Rossi strikes back at Jerez to take victory2007-03-25 09:06
Valentino Rossi bowled over all challengers to take victory at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España and put himself at the head of the overall classification. The five-time MotoGP World Champion was never troubled after passing poleman Dani Pedrosa midway through the opening lap, and ended his five-race winless streak with a masterful display of how to lead a Grand Prix.
'The Doctor' has won at Jerez on four previous occasions, and marked victory number five with a special celebration alongside his fan club. Decked out in skittle costumes, the group fell at the Italian's feet as he gave them an underarm bowl on his parade lap. His triumph makes him the first rider to win races on 500cc, 990cc and 800cc machines at the highest level.
Hyped up as a battle between Rossi and Pedrosa for dominance of the Spanish circuit, the race never really became a duel between the two riders. As the Fiat Yamaha rider continually upped his race pace, Pedrosa was left with little to do but follow his rival into second. Whilst clearly unable to keep up with Rossi, he was likewise unfazed by the presence of third placed Colin Edwards nearly three seconds behind him. For the 'Texan Tornado' the Gran Premio bwin.com de España marked a welcome return to the podium after an assured ride.
Aiming to give the Spanish fans another reason to be happy, Toni Elias was right up there with Rossi's fastest speeds although starting from further down the grid. The exciting rider finished in fourth after some excellent overtaking, just edging out Casey Stoner who couldn't repeat his dominance from two weeks ago. The Australian Ducati rider was once again mature in his overtaking choices, and was rewarded with some valuable points for the World Championship.
Carlos Checa, starting from the front row for the first time since 2005, rounded off the top six, ahead of reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden. 'The Kentucky Kid' made a fantastic start, but was unable to get near the leaders and dropped off towards the end of the race. Marco Melandri, Chris Vermeulen and Shinya Nakano completed the top ten.
John Hopkins suffered a crash on lap 16, having just overtaken Hayden for fourth, but picked the Suzuki GSV-R800 up to finish the race, albeit in 19th. The brave Anglo-American was once again racing despite pain in his right hand.
After having dominated the 250cc class for the whole weekend at his home track, Jorge Lorenzo gave the thousands of fans gathered at Jerez reason to celebrate with a superb victory.
In his post-race celebration, Lorenzo ran to the gravel trap and planted down a flag marking his territory. And he could rightfully call the Spanish circuit 'Lorenzo's Land' after taking his second quarter litre victory at the track in as many years.
That is not to say that the factory Aprilia rider had things easy- far from it. Second placed Alvaro Bautista and third placed Andrea Dovizioso all took turns in leading the race, exchanging positions at a dizzying rate. The former managed to complete a home one-two ahead of the 2006 World Championship runner-up, competing in only his second 250cc race. Dovizioso was displaying a newfound aggression as he rode to a podium finish, not allowing himself to be pushed out of the running. A small wobble from Bautista at the Dry Sack corner held up the duo and allowed Lorenzo to finally build a small gap, which he maintained until the finish line.
A dramatic 125cc race saw Gabor Talmacsi take victory in a photo finish. The Hungarian, on the receiving end of a slipstreaming manoeuvre from team-mate Hector Faubel at the opening round in Qatar, this time ousted Czech rider Lukas Pesek from the top spot after a tense game of cat-and-mouse.
The two were out on their own for most of the race, breaking away from the pack with Pesek closing down the Master MVA Aspar rider all the way. Tactics came into play, with the Derbi man content to stalk Talmacsi for the duration and even at one point declining an invitation from his rival to take the lead. Pesek left his move late, overtaking on one of the final corners but, after a few hairy moments in the sprint to the line, was just pipped to the chequered flag and his elusive first 125cc victory.
Hector Faubel was the only Spanish representative on the podium, taking third ahead of countryman Pol Espargaro. The latter had an amazing race, starting awesomely and maintaining a cool head whilst battling with such riders as Sergio Gadea and Pablo Nieto, who completed the top six.
Sandro Cortese, Joan Olive, Michael Ranseder and Lorenzo Zanetti made up the remainder of the top ten.
An exciting first race took place in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, where Lorenzo Savadori took another Italian victory on the final lap. Luis Salom did well to make a save on the final lap to prevent highsiding his KTM kit, and took second ahead of French Rider Johann Zarco.
The race was an excellent show of the abilities gained by the riders during the past few months, and provided all the excitement of a World Championship round towards the end. There were light crashes for leading riders Cameron Beaubier and Jamie Mossey in the latter stages, and the duo will be sure to learn from this over the coming races. The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is next back on track at the Gran Premio Italia Alice at Mugello.
The next race of the 2007 season takes place in Turkey on April 22nd.
Source: Dorna Communications
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