In the premier MotoGP class, the championship battle revolved around Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo and Honda pairing Dani Pedrosa and defending champion Stoner. Lorenzo won four of the first six races to be held in the campaign to open up an advantage over Stoner, before he was taken out of the Dutch TT on the first lap by Álvaro Bautista; Stoner won the race to eradicate the points lead. In the next race, Stoner crashed out of the German Grand Prix on the final lap and allowed Pedrosa to take his first win of the season. Stoner struggled in the next few races – despite a victory at the United States Grand Prix – with his championship challenge ended by a qualifying crash at Indianapolis. After ankle surgery, he returned to the series and won his final race of his career at his home race, the Australian Grand Prix, for the sixth successive season. Pedrosa went on a run of five victories in six races, with the streak being interrupted by a first-lap crash at Misano, where he was taken out by Héctor Barberá. Lorenzo finished second to Pedrosa on each occasion that he had won, and he took advantage of Pedrosa's accident to win at Misano. Lorenzo ultimately won the title with a second-place finish to Stoner in Australia, after Pedrosa had crashed out of the lead early on.
In the other classes, Marc Márquez won the Moto2 championship title after a season-long battle with fellow Spanish rider Pol Espargaró; a third-place finish for Márquez at the Australian Grand Prix – despite a win for Espargaró – was enough to give him his second world title before moving into the premier class for the 2013 season. He took his last victory in the class at the Valencian Grand Prix, the last event of the season, despite starting from 33rd on the grid. This performance, which included overtaking 20 bikes on the first lap alone, meant the biggest comeback in the sport's history. Márquez's result was enough to give Suter the constructors' title for the class. The inaugural Moto3 world championship title went to German rider Sandro Cortese, following his fourth victory of the season at the Malaysian Grand Prix, which gave him an unassailable points lead over his two title rivals Luis Salom and Maverick Viñales in the championship race. Cortese also became the first rider to win any Grand Prix title for the Austrian manufacturer KTM. KTM also won the constructors' championship at the Australian Grand Prix, doing so after Cortese won the race.
The MotoGP class saw the introduction of engines with 1,000 cc (61 cu in) in capacity, with a limit of 4 cylinders and a maximum 81 mm (3.2 in) cylinder bore.
The 2012 season also saw the introduction of four-stroke bikes in the new Moto3 class.
Claiming Rule Teams
In 2012 the MotoGP class saw the introduction of Claiming Rule Teams (CRT) to allow for participation by independent teams with lower budgets. CRTs were given twelve engines per rider, six more than the other teams and more fuel – 24 litres (5.3 imperial gallons) instead of 21 litres (4.6 imperial gallons) – but were subject to a factory team buying, or "claiming", their engines for €15,000, or €20,000 with the transmission. The sport's governing body received applications from sixteen new teams looking to join the MotoGP class.
^ abcdeBeer, Matt (16 June 2011). "Six Moto2 teams granted MotoGP entries". Autosport. Haymarket Publications. Retrieved 22 June 2011. Kiefer Racing, which currently leads the Moto2 standings with Stefan Bradl, BQR/Blusens, Forward Racing, Marc VDS Racing, Interwetten Paddock GP and the Speed Master team set up around Andrea Iannone this year will all have the opportunity to run one bike in MotoGP from next year under the less restricted 'Claiming Rule Teams' system being introduced as part of the switch from 800cc to 1000cc engines.
^ ab"Dovizioso denied 1000cc Honda test". crash.net. Crash Media Group. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011. During its official preview for this weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix, Honda stated that Pedrosa and Stoner – who already have a contract in place for 2012 – will be the only riders on the new bike at Brno.
^"Ant West replaces Damian Cudlin in Moto2". Speedcafe.com. Speedcafe. 31 March 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2012. Ant West is a late addition to the 2012 Moto2 World Championship field after completing a late deal to ride for the QMMF Racing Team [...] The 30-year-old Queenslander replaces countryman Damian Cudlin at QMMF, after Cudlin struggled to get a handle on the Moto2 bike during pre-season testing.
The 2012 Australian motorcycle Grand Prix was the seventeenth and penultimate round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 26–28 October 2012 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. Jorge Lorenzo secured his second MotoGP title in the penultamite round by finishing in second place after Dani Pedrosa's retirement. Casey Stoner took the last win of his career, and his sixth successive win at his home race in the second last race before he retired. Cal Crutchlow took the second podium of his career for Tech 3 Yamaha. Marc Márquez won the Moto2 title by finishing third in his race behind winner and championship rival Pol Espargaró and the second placed Anthony West (who would eventually be removed from the results in November 2013 promoting Marquez to 2nd place). This meant that all three riders' titles had been decided with winner of the Moto3 race Sandro Cortese having secured his title the previous round in Malaysia.
The 2012 British motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 15–17 June 2012 at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England. In qualifying for MotoGP, Álvaro Bautista took the first pole position of his career.
The 2012 Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix was the fifth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season and the 17th Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix. It took place on the weekend of 1–3 June 2012 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. The three classes of motorcycle racing which took place during the weekend were MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
Casey Stoner qualified on pole position in MotoGP, but it was his Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa, who started in fifth place that took the lead at the first corner. Ben Spies was in second place for the first three laps, but slid off the track when challenging for the lead. This allowed the other factory Yamaha rider and championship leader Jorge Lorenzo to move up into second place and engage in a race long battle for the win with Pedrosa. Meanwhile, Stoner was behind the Tech 3 Yamaha of Andrea Dovizioso, and was battling with the other of Cal Crutchlow. He eventually beat Crutchlow to take fourth place whilst Dovizioso took the first podium of the year for the Tech 3 Yamaha team. As a consequence of the race, Lorenzo increased his lead in the riders' standings to 20 points over Stoner. Pedrosa remained third in the standings, with 30 fewer points than Lorenzo.
