ROSSI WINS, STONER FALLS, NO GRIP FOR PEDROSA

2008-08-17 09:48
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) put one hand on the 2008 World Championship here at Brno today when he won from Toni Elias (Ducati) with seasoned campaigner Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) third.

With Casey Stoner (Ducati) falling on lap seven and failing to score, and with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) collecting just one point for a gutsy 15th place riding with little grip and even less confidence from poorly performing tyres, Rossi has all but secured the title. With six rounds left and holding a 50-point lead, it is effectively now his to lose.

Stoner romped into the lead from pole as extinguished lights signalled the start of a 22-lap race around the majestic dips and curves of this 5.403km woodland circuit. Hopkins and Rossi chased him from the front row with Rossi eventually getting the better of the unyielding Hopkins for second.

Dani had powered from 12th on the grid to sixth from the start, his trademark rapid launch serving him well after qualifying so low. But as the pace hotted up it was abundantly clear his rubber was not up to the demands of this newly resurfaced track and he dropped back lap by lap.

Anthony West (Kawasaki) moved up to fourth from sixth on the grid as Stoner established a 0.6 second lead by the halfway point of lap one. By the end of that opening lap it was a 1.1 second lead and Rossi was giving it everything to stay in touch with the flying Aussie.

Dani was hanging onto sixth but by lap two he'd slipped back to eighth. There was nothing he could do about abject lack of grip, from his front tyre in particular. All the Michelin riders were suffering here to a degree not seen before in MotoGP.

By lap four Rossi had stabilised Stoner's lead. Having pushed his advantage to 1.3 seconds Stoner now had to find more to put distance between his Ducati and the chasing Rossi. He found it with a fastest lap on lap five, but on lap seven Stoner's title challenge derailed.

He lost the front end of his machine, tumbled into the gravel, and despite frantic efforts to restart and rejoin the race he parked his bike and trudged back to the pits. Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) also crashed on this lap but managed to get back on track to finish the race in 16th place.

Rossi now led the Suzukis of Chris Vermeulen and Loris Capirossi by 12 seconds. There was no way he was going to be caught and, with no pressure from title rivals, unlikely he would make an error. Sure enough he kept his composure to win by 15 seconds from Elias.

There was action aplenty downfield. Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) had hoisted himself to seventh, Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) lay ninth and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) tenth, while a four-rider fight for fourth ensued.

Capirossi, Vermeulen, Hopkins and the rapid Elias were battling it out before it became clear that Elias had the measure of them all. He eased away to secure second while a hard-charging Nakano hauled himself up from seventh mid-race to fourth at the flag, and highest Honda finisher.

Dovizioso was the highest-placed Michelin-shod Honda rider in ninth place, one place behind De Angelis. Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) did not ride this weekend after injuring his foot at the Los Angeles X Games earlier this month.

Fourth-placed Nakano said: "We took another step forward with the new bike today although I have to say that it has not been easy to get this result. We came to Brno without any test data but the team did a great job with the set-up. I'm just disappointed I lost positions at the start because I made contact with another rider, but at the same time satisfied to have recovered and finished the race in fourth — a result I can be pleased with."

His team-mate De Angelis, eighth, said: "Even if I finished the race as the best of the RC212V satellite riders today's result isn't too satisfying because we were expecting to finish in the top six. We weren't too far off that target but this wasn't the race we'd imagined. Unfortunately after the first lap, when I lost several positions, I made several passes but lost position to other riders who were faster down the straights. Tomorrow we'll make the most of the test here at Brno to continue to improve ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix, which is of special importance to me."

Dovi, ninth, said: "My goal for the race was to be the first Michelin rider home, which is what I have achieved, but things were too difficult to do better. I started fully motivated and wanting to give the maximum and exploit fully the material at our disposal, but today I cannot be satisfied with the result. I had difficulty with the front tyre and was forced to change my style of riding, which meant not being able to exploit my speed in the corners."

