The Grand Prix of Catalunya produced a nail-biting race for the Repsol Honda Team riders, with Andrea Dovizioso once again finishing amazingly close to the podium and Dani Pedrosa defying the odds to take a valiant sixth place. In the last three...
The Grand Prix of Catalunya produced a nail-biting race for the Repsol Honda Team riders, with Andrea Dovizioso once again finishing amazingly close to the podium and Dani Pedrosa defying the odds to take a valiant sixth place. In the last three races Dovizioso has edged ever-closer to the podium: at Le Mans he was fourth by 0.560s, in Mugello the gap was a mere 0.053s and this time he crossed the line just 0.052s from Casey Stoner in third, after hunting down the Australian rider for much of the race. The result is the fourth time Dovizioso has finished fourth from the six races this season and, as the Italian continues to gel ever-better with his factory RC212V, a top-three finish can't be too far away.
Pedrosa drew on all his reserves of resilience today to ignore the pain from his right hip and fight to a brave sixth place in gruelingly hot conditions. The Spanish rider - a hero for so many fans here in Barcelona - went from eighth on the grid to fourth on the first lap, and for a while it looked like he too might be able to fight for the podium. The 23-year-old however couldn't maintain the pace of the front three and slipped to sixth to score 10 valuable points. Considering his doubtful condition coming in to this race, Pedrosa's performance in the 36 degree temperatures at the Montmelo circuit this afternoon was all the more impressive. To give him the maximum opportunity to recovery before the next race, the Team decided that an understandably exhausted Pedrosa will not take part in the MotoGP test here tomorrow.
Dovizioso however will return with the rest of the Repsol Honda Team to the circuit near Barcelona to carry out testing on the RC212V before preparing for the Dutch TT at Assen, which takes place on Saturday 27 June.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 4th -- World Championship position 4th: 69 points
"We had a great race today and we finished only nine seconds behind the winner - this is a very important point and we are getting closer every time. We only missed the podium by 52 thousandths of a second, which is a pity because I really like this racetrack and we were fast for the whole weekend, so the podium was the target and it was within the reach. I didn't have a good start and it took me some time to overtake Randy and then Dani which meant I had a gap to close before I could reach Stoner. Maybe I should have tried to attack Casey with six laps to go, when he slowed down, because later I didn't have any other chance. The race conditions were really demanding because it was really hot today, but the result was promising and we can move on from here."
DANI PEDROSA -- 6th -- World Championship position 5th: 67 points
"It's been a very hard weekend and I finished the race exhausted and in a lot of pain, but I don't regret being here this weekend trying to do my best. I didn't want to miss my home race and even though sixth position is not the best result in front of my fans, I'm happy with it. I could feel their enormous support during the whole weekend and it helped me a lot to race. It also wouldn't have been possible without the doctors' help: they kept me in the best possible condition to bear the pain. The injections I've had on each day worked, but obviously to do 25 laps it's been very hard. The doctors told me that this fracture needs time to heal so I'm going to rest as much as possible and see what the progress is for Assen. The Team asked me not test tomorrow to give me the best chance to recover and it's a sensible decision. I didn't have a great start today, but I could manage to stay in the second group in the race. I tried to stay with Capirossi, but I couldn't, so I choose to maintain the sixth position. I'm really tired now, but it was a worthwhile race."
KAZUHIKO YAMANO - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Again both riders put up a fighting display in exhausting conditions today. Andrea fought very hard to close the gap to third place and was very close to taking the position. His pace was very impressive today and with this kind of form he should get the podium finish he deserves soon. Of course Dani wanted to repeat his win from last year but today it wasn't possible and he did an excellent job to take the points he did. It's best now that he rests before Assen. The team has again worked very hard this weekend and we will continue to do so until we are achieving the winning results we need."