Ducati rider Casey Stoner won today's MotoGP race at Assen in Holland. Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden looked set to score their first double podium of the season at Assen today.
Impressive Pedrosa finished the race a strong second to retake the World Championship lead at the halfway point of the 2008 MotoGP series. Hayden ran strong too, just a few seconds down on his team-mate throughout, until his bike suddenly slowed within sight of the finish. The American coasted over the line in fourth, just seconds after compatriot Colin Edwards had passed him to snatch third place.
The race began under threatening skies but the rain stayed away as the Repsol Honda duo quickly established themselves in second and third behind winner Casey Stoner. HRC technicians are now examining Hayden’s RC212V to discover the exact cause of his end-of-race electronics problem.
Colin Edwards made a stunning surge from the back of the field and was rewarded with third place. For the second time in three years, Edwards was involved in dramatic incident at the final chicane with Nicky Hayden as he snatched third from his fellow American just meters from the finish line.
Fourth at the start of the last lap, Edwards produced a brilliant display of overtaking to come from dead last on the opening lap as he narrowly avoiding an early tangle between Valentino Rossi and Randy de Puniet.
Producing lap times close the formidable pace set by eventual winner Casey Stoner, Edwards fought his way back into seventh when he passed Jorge Lorenzo on lap 10. He then quickly closed on an exciting battle for fourth that included Chris Vermeulen, Andrea Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano.
Reeling off a succession of personal best laps, Edwards passed Nakano at the start of lap 13 and a lap later claimed fourth with brilliant moves on Vermeulen and Dovizioso. Trailing Hayden by over seven seconds on lap 15, Edwards halved the deficit by the last lap, but having settled for fourth, he grabbed third with Hayden encountering machine problems exiting the final corner. Today's result was Edwards' second podium of 2008 and moved him to within 16-points of Lorenzo in fourth place in the championship standings.
Afterward Dani Pedrosa, the new World Championship leader had this to say: “I’m happy with this result because it was a difficult race and I’m happy to be in the World Championship lead once again, the 20 points we got here are very important. We’ve struggled a little bit during practice here, but my team have worked really hard, so a big thanks to all of them. Yesterday I was able to qualify on a MotoGP front row for the first time at Assen. Today I did my best in the race but unfortunately we couldn’t go with Casey because he was so fast. Now we need to keep working hard because we must try to close the gap over the next few races.
Sachsenring is next. We had a great win there last year and we will try to the same again this year.”
MOTOGP RACE 1. C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 42'12.337 2 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 11.310 3 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 17.125 4 N. HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team + 20.477 5 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 27.346 6 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 28.608 7 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 32.330 8 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 34.892 9 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 38.566 10 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 38.817 11 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team + 46.025 12 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 48.213 13 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team + 59.594
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 1 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 171. 2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 167 3 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 142 4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 114 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha 98 6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP 79 7 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team 70 8 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 60 9 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 57 10 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 57 11 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 51 12 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team 33 13 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team 32 14 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 32 15 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 25 16 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team 24 17 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 22 18 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team 16 19 Ben SPIES USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 2 20 Tadayuki OKADA JPN Repsol Honda Team 2
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