Portuguese GP: Repsol Honda race report

Repsol Honda's Pedrosa second in tricky race, Hayden's charge ends in gravel. Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa had a hard-fought ride to second place in tricky conditions at Estoril today while team-mate Nicky Hayden tumbled out of fourth place...

Repsol Honda's Pedrosa second in tricky race, Hayden's charge ends in gravel.

Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa had a hard-fought ride to second place in tricky conditions at Estoril today while team-mate Nicky Hayden tumbled out of fourth place while sneaking up on the leading trio. The opening laps of the race were especially tricky because light rain showers had dampened several sections of the circuit.

Pedrosa's third successive podium finish from the first three races -- third in Qatar, winner in Spain and second here in Portugal -- makes him the equal points leader with today's race winner Jorge Lorenzo. Pedrosa was in the thick of the three-way battle for victory throughout this afternoon's race, moving into third place on lap three, then duking it out with Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. He got the better of Rossi on lap 15 and worked hard to close the gap on leader Lorenzo, eventually finishing the 28 laps just 1.8 seconds down.

Gallant Hayden was also charging hard, moving through the pack from seventh place on the first place, picking off rivals here and there until he found himself in fourth place just after half way. The American had been chipping away at the leading group, closing a few tenths every lap, until he lost the front and fell going into turn seven on lap 17. His pace had been impressive, good enough for the third fastest lap of the race.

Dani Pedrosa; finished second, equal World Championship leader
Front tyre: 16" Michelin slick me dium Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick hard

"After our difficult preseason it's good to be in this position now, so we are very happy. Today was a good race, the beginning was quite fun, but also a little dangerous because it was raining a bit and there were a few passing manoeuvres. When the rain stopped, the pace got faster and faster, so we had to concentrate very hard to maintain tyre grip all the time. Eventually we finished second and we're happy. We always expected a tough race, so this result is very important for us. When Lorenzo started pulling away I still had to pass Rossi, then when I did pass Rossi, Lorenzo already had a gap. I tried to close the gap, or at least maintain it, and the gap stayed the same mor e or less for the remainder of the race. Finally we got second and it's a good result.

Nicky Hayden; DNF, tenth in World Championship
Front tyre: 16" Michelin slick medium Rear tyre: 16.5" Michelin slick hard

"The first few laps were certainly not easy, some parts of the track were a little wetter than others and I had on a pretty hard tyre. I had been choosing between that tyre and another a little bit softer, but with the way the weather's been this weekend we really hadn't got to do a lot of endurance on the harder one. I got settled in, and the warmer I was getting the tyres the better they were working and I was able to start moving up, so things were feeling pretty good. I made a few passes, I'd just got into fourth, felt like I wanted to close the gap on the guys in front of me. You know, I got fourth place at Jerez and I certainly didn't want to settle in there and ride around, so I had to push hard and you know when you push hard you make mistakes. It's not a parade you can't just cruise around. The bike was working good, the tyres were working good, I felt pretty comfortable, so I was p ushing. Turn seven's downhill, certainly a trick corner, the front let go pretty early and down I went. It's unfortunate because the bike was working good and we were hungry for a good result, so my own mistake. We just have to step it up a bit."

Kazuhiko Yamano - Team Manager; "Dani did a very good job for the championship. The conditions were very difficult, with some rain falling at the start of the race, so Dani did a very good job controlling that situation and racing with the front pack. Nicky was also very fast, he was running a great pace and looking very strong, but it seems he was unlucky. We stay here to test tomorrow, when we will be testing tyres and chassis settings."

-credit: repsol honda

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Valentino Rossi , Jorge Lorenzo , Dani Pedrosa