Dani, 15th, said: "This weekend has been a complete disaster — probably the worst of my career. In fact I couldn't even race today, all I could do was ride; I couldn't control the bike, I didn't feel safe. I was riding so slow I felt ashamed. I considered stopping but I stayed out there to get some points. We really need a drastic improvement from the
tyres. I had no grip at the front and no grip at the rear, from the first lap to the last. It was therefore impossible for me to push any harder. I almost crashed twice, so I just tried to finish the race. At the end the tyre performance was even worse than during the early laps."

De Puniet, 16th, said: "Honestly I'm very angry. I made a good start but couldn't race as I wanted and was struggling a lot for front-end feel. Many riders passed me in the corner entries and in the first laps I lost the front a few times. So I decided to slow down but the feeling with the front was very bad. When I tried to pass Pedrosa in the chicane I crashed out in the gravel but rejoined the race. I suffered the same crash of Friday afternoon and, although my crew worked hard to find a solution, we did not solve the problem with the front tyre."

Rossi now has 237 points, Stoner 187 and Dani 172. The next round of six remaining is at San Marino, Italy on the weekend of August 31st.


250cc Grand Prix

Alex Debon (Aprilia) took a finely judged win ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) who was second and Marco Simoncelli (Derbi) who was relegated to third after being in the hunt for the win for much of this 20-lap race.

Simoncelli led into turn one before Thomas Luthi (Aprilia) stole past him to exploit an open track. Luthi would then drop back a place before crashing out while trying to hold second place. The race then became a Debon, Bautsista, Simoncelli show as they headed Mika Kallio (KTM) and Hector Barbera (Aprilia) in fourth and fifth by 1.5 seconds with five laps to go.

Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) finished a strong sixth, nudging ahead of Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) as they crossed the line. Ratthapark Wilairot (Thai Honda PTT SAG RS250RW) rode to 11th after starting from 20th on the grid.

Takahashi said: "I'm very satisfied with the result today, because I have taken important points for the standings and I gave my maximum in the race. I started well but in the third corner I ended up on the dirt and in danger of crashing, this made me lose time and I was down in eleventh position. It was difficult, but I never gave up and on the last lap I reached Pasini and I managed to pass him before the chequered flag. We are all encouraged now to do as best we can the next Grand Prix at Misano, my 'second home race' because I live in Italy near the circuit."

Wilairot said: "It was a strange weekend, practice sessions were really complicated because of the rainy weather and a lack of feeling with the bike. But today everything changed. I made a good start, but in the first five laps it was difficult for me to pass Fabrizio Lai because he rode at a slower pace and braked very late. Finally I got past and got to finish in 11th, I'm really happy with the whole team who have worked very hard and never lost the trust in me to have a good race."

The World Championship points table now shows Simoncelli out in front with 180 points to the 164 of Mika Kallio, who was fifth here today. Debon lies third with 139 points and Bautista is fourth on 138.


125cc Grand Prix

Stefan Bradl (Aprilia) won the first Grand Prix of his career ahead of World Championship points leader Mike Di Meglio who finished second and Joan Olive in third (both Derbi). Bradl's father Helmut won here on a 250cc Honda in 1991.

Bradley Smith (Aprilia) launched off the line to head the pack into turn one but as early as lap three Bradl took charge of this 19-lap race and always looked as if he'd be in the mix for the podium places at the end. So it proved.

By mid-race Bradl set a fastest lap of 2m 08.923s and barring any lapses in concentration or mechanical disasters it was his race. Di Meglio collected useful points in second while Olive deprived Hungarian 'local' Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) of a podium.

Honda's representative in this class Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) finished 29th and said: "This was my first time on this difficult racetrack. I improved on my qualifying time by 3.5 seconds, which is enormous. I had a good start and was part of a group. Unfortunately I couldn't stay with them until the end of the race. I had some chatter when leant over and I failed to keep up. It's a shame."

Di Meglio heads the World Championship with 186 points to the 142 of Simone Corsi (Aprilia) who finished tenth here today. Bradl is third with 126 points and reigning World Champion Talmacsi fourth with 122.



Honda rider quotes. GP CZ Final qualifying August 16, 2008.

