Australian GP: Repsol Honda race report

Brilliant Podium Repsol Honda RC212V rider Nicky Hayden rode to a brilliant podium finish at cool and sunny Phillip Island today, the result moving him up two places in the World Championship points standings to sixth overall with two ...

Brilliant Podium

Repsol Honda RC212V rider Nicky Hayden rode to a brilliant podium finish at cool and sunny Phillip Island today, the result moving him up two places in the World Championship points standings to sixth overall with two rounds remaining.

The 2006 World Champion's third-place result at the fastest track of the year was his second podium in three races, following a brave ride to second in last month's hurricane-hit Indianapolis Grand Prix. After qualifying third fastest yesterday, the American got a great start to go with race winner Casey Stoner, staying in touch with the Australian during the early stages. During the final few laps Hayden struggled with rear grip and came under pressure from newly crowned World Champion Valentino Rossi, the Italian snatching second place at the start of the very last lap. Hayden tried to counter attack at Honda hairpin but ran wide and had to settle for third. Fittingly for the fastest and greatest racetrack on the MotoGP calendar, the last three World Champions climbed the podium: Stoner, Rossi and Hayden.

Nicky Hayden, finished third, sixth in World Championship

"We got a really good start and I thought was going to lead. Things felt pretty good early on, I went a lot faster in the race than I went all weekend. The bike and everything was working pretty good, so I was able to stay with Casey for a while, I felt comfortable there. Then once he started to pull away I had some issues, I couldn't keep the corner speed I had early on. I enjoyed the race, it was a lot of fun -- riding this track for 27 laps is quite intense, you don't realise how fast you're going around here. It was a good battle at the end, Valentino started coming for me, I started to ride a little harder but I ended up going a little slower. I tried to stay wheels in line as best I could and hold him off. But I didn't get off the last corner great going into the last lap. Coming down the start-finish I saw him on the big TV screen out of the corner of my eye, so I knew it was going to be tough, there wasn't much I could do, I didn't have much tyre left. Nonetheless it's cool to be on the podium, I enjoyed the race. My Michelin guys wanted me to run a harder tyre. I did the sighting lap on that tyre, put back in my original choice for the race. The warm-up was really good, it was nice to get some heat in there. It got a little loose at the end but it was fun. A big thanks to my team and to all my fans for sticking with me."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Nicky did a great job today, congratulations to him and the team for the podium result. The race was pretty tough, with a very fast pace, but the rider, his machine and the Michelin tyres worked well at Phillip Island today. I would like to thank Nicky and the team for this result."

Luckless Race

Repsol Honda RC212V rider Dani Pedrosa had a luckless race at Phillip Island today, falling on the first lap. The tumble was a bitter disappointment for the Spaniard who had been in confident mood after running an impressive race pace in practice and qualifying on the second row of the grid.

In tricky cool, sunny conditions Pedrosa got a good start, holding third place, then got sideways as the pack funnelled into the Southern Loop left-hander for the first time. He managed to regain control but ran wide and off the track at speed, falling heavily as ran across the grass. Pedrosa hurt his left knee in the crash. Despite the fall, the former 125 and 250 World Champion maintains his third position in the 2008 MotoGP World Championship with two rounds remaining.

Dani Pedrosa, DNF, 3rd in World Championship

"I got a good start and was entering the second corner in third position when the rear tyre started sliding. I tried to correct the bike but I ran off the track. On the grass I tried to correct the bike again but I crashed. I hurt my left knee in the fall. Fortunately I've not broken any bones or damaged any ligaments, but I've got a lot of pain and the knee is swollen. I am very disappointed because we knew we had a good race pace and I was very confident that I could score another podium, just like at Motegi last weekend.

It was another bad race. I made a mistake and I am sorry for the team, they worked hard throughout the weekend. Tonight I will fly back to Spain and rest the injury while looking forward to the Malaysia GP. Now it's looking difficult for second place in the championship, there are only two races left."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager

"Sometimes racing is like this, but I'm sorry for Dani because he had a good race pace. He didn't have good grip at the start, he made a mistake and crashed. But Dani understands what happened, so I'm sure that he will be back even stronger in Malaysia and fight for a good result."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa , Phillip Island