Rossi hangs on to win German thriller2006-07-16 20:50
Valentino Rossi took a spectacular victory in today's betandwin.com Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, moving up to second in the overall classification in front of 93,748 motorbike racing aficionados. The Italian led a pack of four of which any rider was in with a chance for the win up to the final corner, the most prominent of whom was compatriot Marco Melandri.
Fortuna Honda's Italian rider, racing with a fractured collarbone, was just unable to hold out on the final lap having cheekily dived through just a lap before. As the young pretender made a daring manoeuvre to pass Rossi on the fastest corner on the circuit, the reigning World Champion bravely held firm and subsequently closed the door on the final two bends to close out a thrilling win.
Rossi had started the race from down in tenth spot on the grid after disappointing in practice, and it was left to the Repsol Honda duo Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa to make the early pace. They fought amongst themselves and the front two for the entire race, taking turns in leading. With fourth-placed Pedrosa finishing just over three hundredths of a second behind Rossi, it was an indication of just how close the finish really was.
Loris Capirossi headed a trailing twosome of himself and Shinya Nakano, whilst Chris Vermeulen and Sete Gibernau completed a pack of Bridgestone riders. Carlos Checa and John Hopkins rounded off the top ten.
There was heartbreak for Makoto Tamada on lap thirteen, as the Konica Minolta rider was caught up in a crash with Kenny Roberts whilst on flying form, challenging for the top positions in a fearless display. Tamada became entangled in Roberts' bike, but was able to escape without serious injury.
Rossi celebrated in his own inimitable style, donning an Italian football shirt adorned with the name of controversial star Marco Materazzi. He now trails Hayden in the championship by just 26 points, heading into the American's home race at Laguna Seca.
Casey Stoner was forced to miss the race having suffered a crash during the morning warm-up. LCR Honda's Australian rider was diagnosed with a concussion and bruising of the hands.
Yuki Takahashi took his second 250cc victory of 2006 after a sensational final corner move. The Japanese rider hadn't led the field at any point up until the ascending turn, and had caught up with de Angelis on a sensational last lap. The win represents Honda's 200th victory in the quarter litre category.
The result was cruel to de Angelis, who had led the race since lap nine, at one point looking to be out of the reaches of the trailing pack. The San Marino native tried to regain the lead on the line, but with his front wheel lifting was unable to take the top spot.
Jorge Lorenzo took third in the race, which puts him back on top of the 250cc World Championship. The Spaniard had a bad start from pole, but by lap two had regained the lead before battling first with de Angelis, then with Takahashi, Andrea Dovizioso and team-mate Hector Barbera. Dovizioso came in fourth, ahead of Barbera, Roberto Locatelli, Anthony West, Aoyama brothers Hiroshi and Shuhei, and Sylvain Guintoli.
Mattia Pasini took a tight victory over team-mate and championship leader Alvaro Bautista at the Sachsenring Circuit in the 125cc Grand Prix, passing the chequered flag just 0.010s ahead of his Spanish counterpart.
After the opening laps, it became clear that the winner would come from one of three. The Two Master MVA Aspar riders had stiff competition from poleman Lukas Pesek, who took off with his rivals early and led intermittently on the closing laps. The Czech rider eventually came in third, ahead of Hector Faubel, Simone Corsi, Thomas Luthi and Nico Terol. Bautista's nearest title rival Mika Kallio saw the gap between the two increase after he could only manage a disappointing eighth at the German track. Joan Olive and Sergio Gadea completed the top ten.
Repsol Honda's young British rider Bradley Smith earned his second consecutive points finish, coming in twelfth after a last lap burst.
The 250cc and 125cc categories start their summer break now, with their next race taking place at Brno at the end of August. The premier MotoGP class heads immediately across the Atlantic Ocean for the Red Bull US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.
1st, Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) :
"It was an unbelievable race for me and the team, because in practice we were always struggling. I need to say sorry to my M1, because yesterday was the first time that I doubted if I could win. Big thanks to Jeremy and all the mechanics, they changed some things this morning and again this afternoon. Today the M1 flew and Michelin helped so much. It was a great start, but escaping from the others was impossible. I had another great battle with Marco, and in the end I was able to cross the line in front. Also, I have to mention this; Italy are football World Champions so it is a good sign."
2nd, Marco Melandri (Honda) :
"Another fight with Valentino, it was for second at Donington and for the win here. Valentino was so fast, and my rhythm was not too good, although following people it wasn't as bad. I wanted to pass Valentino but the moment was wrong and he was too strong. On the last two corners he closed the door on me, so I tried on the outside. If I fight like that every Sunday then I'm sure that I can win again this season."
3rd, Nicky Hayden (Honda) :
"Once I'd got past Dani then I thought that I might have a chance. I didn't want to overtake just one of Valentino and Marco, make a mistake and then let Dani get me again. I thought that at the bottom of the hill Marco might open the door for me, but he moved earlier than I thought and I wasn't able to capitalise. I'm not completely satisfied, because normally it's a good track for me. Today I had a good shot but couldn't get it done, although I enjoyed the battle and the team did a great job."
Source: Dorna Communications
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