Rookie Pedrosa gives racing masterclass at Donington Park

2006-07-02 08:23
Dani Pedrosa put on a dominant performance this afternoon to win the GAS British Grand Prix at Donington Park. The Spanish rookie started from pole position, but after losing the holeshot he had to wait 11 laps before finally passing Marco Melandri. Pedrosa had run wide whilst attempting to pass the Italian on lap 4, but it was the only moment of worry for the talented Repsol Honda rider.

Pedrosa would eventually go on to win the race by over three and a half seconds, blissfully unaware of the scrap for podium positions behind him. His victory moves him within 26 points of his teammate and championship leader Nicky Hayden, who could only manage seventh today as his title rivals cut chunks out of his sizeable lead.

The podium spots were decided after a last lap dice between Valentino Rossi and Marco Melandri. Rossi had ridden a superb race from twelfth on the grid, clawing his way through the field. The reigning World Champion was up to fifth by the halfway point of the race, and continued his ascension through the top six before the epic final lap battle with Melandri, in which he came out on top after Melandri ran wide on the Melbourne Loop hairpin.

Casey Stoner and Kenny Roberts Jr had also tussled for podium positions after starting well, eventually finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Colin Edwards finished ahead of Nicky Hayden in sixth, revenge of sorts for last weekend's final lap at Assen. John Hopkins started the race well once again, but faded in the second half to come home eighth. The injured Loris Capirossi and Carlos Checa completed the top ten.

250cc

Jorge Lorenzo took a second uncontested victory in the 250cc GAS British Grand Prix, taking victory by more than six seconds to repeat his runaway Assen performance. The Spaniard led from pole position, with main title rival Andrea Dovizioso doing a remarkable job of sticking with the Fortuna Aprilia rider. However, a crash from the Italian whilst in hot pursuit left Lorenzo to complete the race in relative isolation.

Alex de Angelis put in a superb pass on Hiroshi Aoyama on the final lap, forcing the Japanese rider wide as he attempted to take back the position. Roberto Locatelli had yet another noteworthy performance, and took fourth ahead of the returning Hector Barbera and the luckless Dovizioso who had picked his bike up after his slide. His team-mate Yuki Takahashi, Sylvain Guintoli and Anthony West were eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Marco Simoncelli rounded off the top ten despite suffering a crash on the closing laps.

The British victory puts Lorenzo just one point behind Dovizioso in the classification.

125cc

Alvaro Bautista completed a Spanish triple crown of wins at Donington Park, and like the two classes to race before him, he did it in dominating fashion. The Aprilia rider had started from pole position, although did not get to the front of the pack until the third lap. He then opened up a huge gap to the duo battling behind him, Mika Kallio and Mattia Pasini, eventually crossing the line with three and a half seconds to spare.

A daring last corner manoeuvre saw Finland's Kallio reduce the damage to his title chances to the minimum as he took second, with Pasini coming home four hundredths of a second behind. Bautista's team-mates Hector Faubel and Sergio Gadea completed the top five, with Joan Olive, Lukas Pesek, Thomas Luthi, Nico Terol and Gabor Talmacsi rounding off the top ten.

There was some cheer for British racefans meanwhile, as 15 year-old Bradley Smith took his first World Championship points at his home race. The Repsol Honda rider came home in twelfth place (4pts) after having finished the last two races in sixteenth spot and just outside the points.


1st. Dani Pedrosa (Honda):

"I'm very happy to be first. Overall it was a fantastic weekend. I want to thank my team and all the people around me for a great job, the whole weekend was good through practice to the race itself. At the beginning it was difficult, I had a good start, perfect when compared to other races. I couldn't brake any more on lap four and I ran wide but I was able to come back to take the lead."

2nd. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha):

"For sure it was a great race for the people watching and for me, it was almost like a victory. It has been a difficult week after Assen and the crash, I made a huge effort to be here in good shape, and my wrist didn't feel so bad during the race, Doctor Costa and my physiotherapists did a good job, I didn't have my maximum power but it was good.
This weekend we struggled with the bike, usually we are excellent here but this time it was always a case of fighting against it. We prepared a new setting and a new tyre this morning for the warm-up, but then it rained so by race time everything was new to us and I needed laps to find my rhythm. It was a great battle with Marco at the end."

3rd. Marco Melandri (Honda):

"It was so hard at every point, after a few laps I was little tired but told myself to continue. The doctors helped me to earn this good result. I'm not so happy about the first part of the race though, I had changed my settings from yesterday and with a full tank it was really hard to control the bike, my rear tyre was sliding but later on it got better. I found a good rhythm alongside Valentino and tried to pass him... I thought that I could fight for second place, unfortunately on the last hairpin I hit the brakes but was going too fast and ran wide. It's a good result but I'm still a little disappointed."



Source: Dorna Communications
Photo: Honda Pro Image


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