Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso finished in third place in this afternoon's Grand Prix of Portugal at the end of an action packed race which featured passes on almost every one of the 28 laps. For the last ten laps Dovizioso was engaged in a ...
Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso finished in third place in this afternoon's Grand Prix of Portugal at the end of an action packed race which featured passes on almost every one of the 28 laps. For the last ten laps Dovizioso was engaged in a thrilling dice with Marco Simoncelli which went right down to the final corner; Dovizioso getting the better of his fellow Italian as the pair accelerated across the finish line. Dani Pedrosa put in a brave performance today, defying the lack of strength in his recently repaired collarbone injury to climb as high as fifth before finally finishing in eighth place.
Today's race was a thriller right from the start with multiple passes during the first few laps as the MotoGP riders explored the limits on an Estoril track that was dry for the first time all weekend. Having lacked any dry set-up time thanks to the repeated storms that have affected this part of Portugal, the Repsol Honda riders and the entire field had to run with untested machine settings, an unusual scenario which produced an exciting and unpredictable spectacle. Dovizioso's battle with Simoncelli was a major highlight, and after exchanging places many times the Repsol Honda rider crossed the line just 0.059s in front to record his seventh podium finish of the season. The result for Dovizioso, riding in his 150th Grand Prix today, means he closes the gap in the World Championship to Casey Stoner in fourth place to just ten points with one race remaining.
For Pedrosa, today's Grand Prix of Portugal was a remarkable feat of endurance bearing in mind the broken collarbone he sustained just four weeks ago, from which he is still recovering. The 25-year-old Spaniard started promisingly from 12th on the grid and climbed as high as fifth place by producing a race pace that at one stage matched eventual winner Jorge Lorenzo's. But fatigue in his left arm and shoulder was setting in from the third lap and Pedrosa lost strength and feeling throughout the race, meaning there was no way he could maintain this pace to the end. Despite this, Pedrosa took a comfortable eighth place and gained a valuable eight points which helps to defend his second place in the championship. Pedrosa now has a 19-point lead in the standings over Valentino Rossi, who finished in second place today.
With just one race of 2010 remaining, the Repsol Honda Team makes the journey to Spain for Sunday's season finale - the Grand Prix of Valencia.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - 3rd - World Championship Position: 5th 195 points
"To be back onto the podium is so important for us and I'd like to thank my team and fans for their support this weekend. We can't be completely happy with our pace today because we were a long way from the front two riders, but overall the result is positive for us. The situation at Estoril has been strange for the whole weekend with every session being held in wet conditions and third position was the best we could have done today. It was quite an aggressive battle with Simoncelli but it has always been like this with him, so I needed to have a strategy for the last lap. He was faster than me in T3 and T4 and every time into the chicane he overtook me, but I knew that it was possible to take him out of the last corner because I had a bit more speed onto the straight, so this was my plan - and it worked. Now it's possible to fight with Stoner for fourth place in the championship and - although it will be difficult because he was fast here before he crashed and also has a ten point lead - this will be our target for Valencia next weekend."
DANI PEDROSA - 8th - World Championship Position: 2nd 236 points
"I have mixed feelings after this race. On one side the fact that I could finish 28 laps is good because from quite early in the race I didn't know if it would be possible. On the other hand, I could have finished much higher up if I could have maintained the pace we had in the race. From the third lap I lost strength in my left arm and I couldn't really feel it. Honestly I didn't think I could keep that pace at the beginning of the race. At one stage I could see that finishing third would have been possible with the pace we were running, but it was impossible because soon I had no power in the arm. On every lap I was feeling more tired and I couldn't maintain the 1m 39.5 laps. With ten laps to go I couldn't keep pushing and I dropped back quite a lot. I'm going to have a check-up again with the doctors tomorrow because the arm still feels quite numb, but anyway we'll have three days to relax and recover to be ready for Valencia. In terms of the position in the championship, I'm 19 points ahead and so I hope to hold on to second place."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"It was certainly an eventful race today and in the end Andrea did a very good job to take third place in an extremely close finish. He had to work out the best approach for the last lap and in the end Andrea executed his plan very well. Dani also gave everything today and, considering his condition and the lack of track time this weekend, his performance was impressive. He was affected by fatigue in the second half of the race, but he has proved that he can ride at competitive race pace in the dry and this is very positive for next weekend and the final race of the season."