In Moto2, Marc Márquez took his fourth consecutive pole position by beating championship leader and fellow Spaniard Pol Espargaró by two-tenths of a second. Thomas Lüthi completed the front row with Andrea Iannone in fourth place; it was these four riders who dominated the race, staying in close company for the majority of it too. Iannone led almost every lap to take the victory, but had to resist pressure in the closing laps to take his first win of the season. Lüthi finished second and Márquez finished third after winning an appeal against a one-minute penalty issued by the FIM for a collision between himself and Espargaró, which had resulted in retirement of the Kalex rider with three laps remaining. The result rearranged the order in the riders' standings with Lüthi now leading the way on 88 points with Márquez only 2 behind. Not far behind them were Espargaró and Iannone, still firmly in contention, on 71 and 70 points respectively, the reduced gap down to the Italian's victory.
The Moto3 race was not as close as the one in the other two categories as Maverick Viñales won his home race from pole position. It was his second victory of the season. Zulfahmi Khairuddin's first front-row for any Malaysian rider, second place, failed to translate into a great result and he finished down in eighth. It was a close eighth though, as he and the six riders in front of him had squabbled in close proximity for the majority of the race allowing Viñales to break away. Sandro Cortese and Miguel Oliveira emerged victorious in the tight battle to the line to take second and third place to complete the podium. Álex Márquez set the fastest lap of the race. As a consequence of the race, Cortese was still leading the riders' standings on 87 points but, with victory, Viñales was now just 7 points behind him. Luis Salom remained third in the standings, but was now on a fairly distant 55 points, 32 fewer than Cortese.
The 2012 Czech Republic motorcycle Grand Prix was the twelfth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 24–26 August 2012 at the Masaryk Circuit located in Brno.
The 2012 French motorcycle Grand Prix was the fourth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 18–20 May 2012 at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans, France. In a press conference on the Thursday before the race, Casey Stoner announced his retirement from the sport at the end of the season. He went on to finish third in the MotoGP race, handing the championship lead to Jorge Lorenzo, the race winner. Valentino Rossi took second place for his first podium since the previous year's race. Thomas Lüthi and Louis Rossi won the Moto2 and Moto3 races respectively. This was the 800th race to contribute to the Grand Prix motorcycle racing championship.
The 2012 Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix (formally the 2012 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix) was the eleventh round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It was held on 19 August 2012 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.
After being absent from the United States Grand Prix at Laguna Seca, the Moto2 and Moto3 classes returned to competition at Indianapolis.
The 2012 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix was the fifteenth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 12–14 October 2012 at the Twin Ring Motegi, located in Motegi, Japan.
The 2012 Malaysian motorcycle Grand Prix was the sixteenth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 19–21 October 2012 at the Sepang International Circuit. Sandro Cortese became the first Moto3 world champion.
The 2012 Portuguese motorcycle Grand Prix was the third round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 4–6 May 2012 at the Autódromo do Estoril located in Estoril, Portugal.
This is the last Portuguese motorcycle Grand Prix to date.
The 2012 Qatar motorcycle Grand Prix was the first round of the 2012 MotoGP season. It was held at the Losail International Circuit near Doha in Qatar on 8 April 2012. It was contested over twenty-two laps.
This race saw the début of the 1000cc engine motorcycles introduced in the MotoGP class for this season and also the début of the Honda RC213V, replacing the 800cc engines and the Honda RC212V that were used between 2007 and 2011, and also the début of the 125cc 2-stroke replacement class, Moto3, which are powered by 250cc (15.2 cu in) 4-stroke engines.
The 2012 San Marino and Rimini's Coast motorcycle Grand Prix was the thirteenth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 14–16 September 2012 at the Misano World Circuit.
The 2012 Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix was the second round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 27–29 April 2012 at the Circuito de Jerez, located in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Casey Stoner won the MotoGP race, while Pol Espargaró and Romano Fenati won the Moto2 and Moto3 races respectively.
The 2012 United States motorcycle Grand Prix (formally known as the 2012 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix) was the tenth round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season, and the first of two races in the 2012 season to take place in the United States of America. It was held on 29 July at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California.Jorge Lorenzo qualified on pole position for the race, which was won by Casey Stoner.
The 2012 Valencian Community motorcycle Grand Prix was the eighteenth and final round of the 2012 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season. It took place on the weekend of 9–11 November 2012 at the Circuito Ricardo Tormo.
The race was Casey Stoner's last before his retirement from the sport, and he finished it on the podium in third position. Dani Pedrosa won the race for Honda and ensure the season ended with 18 points between himself and new champion Jorge Lorenzo, who retired from the race, at the top of the riders' standings. The result meant that Pedrosa had won 6 of the last 8 races, and that Lorenzo maintained his record of finishing first or second in every race he finished in 2012. Katsuyuki Nakasuga made just his second appearance in 2012 in place of the injured Ben Spies at Yamaha, and took advantage of the wet conditions to finish in second place (the only podium for a Japanese rider in any class in 2012).
Marc Márquez won the Moto2 race, despite starting from 33rd on the grid, although he had moved up to 13th within the first three corners. It was Márquez's last Moto2 race, as he would replace Stoner at the Honda team for the 2013 season. Polesitter Pol Espargaró secured second in the championship behind Márquez by finishing in eighth. Julián Simón and Nicolás Terol (who took his first Moto2 podium) completed an all Spanish podium. Danny Kent took his second victory of the Moto3 season in front of champion Sandro Cortese and Zulfahmi Khairuddin to complete an all KTM podium.
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