FP3 the bike was a little bit worse in the warm conditions. In warm up we didn’t have a big problem with chatter but then for the race, under the warmer conditions, we struggled a lot more. This was very difficult to ride with, in the first part of the race I was confident and attacking the track but I closed the front twice due to the chatter. From this point I backed of a little, tried to stay smooth and just wanted to stay in front of Jorge and Dani, but Jorge was coming strong. I had to try and keep my pace and not make too many mistakes, I was changing the mapping to try and reduce the chatter problem. Towards the end of the race I began to understand how to ride around it, this made things smoother and I found some more pace and was able to bring it home for a great race win”.
“It’s been a really tough race from the beginning, the pace was very very high from the first lap to the final one. Casey did a good race, unbelievably strong. I had a big shake in the first braking area, Casey and Jorge overtook me and I lost 1.5 seconds on the first lap. During the race I had some issues in the middle of the corner, I was not fast with corner speed; each lap I tried to get a little better, to try and modify my riding style, the mapping, braking later, I tried everything, I managed to match the lap times but not to close the gap. Three races on the podium is very good overall, but in three races we missed something, so let’s try it again in the next one. To reach my 100th podium is amazing and shows how fast the time goes. I’m very happy for that and I want to thank all my teams and sponsors during this time and especially Honda because I’ve been with them for my whole career”.