MotoGP:

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 4th.
"We took another step forward with the new bike today although I have to say that it has not been easy to get this result. We came to Brno without any test data but the team did a great job with the set-up. I want to thank Honda and Team Gresini for giving me the chance to ride this bike, which represents a great opportunity for me to improve on the results we've managed so far. I'm just disappointed that I lost positions at the start because I made contact with another rider but at the same time satisfied to have recovered and finished the race in fourth — a result I can be pleased with."

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 8th.
"Even I finished the race as the best of the RC212V satellite riders today's result isn't too satisfying because we were expecting to finish in the top six. We weren't too far off that target but this wasn't the race we'd imagined. Unfortunately after the first lap, when I lost several positions, I made several passes but lost the position to other riders who were faster down the straights. Tomorrow we'll make the most of the test here at Brno to continue to improve ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix, which is of special importance to me."

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 9th.
"My goal for the race was to be the first Michelin rider home, which is what I have achieved, but things were too difficult to do better. I started fully motivated and wanting to give the maximum and exploit fully the material at our disposal, but today I cannot be satisfied with the result. I had difficulty with the front tyre and was forced to change my style of riding, which meant not being able to exploit my speed in the corners. I had to stop hard and fire the bike out of the corners, rather than have a smoother style. This difficulty penalised us in the race."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 15th.
"This weekend has been a complete disaster. Today's race was the probably worst of my career. In fact I couldn't even race today, all I could do was ride. I couldn't control the bike, I didn't feel safe. I was riding so slow, I felt impotent and ashamed. I considered stopping but I stayed out there to get some points. We really need a drastic improvement from the tyres. I had no grip at the front and no grip at the rear, from the first lap to the last. It was therefore impossible for me to push any harder, even though I was going very slow, three or four seconds slower than the leader. I almost crashed twice, so I just tried to finish the race. I did my best in very difficult circumstances, at the end the tyre performance was even worse than it had been during the early laps."


Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 16th.
"Honestly I'm very angry. I made a good start but couldn't race as I wanted and was struggling a lot for front-end feel. Many riders passed me in the corner entries and in the first laps I lost the front a few times. So I decided to slow down but the feeling with the front was very bad. When I tried to pass Pedrosa in the chicane I crashed out in the gravel but rejoined the race. I suffered the same crash of Friday afternoon and, although my crew worked hard to find a solution, we did not solve the problem with the front tyre."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: Will did race due to injuries sustained at X Games Supermoto event in Los Angeles on August 1.


250cc:

Yukio Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 6th.
"I am very satisfied with the result today, because I have taken important points for the standings and I gave my very maximum in the race. I started well but in the third corner I ended up on the dirt and in danger of crashing, this made me lose time and I was down in eleventh position. It was difficult, but I never gave up and on the last lap I reached Pasini and I managed to pass him before the chequered flag. It was an important weekend for the team and I, because we continually improved and the result today motivates us to continue to do so. We are all encouraged now to do as best we can the next Grand Prix at Misano, my 'second home race' because I live in Italy near the circuit. I thank the team today that has done an excellent job over the whole weekend."

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 11th.
"It was a strange weekend, practice sessions were really complicated because of the rainy weather and a lack of feeling with the bike, I was suffering until I thought I would not qualify. Today everything changed a lot, I've made a good start, but in the first five laps it was difficult for me to pass Fabrizio Lai because he rode at a slow pace but he braked very late, and this fact made it complicated for me to pass him. Finally I've got passed and I got to finish the race in 11th position, for this I'm really happy and I am pleased with my the whole team who have worked very hard and never lost the trust in me to have a good race."

125cc:

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 29th.
"This race was pretty hard as this was my first time on this difficult racetrack. Insofar as we had a lot of rain during the practice session, I was missing riding in dry conditions. Nonetheless during the race I improved by 3.5 seconds on my qualifying time, which is enormous. I had a good start and was part of a group with Alexis Masbou, Robert Muresan, Hugo Van den Berg and Bastien Chesaux. Unfortunately I wasn't able to keep up with them until the end of the race. I had some chattering when leaned over with my Honda and I failed to keep up. It's a real shame but I wasn't able to catch up with them."



