Hayden claims Assen victory with stunning finish

Repsol Honda racer Nicky Hayden scored his first victory of the season today in the A-Style TT Assen Grand Prix, the eighth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP). His win came after a thrilling head-to-head fight with...

Repsol Honda racer Nicky Hayden scored his first victory of the season today in the A-Style TT Assen Grand Prix, the eighth round of the FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix (MotoGP). His win came after a thrilling head-to-head fight with Colin Edwards, which lasted until the final lap. Edwards ended up in 13th position after leading almost the entire competition.

At the finish line, Kawasaki racer Shinya Nakano and rookie Spaniard Dani Pedrosa took the other two the podium places in the Dutch TT. Edwards looked to have miraculously snatched victory from his compatriot, forcing Hayden off-road with the chequered flag in sight. However, his own excursion onto the grass flung him off his Yamaha M1 to shatter his dreams of a memorable maiden win.

"Going into the last chicane he was going in so deep so I used a move I used on Hopkins earlier in the race. Honestly it wasn't going to work and I caught neutral, but he ran off the track too", explained the winner after the podium ceremony.

"What can I say? Obviously I'm really disappointed because I know I should have won that race," said Edwards. "I was determined not to lose hold of him and just gave it everything to give myself a chance on the last lap. I got past him and then tried to keep a really defensive line out of the final corner."

"I had no idea Nicky had run onto the gravel otherwise I wouldn't have needed to do it," he explained. "Unfortunately I ran it a bit too tight onto the grass and the rear just spun up as I opened the throttle and it threw me off. I'm gutted but fair play to Nicky, it was a great race."

Edwards took the chequered flag in 13th after a fantastic competition. He surely leave Assen with the logical sadness, but with the feeling that the next winning chance is right around the corner for him.

It was Honda's 200th victory in the premier class, one more reason to celebrate in Assen. "It was a wild one today and I definitely enjoyed it -- it's just a really good day for me. I'm proud to win for Repsol Honda and really proud to score Honda's 200th win in the top class of Grand Prix too", Hayden added.

Nakano had a well-deserved second place for himself and his Kawasaki Racing team after several good performances in the preview of the race. The Japanese was the protagonist of a strong pace to finish 4s884 adrift of the winner. "It goes without saying that I'm happy to score my best result in MotoGP with second place here today, although I was happy enough when I thought I was going to finish third!", stated the 28 year-old rider.

Nakano made a steady competition in fight with pole winner John Hopkins -- sixth at the end -- showing the Kawasaki Ninja is up to take important thins in the category.

"I have to say thank you to the team who, despite our recent run of bad luck, have never lost their confidence in me. When the team are confident in me, it gives me confidence on the bike. This result was not just down to me, but to everyone in the Kawasaki Racing Team who've worked so hard this year", he remarked.

Spanish ace Pedrosa won a fantastic side-by-side dispute with Aussie Casey Stoner in the battle for the last podium step between both top rookies racers this season.

After a difficult start to the race which saw him drop to eighth place, the reigning 250cc world champion once again deployed his known talent to fend off Stoner on final lap.

"I will have to improve at the beginning of races because I am often struggling a little there. On the last lap Stoner tried to overtake me and in the last section I re-overtook him and we almost touched once so it was pretty close", Dani explained. "It wasn't a perfect result for me today, but the Michelins worked well today so I'm happy about that. The championship is more open this year than normal, I'm new in this class so being in second place is very good, but I still have a lot to learn", Pedrosa analysed.

Reigning World Champion, Valentino Rossi, doubtful for the race after breaking a bone in his hand on Thursday, made the effort and took part in the Grand Prix from last on the grid, and finished eighth. The Italian added valuable points for his title defense.

"I was in some pain, especially at the start and I wasn't able to ride at 100% of my ability, but it was okay. At the start I was worried how it would go, but when the adrenalin kicked in I started to feel like I could race and by the time we got to the midway point I was feeling much better and having some fun. I lost strength in my hand over the last three laps but I was able to hang on and we picked up some decent points in eighth place", the champion said.

After many podiums this season, Hayden was able to take off the pressure of his first victory and now holds an important gap in the standings with 144 points against the 102 of his teammate Pedrosa, who jumped to second. Loris Capirossi stayed in 100, two points in front of Rossi and Marco Melandri, seventh today.

Next weekend will continue the action for the Contitenal Circus with the British Grand Prix in Donington Park circuit. Rossi will try to recover from his accident to re-take the fight for the championship and --alongside Ducati's boys- will try to knock Honda's power in hands of Hayden.

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Loris Capirossi , Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Shinya Nakano , John Hopkins , Marco Melandri , Casey Stoner , Dani Pedrosa