|Dani Pedrosa emerged victorious from a three-man race-long battle for first place at the eni Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, with Jorge Lorenzo wrestling second from Casey Stoner on the final corner of a thrilling Round 9 race.|
Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa had his usual great start, taking the hole shot ahead of Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Stoner (Repsol Honda) when the lights went out for a race which was to be a 30-lap fight to the finish at Sachsenring. The Spaniard’s win is his fifth Grand Prix victory at the Sachsenring circuit, and came in only his second race after returning from a three-race absence through injury.
At the end of lap one, Lorenzo was in the lead ahead of the three Repsol Hondas of Pedrosa, Stoner and Dovizioso, who fought amongst each other for second until the Australian made his attack on lap five to take the lead, only to have Lorenzo regain the lead status a few laps later. The Mallorcan then tried desperately to defend his line, until lap 21 when Pedrosa got a huge drive out of the last corner to launch himself into the lead for the last time.
Meanwhile a three-rider battle for fourth ensued behind the leaders between Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) and Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), out of which Italian Dovizioso crossed the line first, two-tenths of a second in front of American rider Spies and four-tenths ahead of fellow countryman Simoncelli.
Another intense fight starred Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and the two Ducati Team riders Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi. Bautista crossed the line seventh with Hayden less than a tenth of a second behind the Spaniard and Rossi just six-thousands behind the American, with Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha Monster) following the trio in tenth.
Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) had an off-track excursion in the early stages of the race, but then staged a great comeback from the back of the pack to finish eleventh, in front of Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing). Stoner continues to top the Championship, and now has 168 points which leaves him 15 points ahead of defending World Champion Lorenzo.
|MotoGP Race – Rnd 7 – Assen||MotoGP Championship|
|1 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 41’12.482|
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 0’01.477
3 Casey Stoner Honda AUS 0’01.568
4 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0’10.513
5 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’10.719
6 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0’10.923
7 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 0’27.451
8 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’27.510
9 Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 0’27.576
10 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0’33.491
11 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0’38.944
12 Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 0’39.148
13 Randy De Puniet Ducati FRA 0’39.415
14 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 0’39.477
15 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 0’54.516
|1. Casey Stoner Honda AUS 168|
2. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 153
3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 132
4. Valentino Rossi Ducati ITA 98
5. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 94
6. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 85
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 85
8. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 60
9. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 59
10. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 57
11. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 49
12. Karel Abraham Ducati CZE 41
13. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 39
14. Toni Elias Honda ESP 35
15. Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 34
— Yamaha Report
The Grand Prix of Germany provided some of the most exciting racing yet this season as Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies kept it to the last corner to deliver second and fifth places respectively.
Mugello race winner Lorenzo spent the entire 30 lap race distance embroiled in a battle at the front with Championship leader Casey Stoner and fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa. Having retained second off the grid, the Yamaha Factory rider passed Stoner with 17 laps to go. As the laps counted down Lorenzo conceded first to Pedrosa then second to Stoner before coming back with a stunning pass on the last corner of the last lap to steal second place back at the line.
Spies dropped one place to sixth off the start line, the Texan battling with a lack of grip that prevented him from closing down the front group early on. A consistent pace for the majority of the race saw a lonely ride holding position until his patience paid off as Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso were gradually reeled in. The fighting of the two in front made it difficult to make a pass on the twisty track. Spies held off until the last corner on the last lap to pass Simoncelli for fifth, echoing his team mate’s pass on Stoner just seconds earlier at the same spot.
Denying Stoner second place means Lorenzo has now taken a step to close the Championship lead down, trailing by just 15 points with a total of 153 as they head to Laguna Seca. Team mate Spies holds onto sixth position, now just 13 points behind Valentino Rossi in fourth.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time +1.477
“I’m very happy! It has been a fantastic race today. From the middle of the race I got very tired in my left hand so I didn’t know where I could find the force to push and keep pushing to the end. Then Casey stopped the bike a lot two corners from the end so I took profit from it, opened full throttle and in the last corner I went for it. It was a miracle pass! This race is very important so we are very proud and happy with the result. I have to thank my Yamaha crew who worked very hard to give me a fast bike all weekend, they have been fantastic.”
