Lorenzo keeps podium record intact while Rossi seals remarkable fourth place The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring today provided a thrilling afternoon's racing, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing second and his resurgent Fiat Yamaha team-mate ...
Lorenzo keeps podium record intact while Rossi seals remarkable fourth place
The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring today provided a thrilling afternoon's racing, with Jorge Lorenzo finishing second and his resurgent Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi rounding off a remarkable return from injury to finish fourth by a mere whisker. A red flag after nine laps meant the race was restarted, with Dani Pedrosa eventually taking the win after a 21-lap 'second' race.
Starting from pole for the fourth race in a row, Lorenzo lost ground to Pedrosa at the start but retook the lead on the first lap and led the way by a couple of tenths for the first nine laps. Rossi meanwhile, back racing just six weeks after breaking his leg, had dropped two places on his grid position to seventh. On the second lap he passed Hector Barbera and then loomed up behind Marco Simoncelli, passing his fellow Italian to take fifth on lap four. The World Champion had more than a second's gap to Andrea Dovizioso but he quickly started to close down on him and was in range on the ninth lap, passing him on the tenth. By then however an incident involving three riders had caused the race to be red-flagged and, with positions then taken from the end of the ninth lap, that left the top five in almost their original grid order of Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Stoner, Dovizioso and Rossi.
Thirteen riders restarted the race and it was the same story all over again, with Pedrosa passing Lorenzo into turn one but the championship-leader getting back through before the end of the first lap. The next few laps saw the two Spanish riders in some superb wheel-to-wheel action as Lorenzo tried and failed to shake Pedrosa off, the pair maintaining a nail-biting distance of about a tenth for several laps. After three wins in a row however Lorenzo finally succumbed today and on lap nine he was unable to hold his compatriot off any longer, sensibly deciding to bring his M1 home in second place for 20 points. The 23-year-old has now finished in first or second place at every one of the eight rounds this season.
The restart saw Rossi again lose some ground but he passed Hayden second time around to retake fifth and set off in pursuit of the leaders. On the sixth lap he got by Dovizioso but with a near two-second gap to Stoner it looked unlikely that the Italian would make much headway on the Australian. Rossi is always one to amaze however and he was soon lapping at the same pace as the leaders to bring himself within striking distance of Stoner with a third of the race remaining. The final six laps saw some superb action between the two rivals, with Rossi looking as if he had never been away and several brilliant overtaking manoeuvres from both riders. On the penultimate lap Rossi took the lead in what looked like a decisive move but on the final corner Stoner somehow found a way back through and the nine-time Champion was forced to settle for fourth, albeit probably the most impressive fourth position of his career.
Lorenzo's championship lead now stands at 47 points from Pedrosa, whilst Rossi moves up one place to sixth. The paddock now heads directly to Laguna Seca in California for the US Grand Prix in one weeks time.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 2nd - Time: +3.355
"It's always difficult when a race is split like this and I think I didn't ride quite as well in the second race as I felt I had been doing in the first. Dani was very, very strong and I was on the limit trying to stay ahead. When he passed me I tried briefly to stay with him but he was much faster than me today and I was going to have to take a lot of risks to stay with him; the safest thing for me to do was finish second and take 20 points for the championship. I am happy because I never really liked this track and now I've been second here two years in a row. Now we go to Laguna and I am very excited about racing there again."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 4th - Time: +5.623
"I didn't expect this! I thought it was maybe possible to make fourth or fifth place but I thought it would be very difficult. In the end I was fourth but I had a great battle with Casey and I was so close to the podium, so this is a fantastic result after missing four races. I need some more kilometres to really recover the feeling and feel completely okay with the bike again, but I think I did a great job and this was a very good comeback, better than we could wish for. I felt a bit of pain in my shoulder but more in the leg when changing direction, but at the end the battle with Casey was such fun that I didn't think about it. Unfortunately though he just got the better of me on the last corner! Thanks to all my team for helping me come back and be competitive like this, we will try to do even better in Laguna."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"I said before this weekend that we can't win them all and today Jorge rode another very sensible race to finish second and bring home 20 valuable points for the championship. It's a pity about the restart because the final third of the race is generally Jorge's strongest and with the shortened race he didn't have that bonus, but he rode a great race nonetheless and tried his best to stay with Pedrosa, who was a bit faster than us today. This hasn't been one of his best tracks in the past and he had some problems the first day so this is a good result for us all."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"In the end this race was something completely unexpected; one week ago we didn't know if we'd be able to ride here at all and then day by day our targets changed. We would have been happy whatever with a top five today but finally we were really competitive and so close to the podium. It's unbelievable and even more so because we were lapping at the same pace as the leaders. We've never been so excited by a battle for third position! It was very positive; Valentino worked so hard to be here and he made it in style, so now we will continue our plan in Laguna next weekend."