Japanese GP: Repsol Honda race report

Pedrosa's Brilliant Podium Today's race was one of the best MotoGP races for some time. The Japanese GP had all the ingredients for a great race. A large dose of uncertainty -- rain in the morning and during the warm-up before the MotoGP race ...

Pedrosa's Brilliant Podium

Today's race was one of the best MotoGP races for some time. The Japanese GP had all the ingredients for a great race. A large dose of uncertainty -- rain in the morning and during the warm-up before the MotoGP race meant that the race could have been cancelled - equality for the first five across the finishing line -- separated by less than 5 seconds during practically the whole race -- overtaking -- Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi and viceversa several times in the middle of the race -- and the fight for the podium evenly balanced, and one that gave the Spanish rider and the members of the Repsol Honda Team their reward.

Just over a month ago Pedrosa returned to Spain with a serious injury on his right knee, a broken wrist and a trip to the operating theatre on the cards. In the second race of the season Pedrosa finsihed on the third step of the podium after a great performance. His teammate, making good use of his consistency, got another fifth position in his second race as official rider.

The race began with Rossi leading the group, Pedrosa had another great start moving up from eleventh to third by the first corner. His Repsol Honda teammate, the Italian Andrea Dovizioso, moved up one position, from seventh to sixth, before the end of the straight and ended the first lap in fifth place. Dani Pedrosa, after overtaking Lorenzo on the first lap was second behind Rossi.

After the first few laps five riders had got away from the rest - Rossi alone at the front, then came Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Stoner, although the latter was a bit too far behind to have any impact on the others. Lorenzo overtook Pedrosa on the third lap and went after Rossi who was in the lead until lap nine when he was passed by his teammate. The Repsol Honda Team rider rode in Lorenzo" slipstream and also got closer to Rossi, the two getting ermbroiled in a dog fight on laps 17 & 18, the two both wanting the second position on the podium. In the end Rossi got a small advantage over Pedrosa and the Spaniard opted to make sure of the third place. Without a doubt a good reward for the Repsol rider and his team after his accident and shortened pre-season.

Andrea Dovizioso, after overtaking Vermeulen at the start of the race, stayed fourth, riding alone but with his teammate just a second and a half ahead of him until the penultimate lap, when he was caught by the Australian Stoner, who had found a fast pace towards the end of the race. In the end victory for Lorenzo, Rossi second, first podium of the season for Dani Pedrosa, and Andrea Dovizioso repeated the same result that he got in Qatar, fifth, although finishing closer to the fastest riders than in the first race of the 2009 season.

Next weekend, without hardly any rest at all for the riders, sees the third round in this year" championship, the Spanish GP, in Jerez.


Dani PEDROSA >> 3rd at 3.763 secs.

"I'm very happy with this result. I've had injury problems for a long time - since last October - and so to be on the podium in the second race of the season is fantastic for me, and really we didn't expect this so soon. I got a good start - the start was really the key part of my race - and I was able to get away with the front group. I couldn't really believe it when I stayed with them because I was expecting to drop back after maybe one or two laps.

But then it was lap five or six and I was still there and I was thinking, 'this is unbelievable'. In the end I was near the front for the whole race, had a good battle for second, and finished on the podium so this is great. We still have to sort out some issues on the machine, but it's a very positive result going in to the Jerez, and I'd like to say big thanks to the team and the fans."

Andrea DOVIZIOSO >> 5th at 9.207 secs.

"I'm pretty happy after this race because, considering that we struggled a lot during all the practice sessions, we were able to stay near the front for 24 laps. I was pushing really hard for a podium finish for the whole race but in the end I couldn't make it. It was a tough race and this is a very demanding track, with many hard braking zones so we struggled a lot physically to achieve this result. I think me and Dani just gritted our teeth and got on with it today.

It's promising because we've reduced the gap to the guys in the front. I was 27 seconds behind the winner in Qatar and only 9 seconds behind here, so this is a good step forward. But we must keep on working hard. I have to give my compliments to Dani - he did a great race. I made a good start and was able to maintain a good pace during the race, but we still have to fine-tune the machine so that we can be really competitive."

-credit: repsol

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Andrea Dovizioso , Dani Pedrosa
Teams Repsol Honda Team