Ben Spies / Position 5th – Time +10.719
“Unfortunately I got to the front group a little too late but I tried as hard as I could. I just lacked some rear grip in the beginning, I tried to be consistent and hope they came back to me because I couldn’t run the pace they were running in the beginning. Lap time wise it was probably the most consistent I’ve ever done in a race. We caught up to them with three laps to go and then all hell broke loose. Simoncelli started trying to find a way past Dovizioso and every time I tried to look to go past one of them was on one side of the track and the other on the other side. It was fair play, they were racing each other but it kind of messed up my game plan! Simoncelli ran wide at the end so I got him again in the last corner. I wish we could have got Dovizioso because we had the pace, we just ran out of laps.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A great result, of course we would have liked to win it but it was clear that Dani had a little bit extra, he’s very good at this track and was also strong last year. To make up four championship points in the last corner at the end of the race is of course great, especially mentally for Jorge. The rest of the season is coming up and we’re closing the gap with still a few races to go!”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“A good weekend for us, we are catching Stoner. I think Jorge did a really great job and a very impressive last lap. He saw a door almost open and he just went in and took the place cleanly, a perfect job. Ben had a big lack of grip but he was really consistent; he did almost all the race at the same pace. I don’t think he could have found an additional tenth of a second. Fifth place is not so bad looking at the pace and I think he could have finished fourth with a couple more laps. We are looking to Laguna Seca now, and I am confident we can make another step forward.”
Edwards and Crutchlow collect valuable points in Germany
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow collected valuable points after both were engaged in exciting battles throughout today’s German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring.
Edwards delivered a determined ride throughout the 30-lap encounter, the American shrugging off the lingering affects of a nasty sore throat to finish in a hard fought 10th place.
Edwards was locked in a captivating four-rider battle for seventh that included Alvaro Bautista, Valentino Rossi and compatriot Nicky Hayden, who are all riding full factory machinery.
But with four laps remaining he had to abandon his pursuit of the trio in front when he enco untered a rear grip problem in the left-hand corners. Edwards though was still satisfied having set a personal best race time at the Sachsenring, which has traditionally been a bogey track for the 37-year-old. He is now confident and looking forward to competing for a top six finish in his crucial home round at the Laguna Seca in California next weekend.
Crutchlow meanwhile rode with typical aggression and he produced a fantastic ride under intense pressure to keep Randy de Puniet, Hector Barbera and fellow MotoGP rookie Karel Abraham at bay in 11th position.
Battling a lack of front-end feel that Crutchlow had worked tirelessly to improve over the course of the weekend, the British rider was unable to keep his line entering Turn 3 on lap 26 and he dropped back to 14th place. The 25-year-old quickly got back into his rhythm, but despite launching a concerted effort to reclaim the lost places, he finished less th an 0.5s away from 11th.
Colin Edwards / Position 10th – Time +33.491
“That was a difficult race because it was one of those where you can see a few places up for grabs in front of you but you can’t do anything to try move forward. I was with Valentino, Nicky and Alvaro for pretty much the whole race but it didn’t matter what I did or tried, I couldn’t get close enough to try and pass them. One tenth round this track feels like a million because it is so short but it felt like I was on a bungee rope the whole time. Each time we started going through the series of lefts from Turn 4 onwards, they just seem to have more traction than me. They’d pull a few bike lengths on me but then I’d gain it all back in the hard braking for Turn 12 at the bottom of the hill and hard braking for the last corner. My bike was really stable on the brakes but the bike lengths I’d c atch up I’d lose again on the next lap and the process would start all over again. With a few laps to go I was in Turn 2, off throttle and the rear came round. From that point on I had less grip and a bit of vibration and I couldn’t stay with them and I was making more mistakes trying to keep their pace. So I just took 10th place, which is not where I want to finish, but I’ve never gone great at this track and I’ve gone faster than I’ve ever run here. Usually it’s a disaster here, so I’m actually happy with my race and going to Laguna Seca now to race in front of my home fans, I feel really good and confident.”
Cal Crutchlow / Position 14th – Time +39.477
“Obviously I can’t be happy to have finished 14th because I believe I should be fighting inside the top ten. But taking the positives out of a difficult race, I was able to fight for the whole race with riders that are a lot more experienced than me, and who have much more knowledge of this track. I really wanted to finish 11th but when I ran wide with a few laps remaining, it was always going to be an uphill battle to get back three places on a track like this that is tight and twisty. But I didn’t give up and I pushed as hard as I could right to the end and nearly recovered a couple of places. I just didn’t have enough grip from the front or the rear and it was difficult. I didn’t feel I could push any harder and it strange because we made a lot of big changes to the bike this weekend without ever really finding an improvement. We’ve learned a few things that will help in the future and now I’m looking forward to getting to Laguna Seca where I’ll be aiming to get back inside the top ten.”
