STONER SECOND IN LAGUNA BLOCKBUSTER, MELANDRI OUT OF LUCK AGAIN Casey Stoner took second place in the US Grand Prix today after an incredible battle with Valentino Rossi. With Ducati Desmosedici RR owner Tom Cruise watching from pit wall, Stoner...
STONER SECOND IN LAGUNA BLOCKBUSTER, MELANDRI OUT OF LUCK AGAIN
Casey Stoner took second place in the US Grand Prix today after an incredible battle with Valentino Rossi. With Ducati Desmosedici RR owner Tom Cruise watching from pit wall, Stoner launched from pole position and was immediately pursued by the Italian, with the pair swapping positions as they left the rest of the field trailing.
The stage was set for a big-screen finale but a rare mistake from the Australian in the final turn, just eight laps from the end, saw him run wide into the dirt and drop his Ducati as the front end dipped into the deep gravel. A huge gap of more than 20 seconds over third-placed Chris Vermeulen allowed Stoner to return to the race in second place, but there weren't enough laps left for him to hunt down Rossi.
Marco Melandri carried some excellent progress with the set-up of his bike into today's race, moving up from 15th on the grid to ninth place by lap ten, only for his charge to be halted by an unfortunate crash in turn one. The MotoGP World Championship now takes its traditional summer break before action resumes at Brno in the Czech Republic on August 17th.
CASEY STONER (Ducati MotoGP Team) 2nd
"At the end of the day I'm not happy because I've made a mistake and it has cost me the chance to win this race, but I also think that even if he rode a great race, some of Valentino's moves early in the race were too aggressive. Anyway, we can't do anything about that now - the important thing is that we've come away from here with 20 valuable points and after being written off in some quarters four races ago we now go on our summer holiday with a fighting chance of winning the title again. We're 25 points behind, which is a big gap, but there are seven races left and a lot can happen. We can take a lot of positives out of this weekend - mainly the fact that all the hard work by everybody at Ducati and Bridgestone has paid off again."
MARCO MELANDRI (Ducati MotoGP Team) 16th
"I hit a marker or something going into turn one and my hand came off the handlebar, so I couldn't get the bike turned. I took a heavy blow to my hand in the crash and needed a couple of laps to get back into the race because I wasn't sure how bad the injury was. The pain started to subside eventually but I was way back, lapping alone. I'm disappointed because after the first two or three laps I had a good pace together. It's a shame because it's another potentially good result ruined. I'm particularly sorry for the team because they have made a fantastic job and they deserved a good result".
LIVIO SUPPO (Ducati MotoGP Project Leader)
"It was a very tight race, spectacular to watch and evidence that it is not only the electronics that make the difference in this sport, but two riders who are one step above everybody else at the moment. Dani is also a part of that small club but unfortunately he wasn't here today. After three straight victories for Casey, today was Valentino's turn, that's fair enough. For sure if Casey had not shown a tremendous coolness and maturity, there would have been at least a few occasions in which they both could have crashed as a result of manoeuvres which, in our opinion, were a bit over the limit on Vale's part. Unfortunately Casey made a mistake that cost him dearly, but this can happen in the heat of the battle and, in any case, we've ended this period of the season in positive style. Unfortunately Marco was really unlucky. It's a shame because he was setting a good pace."