The Repsol Honda Team pair of Dani Pedrosa and Stoner nalmost came to grief at the start of the Portuguese MotoGP as the pair touched fairings going into turn one. Stoner took the lead into turn two. but the mistake allowedFactory Yamaha Team’s Jorge Lorenzo move into second to chase after the Australian.
Lorenzo’s teammate Spies, who had been in fourth, ran wide early on to drop back down the order into seventh, with Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi on his tail. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso pushed past his teammate Cal Crutchlow to go into fourth place behind Pedrosa.
With 21 laps to go, Lorenzo and Pedrosa were chipping away at Stoner’s lead, as they closed the gap to just under one second. On the same lap, Crutchlow ran wide in the first turn whilst trying to outbreak his Italian teammate, yet managed to retain his position, as the pair continued their lonely battle for fourth.
Speed Master’s CRT entry Mattia Pasini crashed out with 16 laps to go as he lost the front of his ART machine, while on the same lap Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva retired after suffering too much pain from his warm-up crash.
At the halfway point of the race, Lorenzo had closed in on Stoner, while Spies made it past LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl to take eighth. Meanwhile Avintia Blusens’ second rider Yonny Hernandez crashed out with 11 laps to go, though the rider walked away unscathed.
Paul Bird Motorsport’s difficult start to the season continued, as James Ellison pulled into the pits with nine laps to go with a mechanical problem on his ART bike. Cardion AB Racing´s Karel Abraham suffered a crash five laps from the end, making this the third Grand Prix in succession he has not been able to finish.
With the battle between the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair hotting up towards the end, Crutchlow was desperate to get past the Italian, but once again forced his bike off track as he struggled with rear tyre grip. Further down the field, Bradl had re-taken Spies for eighth, though the American soon fought back.
Three laps before the end, just as Lorenzo seemed to be catching Stoner, the Australian put the hammer down to open the gap to more than a second once more. At the end it was Stoner who took the checker flag in front of Lorenzo and his Repsol teammate Pedrosa. Stoner has now won a race at every single track on the MotoGP calendar in the premier-class.
Andrea Dovizioso held off the late charge from Crutchlow to take fourth, finishing in front of his teammate for the first time this season. San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista put in a solid performance as he held sixth position from start to finish, in what was a lonely race for the Spaniard. Valentino Rossi claimed his best finish of the season in seventh, beating Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who did not manage to recover from a difficult start to the race. LCR’s Stefan Bradl finished in ninth, whilst Pramac Racing’s Héctor Barberá rounded out the top ten. Power Electronics Aspar’s Espargaró took top CRT spot for a second race in succession. The MotoGP grid will be out on track at Estoril Monday morning at 10am local time for the first in-season test of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.