As tradition dictates, today Saturday, the Dutch Grand Prix race was held in front of almost 100,000 spectators. Dani Pedrosa managed to put straight a weekend that had become very difficult to finally claim a hard-fought second place. With many problems in the practices, the Repsol Honda Team rider surprised both his own and others by performing at a level that almost took him to victory. His team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had more problems than expected and finished in a well-deserved fifth place.
The race started with another stunning start by Dani Pedrosa, who starting from the third row of the grid, crossed the track from side to side overtaking four rivals to reach the first turn on the inside, in third place - behind Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies -. Andrea Dovizioso also climbed a position at the start and claimed fifth behind Casey Stoner, who in the early moments of the race tried to overtake Pedrosa. After the first lap, Dani was third and Dovizioso fifth.
It took the Spanish rider three laps to pass Spies, by which time Lorenzo had already opened a gap of almost one and a half seconds. For two laps, Pedrosa went in pursuit of the number 99 Yamaha, clocking up the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1 minute, 34 seconds and 525 milliseconds. The Repsol Honda Team rider was clocking up his best times of the weekend, after making significant progress, which was already evident in this morning's warm-up.
However, he was unable to find a gap to overtake his rival and after riding wheel-to-wheel until almost halfway through the race, Lorenzo gradually escaped. In an attempt to catch Lorenzo, Pedrosa managed to open the gap with Casey Stoner - who had been relentlessly pursuing him for several laps - and secured second place, which puts him back in second in the overall standings, with 93 points, 47 behind Lorenzo.
Behind, Andrea Dovizioso was unable to match the pace of the front runners and despite overtaking Ben Spies in the early moments of the race, mid-race the American returned the favour. The Repsol rider was thereby immersed in a battle for fifth with Randy De Puniet, who he overtook several times, until he finally won the battle on the very finish line.
The opportunity for Pedrosa and Dovizioso to continue progressing and make up for lost ground will not be long in coming and in just eight days time, they will be back with the rest of the MotoGP contenders in the always special Catalunya Grand Prix. Next weekend, the Repsol Honda Team will race at home.
Dani PEDROSA >> 2nd 2,935 sec behind
"Well first of all I have to say I'm surprised by this result because, I tell you, in practice we had a lot of problems and we tried so many things that didn't work, so I wasn't expecting to get second today or to have this pace. For the warm-up we found something which gave us a better lap time and my rhythm improved a lot, which gave us the chance to fight in the race. I knew with the soft rear Bridgestone tyre that I would have more of an advantage in the first part of the race and so I pushed really hard from the start to catch up.
But then I began losing a little bit of time in the first section of the circuit and lap-by-lap we lost touch. Anyway, this is a good result for us and I'd like to say thanks to my team because they never gave up. I'm back into second in the World Championship but actually I'm more pleased with second in this race. Now we go straight to Catalunya for my home GP and I hope we can have a good race there too".
Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 5th 15.323 sec behind
"We had higher expectations for today's race and so I'm a little disappointed with how things went. I made a good start and moved up to fourth but I couldn't ride the laps under 1m 35s that were needed to stay with the leaders. We weren't at 100% with the front-end feeling which meant I couldn't ride as aggressively as I wanted. Having said that, we could have finished in fourth today, but in the battle with Randy we lost time and Spies took advantage of our duel to get a gap.
Considering how Dani's and Casey's soft tyres worked, our choice of the hard compound Bridgestone was perhaps not the perfect one today. Anyway, we have to learn from this and I'm looking forward to Barcelona - it's a track that I really like. Today's race was disappointing, but with only five days before we get back out on track we won't have to w ait long before we can make amends".