Rossi extends championship lead with second place in 200th Grand Prix Valentino Rossi finished a worthy runner-up at Donington Park today, unable to catch Casey Stoner on this occasion but surviving a mid-race battle with Dani Pedrosa to extend...
Rossi extends championship lead with second place in 200th Grand Prix
Valentino Rossi finished a worthy runner-up at Donington Park today, unable to catch Casey Stoner on this occasion but surviving a mid-race battle with Dani Pedrosa to extend his lead at the top of the championship. Today was Rossi's 200th Grand Prix and this his 142nd podium since he opened his account with a third place at the 1996 Austrian GP in the 125cc class. It was also a good day for Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who put his recent injuries and yesterday's poor qualifying behind him to come through from 17th on the grid to take sixth.
Rossi's recent work in testing on improving his starts paid off today and the Italian held onto his second place at the off. He tried to stay with Stoner but the Australian was too quick in some parts of the track today and Rossi knew that second was going to be as good as it got. Midway through the 30-lap race Pedrosa loomed and twice passed Rossi into turn one, but both times the multiple-champion took him back and over the final stages he was able to create a safe cushion from the Spaniard, crossing the line just under six seconds behind Stoner and 2.558 ahead of Pedrosa, who is his closest championship rival.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: +5.789
"I am quite happy about this result, although of course I would have preferred to have been fighting with Stoner for the win! I got a good start today and I tried to stay with Casey, but in some corners he was faster than me and it was impossible to keep up with his pace as the race went on. I knew that second place was important because of the points so I had to win my fight with Pedrosa in the middle of the race! Luckily we took second and now I have extended my lead by four points, which is very important for our championship. Unfortunately this weekend we made some mistakes when it was dry on Friday, and then because of the wet yesterday we weren't able to work on them until today, when it was too late to make things perfect. Anyway we did the best we could so thanks to all my guys. We are leading the championship but Stoner showed his potential today so I think that this hard battle between us all is going to continue race by race. I am glad we only have a few days to Assen and I am looking forward to doing better there."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"Today it was difficult to do better than this but if you think about the championship it has been a very important result and we have increased our lead on Pedrosa by four points. We're not quite at the half-way point of the championship yet - one more week - but we're pretty happy with our season so far and the important thing is that we're leading the championship. We have no time to rest before Assen but we will be going there with the aim of getting back to the top step of the podium."
Lorenzo storms to sixth with superb Donington ride
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo wrote another impressive chapter in his rollercoaster rookie story today with an outstanding ride to sixth from 17th on the grid in the British Grand Prix. After suffering a string of crashes and injuries over the last seven weeks and missing the last round in Catalunya, his aim today was simply to come home in one piece but the determined 21-year-old did considerably better, passing a host of riders to make up 11 places from his grid position.
In dry but windy conditions, Lorenzo lived up to his nickname 'Por Fuera' at turn one by overtaking around the outside of several riders and coming out of the first corner melee in 13th position. He continued with more of the same throughout the lap and crossed the line for the first time in tenth. As his confidence grew he found the rhythm he had been lacking during the rest of the weekend and passed Anthony West to take ninth on lap 13. A consistent pace throughout the middle part of the race, matching that of the leading riders, brought him to Shinya Nakano on lap 20 and, once past him he succeeded in closing a three second gap to Chris Vermeulen and Nicky Hayden in just four laps. He dispensed with these two in turn and then set off after Andrea Dovozioso, however with only five laps remaining time ran out for the Mallorcan and he crossed the line just under a second adrift of the Italian, despite setting a personal best time on the final lap of the race.
Lorenzo now sits 13 points adrift of Stoner in fourth place, whilst Rossi extends his lead over Dani Pedrosa to 11 points as they approach the half way point in the championship, which comes at Assen in just six days time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 6th Time: +15.690
"I'm very happy with this result, because this was a very hard weekend for me and for my crew. I don't want to think about the past, or think about what might have been if I'd started in the front rows, I only want to think about the present and my ride today. The number one aim was to finish the race without crashing or hurting myself, because at the end of the day your health is the most important thing! After the start however I started to feel more and more confident and found I was able to ride better and better, then I realised that I actually had the chance to do a very good race. I had fast pace throughout and my bike and my Michelin tyres worked very well, so thank you to all my team. Sometimes lately it has been hard to stay optimistic, motivated and happy, even though I have always tried to go out smiling and with a good attitude, but this race today was great and I am very happy tonight."
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"We have achieved the goal for this race; it was very important that Jorge found a good feeling with the bike and started to enjoy riding his M1 again and today this happened. He was able to ride a beautiful race and come back from a difficult grid position to take a brilliant sixth. Today he impressed us once again and it was also a great feeling for everyone to see him making eleven overtakes! The team did a fantastic job because they were able to put him in a position to be this fast. We are very confident now that in Assen Jorge will be back to his best."
Masahiko Nakajima - Team Director
"We were struggling all weekend in order to try to find the right set-up to fit these tricky conditions. At the end we found a good setting, which enabled Valentino to be fast, but unfortunately one of our rivals was still faster than us today! Anyway we were able to secure important championship points and we are satisfied about this. Now our aim is to get back to the top of the podium next week.
"We are all very happy with Jorge's race today because he came through to a good finishing position from the back of the grid. Unfortunately starting from 17th meant it was very difficult to come all the way to the front but he did a fantastic job in the circumstances. We're pleased because we have seen once again the impressive riding that he showed us before his accident. Now we will continue to try to improve his bike set-up even more, with the aim of seeing him back on the podium as soon as possible."