Dani Pedrosa took a closely-fought second place in an action-packed Grand Prix of Catalunya for the Repsol Honda Team today. It was a brilliant result for the 24-year-old Spaniard who came close to disaster on lap one when he was forced to run...
Dani Pedrosa took a closely-fought second place in an action-packed Grand Prix of Catalunya for the Repsol Honda Team today. It was a brilliant result for the 24-year-old Spaniard who came close to disaster on lap one when he was forced to run wide in the first corner and dropped back to 11th place, before mounting a rapid recovery. For Andrea Dovizioso a great early race ended in disappointment after he had battled for the lead for with today's winner Jorge Lorenzo for 15 laps. The Italian set what was to be the fastest lap of the race today, but was unfortunate to fall as he entered turn nine, recovering to finish 14th.
Pedrosa was not to be denied at least a podium finish today - in spite of his first lap drama which saw a front end shake cause a momentary loss of braking power as he led into turn one. He immediately mounted a spirited fight-back, recovering an amazing five positions before the first lap was over and another place on lap two. Pedrosa moved forward again when he overtook the LCR Honda of Randy De Puniet on lap six and quickly inherited one more position when Casey Stoner ran wide - also in turn one.
Now in third, Pedrosa benefitted from his team-mate's misfortune when Andrea Dovizioso fell from second position, and Pedrosa spent the rest of the race skillfully fending off Casey Stoner behind him. The gap as they crossed the line was rarely more than two tenths of a second and Stoner was a menacing presence for the final 10 laps. But Pedrosa rode immaculately in spite of low front-end grip and never gave the Australian a chance to get past - crossing the line just 4.754s behind Lorenzo and 0.202s in front of Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso made a good start from sixth on the grid and was hugely impressive in the opening laps, closing in on Lorenzo and taking the fight to the Spaniard as the pair stretched away at the front of the field. On lap three Dovizioso set the fastest lap of the race and he took the lead from Lorenzo on lap four, before settling in behind once more and applying constant pressure in second place for 12 of the 25 laps. In spite of his impressive pace, Dovizioso was having an issue with his rear brake on the way into corners, and entering the tight left hander at the end of the back straight he was unfortunate to fall. The Italian remounted however, and recovered one position to finish 14th. Despite the disappointing result, today's display from Dovizioso underlines his burgeoning status as a MotoGP frontrunner.
The MotoGP series now pauses briefly for one weekend before heading to Sachsenring near Dresden in readiness for the German Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday 18 July.
DANI PEDROSA -- 2nd -- World Championship position: 2nd 113 points
"I made a really good start and was leading towards turn one. I had a bit of a front end shake on the way to the first corner but I didn't think anything of it until I hit the brakes and... for a moment there was nothing. I was surprised because it was not such a bit shake, but anyway I pumped a few times and it came back, but by then it was too late and I had to run wide. I took it slowly to get back on track because I didn't want to be to be penalised [for cutting the corner]. And then I tried to recover as quickly as possible and make up the positions I'd lost. I got past Casey when he made a mistake and we raced together for many laps. I was pushing as hard as possible but we had a bit of a front end issue through the race and the front end was closing in the corners - I think many riders were having this problem today though. I was able to hang on until the end of the race though and I'm happy enough with second place after that first lap. We've linked two good results together which was our target and now we must maintain this consistence and fight for the win at the next races."
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 14th -- World Championship position: 3rd 91 points
"Today we had a really good race pace and we could have fought with Lorenzo for the win at the end of the race. Unfortunately though, from lap one my rear brake was not really working properly in the last part of the corner entry and this gave me some problems entering corners and mid corner. I was still able to be fast, but this issue put more weight on the front, it was very difficult to control - I was always at the limit. Then at turn nine of 15 lap I went a little bit over the limit and crashed. It's a pity but I have to take the positives from today - and fighting at the front of the race is where we want to be and we achieved that for a time today. Anyway, I'm happy with my performance, and I'm sorry for the team because we are all working hard. Next time we'll aim to be back up front again."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"This was a bitter sweet day for the Repsol Honda Team on a few counts. On the plus side, Dani recovered very well from a problematic first lap and rode very well to take second. Also Andrea's battle for the lead with Lorenzo is hugely positive and proves his ever-increasing pace. Of course we're also a little disappointed about what could have been because both riders had the chance of victory today but it didn't work out for us. We go to the next race confident that we have enough performance to fight for victories, and we will continue to strive to improve further."