MotoGP – Pedrosa Triumphs at Sachsenring, Halts Lorenzo’s Winning Streak

The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring provided a thrilling afternoon’s racing, with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa taking his second win of the season ahead of compatriot Jorge Lorenzo. A red flag, caused by a 3-bike crash just after nine laps meant the race was restarted, and staged a 21-lap ‘second’ race.

Starting from pole for the fourth race in a row, Lorenzo of Fiat Yamaha lost ground to Pedrosa at the start but retook the lead on the first lap and led the way by a couple of tenths for the first nine laps.

Then an incident involving three riders had caused the race to be red-flagged and, with positions then taken from the end of the ninth lap, that left the top five in almost their original grid order of Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi – who just returned from a broken leg.

Aleix Espargaro, Alvaro Bautista and Randy de Puniet involved in a 3 -bike pile up that brought out the red flag.

Thirteen riders restarted the race and it was the same story all over again, with Pedrosa passing Lorenzo into turn one but the championship-leader getting back through before the end of the first lap.

The next few laps saw the two Spanish riders in some superb wheel-to-wheel action as Lorenzo tried and failed to shake Pedrosa off, the pair maintaining a nail-biting distance of about a tenth for several laps.

On lap nine Pedrosa again passed Lorenzo, and this time he made it stick for good. He then increased the gap between them and eventually crossed the finish line more than 3 seconds in front of Lorenzo.

Meanwhile the final six laps saw some superb action between two rivals – Rossi and Stoner, with Rossi looking as if he had never been away and several brilliant overtaking manoeuvres from both riders.

On the penultimate lap Rossi took third in what looked like a decisive move but on the final corner Stoner somehow found a way back through and the nine-time World Champion was forced to settle for fourth, albeit probably the most impressive fourth position of his career.

The race was watched by 98,477 fans in warm but overcast conditions. Lorenzo’s championship lead now stands at 47 points from Pedrosa, whilst Rossi moves up one place to sixth. The paddock now heads directly to Laguna Seca in California for the US Grand Prix in one week time.

Dani Pedrosa : “This victory is even better than the one in Italy because at Mugello I just went away in front and there was no battle with anybody, but here I was battling with Lorenzo in the first and second race, and finally beat him, so this is even more important. I’m very happy because we are back to winning races and it’s a great feeling. It wasn’t easy today because when the race is stopped and restarted like that, sometimes you don’t have the same feeling on the machine in the second part. Also you get nervous again on the grid and it’s possible you won’t have the same pace after the restart. But it went very well for us in both races. “We just made one small change with the rear suspension to get a bit more traction for the second race. I made another good start and in the first laps after Lorenzo had passed me I was pushing very hard to try to take him back. I couldn’t do it with my first attempt, but when I got a second chance I just went for it.”

Jorge Lorenzo : “It’s always difficult when a race is split like this and I think I didn’t ride quite as well in the second race as I felt I had been doing in the first. Dani was very, very strong and I was on the limit trying to stay ahead. When he passed me I tried briefly to stay with him but he was much faster than me today and I was going to have to take a lot of risks to stay with him; the safest thing for me to do was finish second and take 20 points for the championship. I am happy because I never really liked this track and now I’ve been second here two years in a row. Now we go to Laguna and I am very excited about racing there again.”

Casey Stoner : “I thought it was going to affect us in a bad way but it actually helped us slightly. In the first part of the race we had a new rear tyre that wasn’t producing the grip that the tyres had been all weekend. I just wasn’t able to keep up with the lap times being set by Dani and Jorge. For the second part of the race we went back to a tyre we were using in qualifying yesterday so it already had laps on it, and immediately it felt better with more grip and a better feeling in mid-turn. We were able to run a lot faster lap times, maybe three or four-tenths of a second consistently. I tried to chase the top two down but didn’t quite have the pace. I saw Valentino coming and he had a much higher pace than me and I thought he would just take off if he got past. So I tried to do everything I could to stay with him and when I got an opportunity to overtake him it came down to the last two laps. We had a few nice passes and I just had to go for it in the last corner, and it worked out. I’m pretty happy with the result, and we managed to pick up points when we needed to.”

Valentino Rossi : “I didn’t expect this! I thought it was maybe possible to make fourth or fifth place but I thought it would be very difficult. In the end I was fourth but I had a great battle with Casey and I was so close to the podium, so this is a fantastic result after missing four races. I need some more kilometres to really recover the feeling and feel completely okay with the bike again, but I think I did a great job and this was a very good comeback, better than we could wish for. I felt a bit of pain in my shoulder but more in the leg when changing direction, but at the end the battle with Casey was such fun that I didn’t think about it. Unfortunately though he just got the better of me on the last corner! Thanks to all my team for helping me come back and be competitive like this, we will try to do even better in Laguna.”

Andrea Dovizioso : “I really gave it everything so of course I cannot be happy to finish fifth, especially after qualifying in fourth. I was simply not fast enough to stay with the top riders in the race and in fact I was riding very aggressively and maybe even overriding a little to try and stay with them. When you do this you use up the tyres quicker and also use more energy so I knew it wasn’t the right way, but I had to try to stay with the front runners. This weekend we didn’t quite find the right electronics set-up and machine settings, and between the first and second parts of the race we tried to change some electronics settings because the set-up was not 100% in the first part. I was losing a lot in turn seven, turn 12 and on the straight because I didn’t have the perfect set-up to use all the potential of the bike.”

Race Results :

1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 28’50.476
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 3.355
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team + 5.257
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 5.623
5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team + 17.158
6. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 17.757
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team + 17.935
8. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 20.957
9. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team + 22.000
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 35.217
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 45.042
12. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP + 45.204

DNF :

13. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 21 Lap

DNS :

Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team

Championship Standings :

1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 185
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 138
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 102
4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 83
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 78
6. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 74
7. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 69
8. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 67
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 49
10. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 45
11. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 41
12. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 39
13. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 30
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 28
15. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 25
16. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 24
17. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 18
18. Alex de Angelis (ITA) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
19. Kousuke Akiyoshi (JPN) Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
20. Wataru Yoshikawa (JPN) Fiat Yamaha Team 1

Photo : Fiat Yamaha Team / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / MotoGP

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