Results

MotoGP
Race Classification MotoGP : (22 laps = 118.866 km)
Pos/ Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time/ KM/H / Gap
1 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 43'28.841 / 164.025 /
2 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Alice Team / DUCATI / 43'43.845 / 163.087 / 15.004
3 / Loris CAPIROSSI / ITA / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 43'50.530 / 162.673 / 21.689
4 / Shinya NAKANO / JPN / San Carlo Honda Gresini / HONDA / 43'54.700 / 162.416 / 25.859
5 / Anthony WEST / AUS / Kawasaki Racing Team / KAWASAKI / 43'58.306 / 162.194 / 29.465
6 / Chris VERMEULEN / AUS / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 43'59.449 / 162.123 / 30.608
7 / Marco MELANDRI / ITA / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 44'05.294 / 161.765 / 36.453
8 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / San Carlo Honda Gresini / HONDA / 44'05.591 / 161.747 / 36.750
9 / Andrea DOVIZIOSO / ITA / JiR Team Scot MotoGP / HONDA / 44'07.663 / 161.620 / 38.822
10 / Jorge LORENZO / SPA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 44'08.414 / 161.575 / 39.573
11 / John HOPKINS / USA / Kawasaki Racing Team / KAWASAKI / 44'08.451 / 161.572 / 39.610
12 / Sylvain GUINTOLI / FRA / Alice Team / DUCATI / 44'09.733 / 161.494 / 40.892
13 / James TOSELAND / GBR / Tech 3 Yamaha / YAMAHA / 44'40.331 / 159.651 / 1'11.490
14 / Colin EDWARDS / USA / Tech 3 Yamaha / YAMAHA / 44'49.974 / 159.078 / 1'21.133
15 / Dani PEDROSA / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 45'05.879 / 158.143 / 1'37.038

Pole Position: Casey STONER 2'11.657 147.738 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Casey STONER 1'57.199 165.963 Km/h Lap 5
Circuit Record Lap: Loris CAPIROSSI 1'58.157 164.618 Km/h 2006
Circuit Best Lap: Valentino ROSSI 1'56.191 167.403 Km/h 2006

World Championship Positions:
1 ROSSI 237, 2 STONER 187, 3 PEDROSA 172, 4 LORENZO 120, 5 DOVIZIOSO 110,
6 EDWARDS 102, 7 VERMEULEN 99, 8 HAYDEN 84, 9 NAKANO 83, 10 CAPIROSSI 77,
11 TOSELAND 75, 12 ELIAS 66, 13 DE ANGELIS 49, 14 GUINTOLI 42, 15 MELANDRI 41.



250cc
Race Classification 250cc: (20 laps = 108.06 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Alex DEBON / SPA / Lotus Aprilia / APRILIA / 41'08.168 / 157.613 /
2 / Alvaro BAUTISTA / SPA / Mapfre Aspar Team / APRILIA / 41'08.448 / 157.595 / 0.280
3 / Marco SIMONCELLI / ITA / Metis Gilera / GILERA / 41'08.493 / 157.592 / 0.325
4 / Hector BARBERA / SPA / Team Toth Aprilia / APRILIA / 41'08.995 / 157.560 / 0.827
5 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Red Bull KTM 250 / KTM / 41'09.417 / 157.533 / 1.249
6 / Yuki TAKAHASHI / JPN / JiR Team Scot 250 / HONDA / 41'21.881 / 156.742 / 13.713
7 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / Polaris World / APRILIA / 41'21.994 / 156.735 / 13.826
8 / Hector FAUBEL / SPA / Mapfre Aspar Team / APRILIA / 41'24.194 / 156.596 / 16.026
9 / Roberto LOCATELLI / ITA / Metis Gilera / GILERA / 41'27.252 / 156.403 / 19.084
10 / Aleix ESPARGARO / SPA / Lotus Aprilia / APRILIA / 41'28.860 / 156.302 / 20.692
11 / Ratthapark WILAIROT / THA / Thai Honda PTT SAG / HONDA / 41'37.663 / 155.751 / 29.495
12 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Repsol KTM 250cc / KTM / 41'37.940 / 155.734 / 29.772
13 / Hiroshi AOYAMA / JPN / Red Bull KTM 250 / KTM / 41'40.112 / 155.599 / 31.944
14 / Lukas PESEK / CZE / Auto Kelly - CP / APRILIA / 41'44.482 / 155.327 / 36.314
15 / Alex BALDOLINI / ITA / Matteoni Racing / APRILIA / 41'51.919 / 154.868 / 43.751

