The 2011 MotoGP season review

The 2011 MotoGP season review

The 2011 MotoGP season will be remembered for tragedy, turbulence and dominance by Casey Stoner and Honda. Simon Strang looks back over the themes of an incredible year

These are extraordinary times. The safe little bubble that motorsport normally provides from the fear, catastrophe and economic hardship of a post 9/11 world has often been a haven you could confidently run to at weekends. But the 2011 MotoGP season ransacked that fantasy as the lines between sport and the real world too often blurred unrecognisably.

First there was the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit north-east Japan on March 11 that could not have failed to have affected a paddock made up of two-thirds Japanese machinery. Then there were the dwindling grids (just 14 bikes started at Phillip Island) and financial hardships that nourished the season-long wrangling between the manufacturers, the FIM and the sport's rights holder Dorna and made all the more necessary the introduction of the Claiming Rule Teams regulations (more of which later) and 1000cc engines that will change the sport in 2012.

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