Hervé Poncharal / Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“The feeling is better than the result looks because Colin had a strong race. He had a good start and he rode most of the race together with the factory Ducati and factory Suzuki. The pace was good and I think there was not a lot more we could do. This is a tough track for Colin but his pace was pretty strong and consistent and I am happy. Cal finished 14th and he is not happy with that. I think he has learned a lot today and after a tough period it means something to finally see the chequered flag. I don’t want to say that we are happy to finish 14th, but I think together with Randy and the other Ducatis he has been learning a few things. Cal has done some really good performances in the beginning of the season, but we should never forget that it is a learning year and he has to understand that if he has to finish 14th like today, it is all about learning from that experience. The target we are working on this season is that he becomes a better MotoGP rider, even if sometimes he doesn’t get the result he expects. Now we can focus on L aguna Seca, which is a massive race for Colin and Monster, so everybody at Tech 3 Yamaha will be giving maximum effort as usual to deliver a top result in America.”
— HRC Report
Just two weeks after returning from injury, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) was back on the top step of the podium at the Sachsenring today after a thrilling race-long battle with reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) and current points leader Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V).
The trio dominated the race, all of them taking their turn to lead, but in the end it was Pedrosa who had winning speed, the Spaniard crossing the finish line 1.477s ahead of Lorenzo. It was a heroic weekend’s work from the former 125 and 250 World Champion who had missed the Catalan, British and Dutch rounds with a fractured collarbone that required two operations.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) continued his strong run of results, running with the leaders in the first half of the race and taking fourth place after a frantic battle with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) who was beaten into sixth by Ben Spies (Yamaha) at the final turn.
Stoner started the race from pole position, but played it safe in the very early stages, slipping to fourth on the first lap. Anxious to prevent his tyres from overheating – this anti-clockwise circuit places huge stresses on the left side of the tyres – Stoner was planning to save his best for last. He started moving forward on lap four, passing Pedrosa, then the next lap bettering Dovizioso and Lorenzo to take the lead, but he couldn’t break away.
Lap after lap, Lorenzo stayed close, with Pedrosa, Dovizioso and Simoncelli swapping positions right behind. Then on lap 14 Lorenzo dived inside Stoner at turn 12. The Yamaha man managed to pull a gap of six tenths in a couple of laps, Stoner apparently struggling as his RCV got lively in some of the circuit’s fast, undulating turns. Sure enough, on lap 16 Pedrosa went past his team-mate at turn one and set off in pursuit of Lorenzo. It took him just five laps to catch his fellow Spaniard, zooming ahead on the start-finish at the start of lap 22 after Lorenzo lost drive out of the final turn.
Pedrosa was in sensational form, quickly making the break, leaving the other two to dispute second place. Not surprisingly, Pedrosa was exhausted in the final stages, but the remarkably resilient 25-year-old didn’t slacken. Only after the race did he reveal that he has been suffering from anaemia, probably the result of going under the knife twice in recent weeks. This was his second win of the year and his fifth at the Sachsenring – three on MotoGP bikes and two on 250s.
Stoner’s hopes of keeping his tyres from getting too hot came to nothing. In the final lap it was obvious that he was lacking grip in left-handers, which allowed Lorenzo to close right up on him halfway through the lap then dive inside at the final corner. That pass cost Stoner four points and shrank his World Championship lead to 15 points, with nine races done and nine to go.
The Dovizioso v Simoncelli also duel went all the way to the flag, Spies joining the two Italians in the final two laps and splitting them at the finish. Dovizioso’s fourth place – 10.5s down on the winner – means he hasn’t finished outside the top four in the last seven races. His consistency is paying dividends in the title hunt – he is currently a very strong third, 21 points behind Lorenzo and 36 behind Stoner.
Simoncelli was disappointed to have lost out to Dovizioso and Spies, but nevertheless it was another strong finish for the former 250 World Champion who has managed to avoid making major mistakes at the last two races.