Pole Position: Marco SIMONCELLI 2'10.723 148.794 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Alex DEBON 2'02.354 158.971 Km/h Lap 20
Circuit Record Lap: Jorge LORENZO 2'02.299 159.043 Km/h 2007
Circuit Best Lap: Jorge LORENZO 2'01.368 160.263 Km/h 2007

World Championship Positions:
1 SIMONCELLI 180, 2 KALLIO 164, 3 DEBON 139, 4 BAUTISTA 138, 5 BARBERA 126,
6 PASINI 117, 7 AOYAMA 101, 8 TAKAHASHI 95, 9 LUTHI 86, 10 SIMON 72,
11 LOCATELLI 59, 12 ESPARGARO 55, 13 FAUBEL 49, 14 WILAIROT 39, 15 ABRAHAM 25.



125cc:
Race Classification 125cc (19 laps = 102.657 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Stefan BRADL / GER / Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing / APRILIA / 41'05.176 / 149.914 /
2 / Mike DI MEGLIO / FRA / Ajo Motorsport / DERBI / 41'06.057 / 149.860 / 0.881
3 / Joan OLIVE / SPA / Belson Derbi / DERBI / 41'09.246 / 149.667 / 4.070
4 / Gabor TALMACSI / HUN / Bancaja Aspar Team / APRILIA / 41'09.294 / 149.664 / 4.118
5 / Nicolas TEROL / SPA / Jack & Jones WRB / APRILIA / 41'12.224 / 149.486 / 7.048
6 / Bradley SMITH / GBR / Polaris World / APRILIA / 41'14.510 / 149.348 / 9.334
7 / Sandro CORTESE / GER / Emmi - Caffe Latte / APRILIA / 41'17.989 / 149.139 / 12.813
8 / Pol ESPARGARO / SPA / Belson Derbi / DERBI / 41'21.667 / 148.918 / 16.491
9 / Andrea IANNONE / ITA / I.C. Team / APRILIA / 41'22.813 / 148.849 / 17.637
10 / Simone CORSI / ITA / Jack & Jones WRB / APRILIA / 41'23.031 / 148.836 / 17.855
11 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Blusens Aprilia Junior / APRILIA / 41'24.140 / 148.769 / 18.964
12 / Sergio GADEA / SPA / Bancaja Aspar Team / APRILIA / 41'35.096 / 148.116 / 29.920
13 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Repsol KTM 125cc / KTM / 41'43.621 / 147.612 / 38.445
14 / Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Ajo Motorsport / DERBI / 41'59.813 / 146.663 / 54.637
15 / Robin LASSER / GER / Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing / APRILIA / 41'59.973 / 146.654 / 54.797

Pole Position: Gabor TALMACSI 2'09.870 149.771 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Mike DI MEGLIO 2'08.391 151.496 Km/h Lap 11
Circuit Record Lap: Lucio CECCHINELLO 2'07.836 152.154 Km/h 2003
Circuit Best Lap: Gabor TALMACSI 2'06.861 153.323 Km/h 2007

World Championship Positions:
1 DI MEGLIO 186, 2 CORSI 142, 3 BRADL 126, 4 TALMACSI 122, 5 OLIVE 110,
6 TEROL 102, 7 SMITH 89, 8 ESPARGARO 83, 9 CORTESE 77, 10 REDDING 70,
11 IANNONE 67, 12 GADEA 66, 13 BONSEY 39, 14 MARQUEZ 33, 15 DE ROSA 30.

Source: Honda Pro Image

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