Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) marked today's announcement that they will continue with the team next season with solid third and fourth-place results in the San Marino Grand Prix held at Misano Adriatico, Italy,...
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) marked today's announcement that they will continue with the team next season with solid third and fourth-place results in the San Marino Grand Prix held at Misano Adriatico, Italy, today.
Pedrosa enjoyed a strong ride this afternoon, spending the first quarter of the race out front, with Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo chasing hard. Ultimately, however, he didn't have the pace to stay ahead throughout the race and he had to be happy with third for his seventh podium finish of 2009. The result also moved him into third place in the World Championship, ahead of the absent Casey Stoner (Ducati).
The race was run in hot, sunny conditions, though a cooling sea breeze kept temperatures lower than they had been on Friday and Saturday. Pedrosa once again got a great start, leading the pack into the first corner after a brilliant getaway from second on the grid. His RC212V's awesome straight-line performance -- once again he had the fastest bike of the weekend at 279.7km/h (173.8mph) -- helped him stay in front for seven laps. He then ran second until lap 13, then third until the chequered flag. The race was won by series leader Rossi, who lives just 16km (10 miles) from Misano, with team-mate Lorenzo second.
Dovizioso rode a good race from the third row of the grid, completing the first lap in sixth place and then steadily working his way forward into fourth spot. During the later stages he enjoyed a spirited duel with Loris Capirossi (Suzuki), Dovizioso finally bettering his fellow Italian with a brilliant pass on the final lap. This was Dovi's first race with Ohlins suspension.
Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) made great use of his second-row start to roar past Rossi into second place at the first corner. The hard-riding Spaniard then grabbed the lead from Pedrosa as they attacked the Carro hairpin for the first time, but he ran wide and Pedrosa immediately regained his position. From there Elias slipped behind the leading contest to finish a very respectable sixth, less than two seconds behind Capirossi and Dovizioso.
Team-mate Alex De Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) had a less happy day. The San Marino rider was involved in a turn two pile-up which sidelined him, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati). Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) was also involved in the melee, running off the track as he took avoiding action. The Frenchman, who broke his left ankle a month ago, regained the track in last position and had to work hard to come through to finish 12th.
Gabor Talmacsi (Scot Honda) made an excellent start to the race and ran with riders Marco Melandri (Kawasaki), Mike Kallio (Ducati) and James Toseland (Yamaha) for the first few laps. He ended the race feeling physically strong, convinced he has found a direction which will help him at the last four races of the year.
World 250 leader Hiroshi Aoyama (Scot Honda) fought like a lion in his 100th GP race, battling for third place with title rival Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) and the Spaniard's team-mate Mike Di Meglio (Aprilia). The trio swapped places time and again, Aoyama finally getting ahead of both Aprilias in the final lap, only to lose out to Bautista in the dash for the line and the final podium place. With four rounds remaining, Aoyama's points lead has been cut to 13 points. The race was won by Hector Barbera (Aprilia), with Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) second.
Raffaele De Rosa (Scot Honda) produced a brave ride, just a week after suffering a partially dislocated left shoulder at Indianapolis. The Italian took eighth place at the end of a hectic race, crossing the line less than a second behind the factory-spec Aprilia of Alex Debon and just 11.3 seconds behind race winner Barbera.
Hector Faubel (Valencia CF-Honda SAG) finished an excellent ninth despite a few issues with machine set-up and injuries. The Spaniard has suffered back problems in recent weeks and although he was seventh during the early stages of the Misano he was later handicapped by arm pump. He also found he lacked rear grip in today's cooler conditions.
Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT-SAG) rode superbly once again, fighting hard in the group contesting seventh place. The Thai rider slid off with just five laps to go after narrowly avoiding a collision with De Rosa.
Misano first-timer Shoya Tomizawa (Team CIP Honda) rode a good race to 12th, his best result since he finished 12th in May's Spanish GP. Team-mate Valentin Debise (Team CIP Honda) also rode well, finishing 14th for his third consecutive World Championship points score. Bastien Chesaux (Racing Team Germany Honda) slid off unharmed on the fourth lap of the 26 lap race.
HONDA MotoGP RIDER QUOTES
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd. "A podium finish is a good result for us and I think it fulfilled our potential here this weekend. I made a good start and pushed to the maximum in the opening laps to stay ahead of the others. I was riding really hard and getting quicker every lap which allowed me to keep in front for quite a long time. First Valentino and then Jorge came past though, and they were able to brake harder and get through the corners a little better that me which meant I just couldn't stay with them. I was actually quite lucky at the end because I ran out of fuel on the slowing down lap and had to hitch a ride back to the pits with Toni Elias. Third is OK here and there was no way I could follow the leader's rhythm so I'm reasonably satisfied. I've moved into third in the championship, but with Casey not riding here it's not an even situation so I'm not too concerned about that. This weekend I also re-signed with Honda and I'm happy about this. They know my potential very well and I know their potential too, and I'm sure we can work well together into the future."
