Rossi Wins, Lorenzo Second! For the second time this season, Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were embroiled in a thrilling head to head battle to the flag at the German Grand Prix in Sachsenring today. As at Catalunya...
Rossi Wins, Lorenzo Second!
For the second time this season, Fiat Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were embroiled in a thrilling head to head battle to the flag at the German Grand Prix in Sachsenring today. As at Catalunya earlier this season, it was the eight-time World Champion Rossi who emerged the winner, but his young team-mate pushed him every step of the way and finished just 0.099 seconds behind, an almost identical gap to that of Catalunya. Rossi's 101st win means he equals Agositini's all-time podium record of 159 in all classes.
Rossi got a brilliant start from pole, in contrast to Lorenzo beside him who slipped several places to sixth at the first split. The 22-year-old soon made up one place however and then Randy de Puniet crashed, elevating him to fourth at the end of the first lap. Lorenzo had a brief exchange with Andrea Dovizioso but soon dispensed with him and it was then Rossi leading from Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo -- the four main championship protagonists within three-quarters of a second.
On lap seven Rossi relinquished his lead to Stoner and it remained that way for the next ten laps, although the gap from the Australian to Lorenzo in third was almost nothing. On lap 18 the Italian pulled off a brilliant pass on the brakes at the bottom of the hill into the penultimate turn to retake the lead and his team-mate followed him through, passing Stoner on the finish straight to leave the Yamaha pair lying first and second. They quickly began to eke out a gap from their pursuers and with less than two tenths between them it was clear that they were heading towards another tense finale. Lorenzo made his move at the start of lap 26, passing his team-mate into turn one and hanging onto the lead until the second to last lap, when Rossi overtook him in the same place in what proved to be the decisive pass. A brave attempt from Lorenzo to go around the outside of Rossi at the start of the final lap fell short and a perfect final lap from the 30-year-old sealed his fourth win of the season, leaving Lorenzo to content himself with his eighth podium this year and Pedrosa to cross the line nearly three seconds further back in third.
Rossi's win means he stretches his lead over Lorenzo in second to 14 points, with eight rounds remaining. The Spaniard in turn lies14 points ahead of Stoner as the paddock moves straight on to the UK for the British Grand Prix at Donington Park
Position: 1st Time: 41'21.769
"I think this was a great race for everyone because there were all four leading riders of the championship, fighting very closely and all in strong form. We knew that they would all be tough to beat today so I am very pleased about this win, I rode very well and my team worked brilliantly all weekend to find the right setting. I had a very good start today, a great battle with Stoner early on and then after half race distance I was a little faster and really able to push at the maximum, which was great fun. At the end it came down to another incredible battle with Lorenzo and I really had to be on top form, especially because he passed me when I wasn't expecting it. Luckily I was able to take him back and then I rode a perfect final lap with no mistakes. Everything worked well today, my M1 and my Bridgestone tyres, so thanks and well done to everyone. This is my fourth win of the year and I really think that our Yamaha is a fantastic bike this season. I think races like this are great for the sport. Now we have a small advantage in the championship and we're going straight to Donington, one of my favourite tracks where I really hope I can win after a few bad years without a victory!"
Position: 2nd Time: +0.099
"Today was a very hard race because this track is slow and twisty and you have to use all the strength in your body to ride at the maximum. Keeping pace with Valentino today was a big challenge for me, especially since I'm not at full fitness after Laguna, so I am happy that I was able to push him until the end. Passing him was very difficult because he braked hard and late every time, and in fact I made a bit of a mistake because I thought there were a few more laps left when I passed him! I hoped to overtake him and then try to pull away but it didn't work out today. Of course I'm disappointed to lose another very close race, it is always sad but I know that we are capable of fighting with him and considering his experience this is something I must be proud of. Second is important today and we still have a long way to go in this championship."
"What a battle and what Yamahas! Once again another very exciting race with many changes between the four top riders in the championship. As always Valentino had a very strong drive to win and today he had to use everything he had to hold off the challenge of our team-mate. Congratulations to Jorge because he made it a very hard race for us to win and of course congratulations to Valentino for doing his job brilliantly once again!"
"Another brilliant result from us; Jorge rode a great race and the team did a very good job in finding the right setting and choosing the right tyre for him today. Considering he's not completely fit, we have to be impressed that he could fight so strongly to the end today and push Valentino to the final lap, riding at the highest level. We have to keep going in the same way because we still have a chance in this title fight."