Still suffering from his nasty crash at Mugello, Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) struggled all weekend here, crossing the line in 15th position to claim the final point. Toni Elias (LCR Honda MotoGP RC212V) had another challenging race and finished 16th.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): race winner “It’s an incredible feeling to be back and win a race so early; I didn’t expect it, but this circuit has been always very good for me and I made it happen. I was already surprised yesterday with second position in qualifying and to finish the weekend in this way is amazing, a huge relief for me after a very hard time with injuries. Here I suffered less than in Mugello because of the layout, but in the race today I had a strange feeling, something I’ve never had before. At the beginning of the race I wasn’t feeling great on the bike, I was fourth, but I didn’t get nervous or worried because I’m still not mathematically out of the championship battle, but I know it’s almost impossible. So, I just let the laps pass and in the middle of the race, with less fuel in the tank and when the tyres started sliding, I decided to step it up a little and it worked perfectly. I’m very happy with this victory; I’ve been suffering a lot even though this race track is not physically demanding, because I’m still weak. So a big thanks to my family and doctors that helped me to be back here because they all know how hard it has been. Also to my team and to all my fans that never gave up, they deserve it also.”
Casey Stoner, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“We knew today would be a hard race, we found a good set up yesterday in qualifying but we had an issue with the rear tyre and the temperatures getting too high, with it spinning too much. We took it easy in the early part of the race and thought we’d try to preserve the tyre and warm it up slower than we did in Mugello. After a few laps I decided to make a move to the front to see what we could do and we were able to pull a small advantage, but too small compared to the effort we were putting in so I backed off on my pace a little and tried to stay as smooth as possible and see what happens. They came past me and Dani was riding so strong and was able to get past Jorge before I got there, he built a small advantage and by the time I got past Jorge and I struggled to chase him down. I made a few small mistakes and that left just Jorge and I for the last few laps. I tried everything I could, riding the cleanest lap possible and trying to block my line, but Jorge came up on the dirty part of the track and I thought it would be too high a risk, but he made it stick and I have to settle for third place. I’m still leading the Championship and I’m thankful for the points here today.”
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 4th
“It was a tough race because this circuit is small and difficult. Our target was the podium so I’m a little disappointed with fourth position, but if we look at today’s race in a bigger perspective, we took a big step forward in terms of race pace compared to my previous records at this circuit. We had a good start and tried to stay with the front riders. It was a good battle with Simoncelli and Spies for fourth position and I’m happy we won this battle! We were consistently fast during the whole weekend and even though today we were struggling, we finished fourth. We confirm that we are there and we have retained third position in the Championship, even if we aimed to gain more points on Lorenzo and Casey. My congratulations go to Dani, Casey and Jorge for a great race.”
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th “It’s a shame because fourth place would have felt completely different. I was faster than Dovizioso for the first half of the race and maybe I took too long to pass him, losing contact with the leaders in the process. We passed each other a few times and then the tyre wear was so bad on the left side I was really struggling and it was hard to control the bike. I tried everything I could on the last lap but it wasn’t enough and Spies also came through. It is a shame but this was still a good race for us because we were close to the front and if we can just find another couple of tenths in race trim we’ll be fighting for wins.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th “It wasn’t an easy race, especially the first half, but I tried to finish it in the best possible way. Unfortunately my physical condition has been a problem all weekend and I have not found it easy. I have tried to get more confident with the bike from session to session but it has been hard. I am sorry for the team and I hope to be in better shape for the next race at Laguna Seca.”
Toni Elias, LCR Honda MotoGP: 16th
“Yesterday we thought we made a good step forward and I was hoping for a better result. But at the beginning of the race with the full load of fuel when the bike was heavier I struggled very much to control it. Suddenly our usual problems came back again and I started to lose the front in braking and had no confidence in the rear. I managed to cross the line in 15th position but obviously I am very frustrated. By the way, I do not want to lose my motivation and my concentration and we’ll see what is going to happen in Laguna.”
— Suzuki Report
Álvaro Bautista gave Rizla Suzuki its best dry result of the season so far with a gutsy and battling performance in Germany today.
Starting from 10th on the grid, Bautista knew a good start was required and by the end of the first lap he had moved up into ninth place. Over the next two laps he became involved in what turned out to be a race-long battle with the Ducati’s of firstly Nicky Hayden and then also Valentino Rossi. The trio swapped places many times over the remainder of the race, but Bautista saved his best till last. He produced his quickest lap of the race on the penultimate lap and then badgered and passed both Rossi and then Hayden on the final corner to take a well deserved, but hard-fought seventh.
Bautista chose the softer option of the Bridgestone race tyres today as the track temperatures and overcast, but humid conditions gave him the confidence to use the softer rubber. The 101,309 spectators at trackside were not only treated to the three way battle involving Bautista, but the action at the front was equally as hot, with Dani Pedrosa eventually coming out on top from World Champion Jorge Lorenzo in second, with current championship leader Casey Stoner third.
