Brno: Stoner chokes, Rossi wins
Valentino Rossi once again benefitted from Casey Stoner’s misfortune for a second consecutive MotoGP victory, crossing the finish line first at the Cardion ab Grand Prix Ceske republiky. The Fiat Yamaha rider’s win –coupled with an early crash from his title rival- increased his lead to 50 points in the standings and dealt a crucial strike to his World Championship chances.
|Valentino Rossi speeds to an easy win|
Stoner was caught by surprise on the sixth lap when out at the front. He had over a second of advantage over Rossi after taking the holeshot, but slipped his front wheel out on the new Brno asphalt and was lowsided into the gravel. It was Stoner’s first DNF since his joining the Ducati Marlboro team for the 2007 season.
Ducati were, however, represented on the podium in the Czech Republic, courtesy of Alice Team rider Toni Elias. The Spaniard had experienced problems on the sighting lap –a sign that did not bode well for his race- but burst through the 800cc stars ahead of him from thirteenth on the grid. His second place marks the first podium for both he and his satellite team in 2008, and he became only the second satellite rider to step onto the rostrum this year.
Another podium first came from Loris Capirossi, as the veteran made his maiden appearance on the rostrum for Rizla Suzuki. The Italian had taken off from the end of the third row, but showed that there was still life in his MotoGP career by making Suzuki the fourth manufacturer with which he had taken a top three finish in the premier class.
Shinya Nakano paid back Honda for their decision to supply him with a factory spec RC212V for the remainder of the season, giving an immediate return with fourth place for San Carlo Honda Gresini. The Japanese rider was the highest placing rider for the manufacturer, with Michelin-shod factory man Dani Pedrosa way down in fifteenth place.
Riding for his future in MotoGP, Anthony West had the best result of his premier class career onboard the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR. The Australian came home fifth after a superb ride, holding off fellow countryman Chris Vermeulen.
Marco Melandri finished seventh in a race that will do much to aid his cause, whilst the top ten was completed by Alex de Angelis, Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo. The latter two were the only Michelin riders amongst the first ten past the line.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 1 Time: 43'28.841
"I was confident today because my bike was fast from Friday practice, and with Jeremy we made a small modification to the front after warm-up to allow me to be a bit faster in some sections, and it worked very well. I lost about half a second getting past Hopkins at the start and Casey was incredibly fast at that stage, like he'd already done ten laps! For a short time I was worried but then, after two laps, I understood that my bike was working very well and that I was fast enough to try to catch him. I had closed a little bit already and gradually the red bike was becoming a bit bigger in front of me, and I think this is when he started to push harder and made his mistake. I was anticipating a very hard battle if I did catch him, so when I saw the red bike slide out I could hardly believe it - this made things a lot easier for me! After that I just enjoyed riding my bike; my Bridgestone tires worked very well until the end and my M1 felt very good. Of course I can't count this as a complete victory because Casey fell, and I am sorry for him, but this is racing and I have to be happy with this result. We are 50 points clear which is a lot and I am very excited to be going to Misano in this situation. However we know that 50 points is still not always enough when you have someone as strong as Casey and so we won't relax. Now we have two days of testing and we will try some new electronics in order to help me open the throttle earlier and also, of course, test some Bridgestone tires."
1 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 43'28.841
2 T. ELIAS SPA Alice Team + 15.004
3 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 21.689
4 S. NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini + 25.859
5 A. WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team + 29.465
6 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 30.608
7 M. MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team + 36.453
8 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 36.750
9 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP + 38.822
10 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team + 39.573
11 J. HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team + 39.610
12 S. GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team + 40.892
13 J. TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha + 1'11.490
14 C. EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha + 1'21.133
15 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 1'37.038
16 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 1'38.407
Not classified C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 16 Lap
1 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 237
2 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 187
3 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 172
4 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 120
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA JiR Team Scot MotoGP 110
6 Colin EDWARDS USA Tech 3 Yamaha 102
7 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 99
8 Nicky HAYDEN USA Repsol Honda Team 84
9 Shinya NAKANO JPN San Carlo Honda Gresini 83
10 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 77
11 James TOSELAND GBR Tech 3 Yamaha 75
12 Toni ELIAS SPA Alice Team 66
13 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 49
14 Sylvain GUINTOLI FRA Alice Team 42
15 Marco MELANDRI ITA Ducati Marlboro Team 41
16 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 40
17 John HOPKINS USA Kawasaki Racing Team 37
18 Anthony WEST AUS Kawasaki Racing Team 33
19 Ben SPIES USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 10
20 Jamie HACKING USA Kawasaki Racing Team 5
21 Tadayuki OKADA JPN Repsol Honda Team