Dani Pedrosa claimed his first season victory at the German Grand Prix held at the Sachsenring circuit, where the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP) disputed its tenth round this weekend.
"I'm very, very happy with the result today," said Pedrosa on his Repsol Honda even before he stood on solid ground.
The Spaniard took a lights-to-flag victory giving Honda their first victory of the year. He shared the podium with Italy's Loris Capirossi and America's Nicky Hayden.
"This is a victory I'd like to dedicate to the Repsol Honda Team and to HRC because they have been working really hard for a long time without getting the results and I'm very happy they've kept motivation and put in maximum effort at every race," expressed Pedrosa showing his emotion on today's victory.
In the fight for the championship, Casey Stoner wasn't able to break the pole winners' jinx and ended up in fifth spot, but the Aussie was able to leave Germany with more points than Valentino Rossi, due to the fall the Italian suffered, ending his race early.
Pedrosa moved from second on the grid, right alongside Stoner, and quickly jumped to the lead -- a position the Spaniard would keep to the chequered flag -- to take his third victory in MotoGP and also the third at Sachsenring after his two wins in 250cc in 2004 and '05. The last time Pedrosa took victory in the Continental Circus was over a year ago, in the British Grand Prix held at Donington Park.
"I made a good start," Pedrosa said. "I pushed hard from the beginning and was able to open up a gap and control things from the front. The tyres were really good today and Michelin did a very good job, especially as some riders were having difficulties. Towards the end of the race the gap was big so I could take it relatively easy, which I was grateful for because it was very hot out there."
Capirossi allowed Ducati to have once again a bike on the podium, although many thought that Stoner would be there, even more so after the 7th place start for Capirossi after Saturday's qualifying session.
"It's been a long time, but I'm back! My team worked really hard here to find the best solution for the race. We changed the weight distribution, putting more weight on the front to give me more confidence going into the turns," commented Capirossi who was very pleased to have a podium finish today.
However, the veteran Italian took advantage of the situations on track to gain positions and finally achieved a well-deserved podium, only his second of the season.
"At the start of the race I didn't push too hard, my tactic was to save the tyres, so I stayed behind Marco [Melandri] in fourth place. Later on I was able to continue my rhythm and move forward," reflected Capirossi. "I knew Nicky (Hayden) was coming during the last laps but I had enough to hold on."
Another unexpected visitor to the podium was the Hayden, the current world champion of MotoGP, taking his second top-three consecutive finish after his strong performance in Assen, two weeks ago. In spite of starting from 14th in the grid, Hayden managed to reach the podium, his 22nd in the top class for motorcycle racing.
"The first two days here were frustrating, we got behind but the team worked great," Hayden said. "In the race I put my head down, got some good laps together and made a few passes. The tyres were great, I'm really grateful to Michelin and now I'm really looking forward to Laguna."
For Rossi, lap five was proved disastrous for the Italian as he fell trying to get past Randy de Puniet's Kawasaki fighting for sixth position. The five-time world champion tried to cut a line that was just too tight, and his bike folded underneath him. He failed to get going again.
With this situation, Stoner -- despite being fifth with tyre problems on his Ducati -- was able to extend his championship points lead advantage to 32 over Rossi.
"At the start of the race I was pretty happy sitting behind Dani. He was able to find a little more traction than me in most parts," explained the Aussie. "Then unfortunately we lost some rear grip and we weren't able to keep the same lap times, so we slowly started to drop through the pack, but we ended up fifth. Today was a damage limitation exercise."
Next round for MotoGP will be the US Grand Prix, to take place on July 22nd at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California.