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda: 4th. "I pushed 100 per cent in the first laps. I had a good feeling with the bike but unfortunately on lap seven I made a mistake at turn 11 and I lost contact with the front riders. This mistake compromised the race as after that I couldn't stay with the leaders. In the last laps I had quite a battle with Capirossi for fourth place. He was braking very hard but in the end I passed him and closed every gap so that he couldn't get past again. I'm happy with this weekend. This was the first weekend with Ohlins and of course we couldn't have the perfect set-up but this is just the start and I'm very confident for the future. I'm happy too because I renewed my contract with Honda. This is my first year in the factory Honda team and I feel that I still haven't shown my full potential. I know the machine better and we are working together in preparation for next year. Honda is working very hard and I believe in the project."
Toni Elias, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th. "I have mixed feelings about that race because sixth place is a decent result but after making such a good start it could have been so much better. The team have done a great job with the bike over the weekend after a terrible first day but for some reason it wasn't quite right today after only a few laps. We have to look at why that was because once again we have shown the pace to run with the very best in this class. We have a bit of a break now which is not ideal for me because I'd like to get back on track as soon as possible, but we will try to use it as best we can and look forward to going to Estoril, a circuit where I have great memories thanks to my MotoGP victory with the Gresini team in 2006 and where we will look to recover even more points."
Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda: 12th. "We expected a better result here. I was unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I'm happy because at least I escaped unhurt from the turn two incident. We have had three difficult race weekends since my injury, but we were able to score some more points here and that's a positive. We made a great job in spite of my ankle injury, and although I'm not yet fully fit we improved our lap times over the three days and we are back in the mid-pack. The coming three weeks off will give me a chance to recover from my injury, so I will try to improve my World Championship position once we return to action in Portugal."
Gabor Talmacsi, Scot Honda: 14th. "That was a three-part race for me. I was strong at the beginning, when I was able to catch Melandri, then the middle part of the race was not good. Finally, the last part was better, I was able to improve my lap times and I felt physically good all the way to the finish."
Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Honda Gresini: DNF. "I got a decent start and thought I could make some more ground up on the inside in the second turn but I went in too deep. Colin cut in front of me and I braked as hard as I could to avoid him but the front folded and I hit him. Unfortunately Nicky was hit as well and I apologise to both of them. Unfortunately these things happen in racing and I am desperately disappointed because this is my home race, there were a lot of people here supporting me and I wasn't able to deliver a good result. It is especially frustrating because we had the potential to put a really good race together here after another excellent weekend but we'll take the positives out of it and try to continue with our recent progress at Estoril."
HONDA 250cc RIDER QUOTES
Hiroshi Aoyama, Scot Honda: 4th. "My rhythm was better than Bautista's but he put up a great fight, and overtaking him was very difficult. I was so close to getting a podium finish, the difference between the two of us at the finish line was determined by the difference in power. Anyway, it was a good race for us."
Raffaele De Rosa, Scot Honda: 8th. "Not bad, considering what happened in practice when we suffered an electronic gremlin which we only managed to fix during morning warm-up. That meant we did not have enough time to work as we wanted on chassis set-up, so we couldn't do better than eighth, even though the tyres were quite good today."
Hector Faubel, Valencia CF-Honda SAG: 9th. "In the morning we had an issue with the engine and we lost too much time fixing it to test some new chassis settings for today's lower track temperature. I couldn't exit corners at 100 per cent because the rear would not grip, so I couldn't hold on to the fourth place I had early on. As if that wasn't enough, I could not physically perform at my best because I had some arm pump in the later stages."
Shoya Tomizawa, Team CIP Honda: 12th. "That was a great race for me, and it feels very good to get some more points. To get a good result here was important because I found this track really difficult for my riding style -- most of the corners are so tight and slow. Now I go home to Japan where I will keep training hard to be ready for Portugal next month."
Valentin Debise, Team CIP Honda: 14th. "I'm mostly happy with that race. My lap times were pretty consistent throughout and we got some more points, my third score in a row. We had a few issues with machine balance here -- this is a very 'front-end' circuit, which means you focus on the front, and then maybe you lose a little rear performance."
Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: DNF. "It was a shame to fall down and finish another race without scoring points. I did not want to finish tenth again and so I tried my hardest to pass other riders. When I passed Faubel I lost a position to De Rosa and later when I had to avoid crashing into him I lost the rear, and that was the end for me. I've got some abrasion to my lower back but I'm mostly just disappointed because I expected to get a great result. Now I go to Thailand to recover physically and mentally, and I hope to finish higher up in the last four races of the season."
Bastien Chesaux, Racing Team Germany Honda: DNF. "I'm very disappointed with my crash. I got a good start, then lost a few places when things got hectic in the first two laps, then crashed on the fourth lap. I got on the gas hard and lost the rear. It's a real shame but the important thing is that I was fighting hard -- I really wanted some more points."