Rizla Suzuki now heads straight to the United States of America for the next round on the calendar, which is scheduled for Sunday 24th July at the Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
Álvaro Bautista: “I am happy with today’s result because it was a fun race and I am quite pleased with where we finished. At the beginning I had to try and get a good start, because in the first corner you have to be very careful with other riders. I got a decent start and was in a good position just behind the top riders, but I was a bit too far away from them, and my rhythm wasn’t quite as quick, so I couldn’t quite stay with them. I got involved with the two Ducati guys and really enjoyed the race with them. At the end it was very difficult to overtake Valentino and Nicky because they brake very hard and very late, making it tough to get past. On the last lap I overtook Valentino at the end of the main straight. I then followed Nicky and waited for the last two corners because I knew I had an opportunity there to get him. I had to brake with everything I had to get past him on corner 12, but I ran a bit wide and lost some speed, Nicky overtook me on the last corner, but he entered too quickly and he went out, so I got past him on the exit of the corner. I am very happy that we are the first finisher after the top six because they are on a different level at the moment. For the next race I hope to continue with this way of working and get closer to the top.”
Paul Denning – Team Manager: “I think we showed this weekend at Sachsenring – a track that has traditionally been very tough for Suzuki – that both the GSV-R and the rider have made good steps in 2011 – despite the bad luck and huge injury at the start of the season. The high-speed crash that Álvaro suffered at the end of warm-up this morning was not ideal race preparation and it might have had a small effect on his ultimate pace, but nonetheless he dug deep and a rode a very entertaining and aggressive 30-laps. Maybe with a better qualifying position – which we have to keep working on – or with a luckier first couple of laps, he might have been able to tow along on the back of the fastest riders. We won’t know if that could have been the case until we get the opportunity again at Laguna Seca next week. It was an incredibly competitive race today, all the top riders finished and we were beaten by only the four Factory Hondas and the two Factory Yamahas – this weekend has definitely been a step in the right direction.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Hard, Extra Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa took a close-fought victory in Germany today from second grid, setting a new lap record and a new total race time record to open an eventual winning margin of 1.477seconds.
For much of the race though no rider led by more than one second, the top spot changing hands between Casey Stoner who crossed the line in third and Jorge Lorenzo who passed Stoner into the last corner on the final lap. The laptimes throughout were remarkably consistent as the top three set mid-to-low 1m 22s for the entire race.
Despite the cloud cover and a slightly reduced track temperature, all the front-runners used Bridgestone’s extra hard compound front tyres and harder option rears. Despite being one step softer in Germany this year, race-distance durability of the rear slicks was very good. Pedrosa’s lap record came at two third race distance on lap 20, though he also set a provisional record on lap 9, and the total race time was over 9seconds faster than the previous benchmark.
Further back the battles raged just as closely around the undulating 3.6km Sachsenring circuit. Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli hotly contested fourth position, all using the harder tyre options, whereas Álvaro Bautista used the softer option front and rear slicks to finish seventh, taking the chequered flag just ahead of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“Congratulations to Dani and the Repsol Honda Team for a fantastic win here today in just his second race back from injury. This is clearly a circuit he likes as last year he also set a lap record on his way to victory. That was a very exciting race with so many close battles throughout the field and these are exactly the sorts of races we like to see and that are good for the spectacle of the sport and for the 101,309 fans that attended today which is a fantastic number. Sachsenring is a short circuit so hopefully we’ll have another exciting race like this one at Laguna Seca!”
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
“I am pleased with tyre performance today as both specs showed good warm-up performance, outright grip and race-distance durability. I am also satisfied with our revised softer rear tyre compound selection for this race as we saw a good mix of both the harder and softer options, meaning that both were suitable. A new lap record by Dani is a good measure of tyre performance, especially on lap 20 of the race, whilst we can see from the consistency of the laptimes at the front and the new total race time record that durability was also good.”
Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
“This is an unbelievable feeling. To come back so soon and win so soon is unbelievable and I’m very happy. Even with the front row yesterday I was so happy, but I didn’t expect this. I wasn’t feeling perfect with the bike but as the race went on I was feeling better and had a better rhythm. I knew I would suffer less here than Mugello because it’s more lefts but still I was suffering a lot physically by the end. I’m really satisfied with the victory and I want to thank everyone who’s been with me during this hard time.”