Michelin packed the lead placings at Assen today, with five Michelin men in the top six. No one could handle Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici) but otherwise it was very much a Michelin race with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda ...
Michelin packed the lead placings at Assen today, with five Michelin men in the top six. No one could handle Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro Team Desmosedici) but otherwise it was very much a Michelin race with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) taking a strong second place to retake the World Championship lead at the midway point of this year's 18-race campaign.
There was drama in the battle for the final podium position, Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V-Michelin) slowing within sight of the finish as Colin Edwards (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) swept through to grab third place at the line. Rookies Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Team Scot Honda RC212V-Michelin) and Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1-Michelin) battled for fifth, completing Michelin's fastest five finishers. James Toseland (Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1-Michelin) took ninth place. Michelin's only non-finisher was Randy de Puniet (Honda LCR RC212V-Michelin) who was taken out by Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha Team YZR-M1) at the Strubben hairpin on the very first lap.
"It was a very good race," said Jean-Philippe Weber, Michelin's director of motorcycle racing. "When you look at the results we filled second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth places, so we have to be quite happy about that. We always knew Stoner that was going to be very fast so we knew it would be very difficult to beat him. We went with quite hard tyres today for some of our riders, though maybe we should have used slightly softer rears which would have been better for initial performance. But we are happy with the performance, our riders were able to run fast and consistent times throughout. Dani, Nicky and Lorenzo all used the same rear while the Tech 3 guys used something slightly softer. Our guys had some great rides today -- Dani was amazing, Edwards rode a wonderful race, Nicky was fantastic but so unlucky, Andrea and Jorge also did a great job. We feel sorry for Randy, he was very unlucky on the first lap."
Pedrosa's awesome consistency gave him his eighth podium from the first nine races, which puts him four points ahead of Rossi in the points chase. "I'm happy with this result and I'm happy to be in the World Championship lead once again," said the Spaniard. "Now we need to keep working hard because we must try to close the gap over the next few races."
Edwards was delighted with his second podium of the year. "It was a long race, I kept pushing and we got there in the end," said the Texan who had been 12th at the end of the first lap after getting tangled up in the Rossi/de Puniet incident. "My thanks go to the all Michelin guys for coming up with some great stuff again, that really helped my charge this afternoon."