Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso claimed his fifth podium finish of the 2010 season by taking second place in a hard-fought Japanese Grand Prix today. The 24-year-old Italian led into the first corner after securing his first ever MotoGP pole...
Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso claimed his fifth podium finish of the 2010 season by taking second place in a hard-fought Japanese Grand Prix today. The 24-year-old Italian led into the first corner after securing his first ever MotoGP pole position yesterday, but Casey Stoner was able to sneek up the inside into turn two. For the next sixteen laps Dovizioso shadowed the Australian as the pair pulled away at the front of the field. Matching Stoner lap-for-lap and riding totally flat out, Dovizioso never let the gap grow much beyond half a second, but he couldn't quite get close enough to mount an attack.
In the last three laps of the 24-lap race, Dovizioso launched his last push for victory, but a near-highside lost him time and gave Stoner a crucial gap. After this, Dovizioso wisely brought his RC212V home for his fifth podium of the season and his first rostrum visit since the British Grand Prix in June. The result means Dovizioso climbs one position in the World Championship by taking fourth place from Valentino Rossi, who finished third after winning a thrilling battle with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.
Dovizioso's second position today was also the Repsol Honda Team's 250th podium finish since Repsol and Honda joined forces in 1995 to make one of the most recognisable partnerships in motorcycle racing history. The team's other current rider, Dani Pedrosa, who has made a big contribution to this impressive total but missed today's race after breaking his collarbone on Friday, remains in hospital in Barcelona after yesterday's successful operation to plate the fracture. Further updates on Pedrosa's condition will follow.
The MotoGP paddock now packs the flight cases ready for shipping to Kuala Lumpur in preparation for next weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO -- 2nd -- World Championship Position 4th 159 points
"I pushed at 100 percent for the whole race and the lap times of Casey and me were pretty impressive and very consistent. At the beginning, Casey was really fast when the tyres weren't fully up to temperature and at that moment I knew it was going to be a hard fight with him. I don't know what Casey did to up his pace today but his speed was amazing. There were two or three places on that lap where he was faster than me every time, but I saw that he was also on the limit and so I kept pushing. It was hard to maintain the pace on the tyre in the last few laps and I nearly had a big highside three laps from the end - at that moment I knew I couldn't win the race. It was a little bit disappointing because I wanted the win and I thought it was possible today, but I'm really happy to be back on the podium again. Following Casey I learned a lot about the strategy for tuning the electronics settings for the final part of the race when the tyre performance is dropping off, so this is really positive for the future. I want to say thank you to the team because I'm in this position thanks to their hard work. And also thanks to HRC - I'm really glad to have a good result at Honda's home race."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"Andrea had a very strong pace this afternoon and the battle at the front was actually very close, even though Andrea couldn't quite get close enough to overtake Casey. In the final laps he dropped back, but this was a good result for Andrea and it's great to see him back on the podium. It was also an important podium for the Repsol Honda Team - the 250th since we joined forces in 1995. I'd like to say congratulations and thank you to all the riders who have contributed to this impressive total, and also to everyone who has worked with the Repsol Honda Team to make this partnership so strong."