German GP: Honda race report

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a dominant victory in this afternoon's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. The Spaniard got the better of World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to score his second victory of the 2010 ...

German GP: Honda race report

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a dominant victory in this afternoon's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring. The Spaniard got the better of World Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) to score his second victory of the 2010 season.

Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a tight contest with Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) for fifth place, making it three Hondas in the top six.

The podium was completed by Casey Stoner (Ducati) who won a last-corner duel with Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who was returning to action six weeks after breaking his right leg at Mugello. With round nine of the 2010 MotoGP series taking place in California next weekend, the MotoGP circus is already making its way west towards Laguna Seca.

Today's race -- run in warm, dry conditions following a morning downpour -- was stopped and restarted following a three-bike accident that left Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) nursing a broken left leg. The Frenchman crashed on lap ten of what should have been a 30 lap race, his fallen machine bringing down Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki) and Aleix Espargaro (Ducati).

In the first race Pedrosa had shadowed leader Lorenzo and in the 21-lap restart he once again followed his compatriot, before beginning his attack shortly before half distance. Between the two races Pedrosa's crew had made a small tweak to his suspension settings which allowed him to mount a stronger challenge. On lap nine he briefly got into the lead at turn one, only to run wide and allow Lorenzo back in front. The following lap he repeated the pass and this time made it stick. Pedrosa then built a commanding lead for his first success since his runaway win in last month's Italian Grand Prix. His tenth career MotoGP win strengthens his second position in the championship, though he still lags 47 points behind Lorenzo.

Dovizioso ran fourth in the first race and had a busier time in the restart, spending the last half of the 21 laps fighting back and forth with Simoncelli and Nick Hayden (Ducati). With three laps to go he was at the back of the three-man group but he planned the last few laps to perfection, picking off his fellow Italian and Hayden to net a useful points haul that keeps him third in the World Championship.

Simoncelli enjoyed the race immensely, swapping positions several times a lap. The 2008 250 World Champion had one last go at beating Dovizioso at the final turn, but ran wide. Nevertheless his sixth-place result is his best so far in the elite class and sends him to Laguna Seca in optimistic mood.

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) finished in tenth place, still suffering from the dislocated left shoulder he sustained at Assen a few weeks ago. This anti-clockwise circuit, with its run of seven consecutive left-handers in the middle of the lap, has been particularly tough on Melandri who found it difficult just to make the finish.

Alex de Angelis (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) had a challenging return to MotoGP, coming into this race as replacement for the injured Hiroshi Aoyama, without any testing. The San Marino rider had a high-speed tumble in yesterday's qualifying session and finished the race in 12th place.

De Puniet is a definite non-starter for next Sunday's US Grand Prix after sustaining a broken left tibia and fibula. De Puniet tumbled as he accelerated out of the turn four right-hander. His bike came to a halt on the track, where it was struck by Espargaro and Bautista. He was then hit by another rider. Neither Espargaro nor Bautista suffered serious injury but they weren't allowed to take part in the restart because they couldn't get their damaged machines back to the pits. Tonight Puniet will undergo surgery at the nearby Hartmannsdorf hospital where surgeons will pin the fractures.

Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) bounced back from a difficult few races to win today's Moto2 race ahead of pole-sitter Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up). Elias may have led the World Championship since his second Moto2 race win in May's French GP at Le Mans, but this was his first win since Le Mans. The Spaniard attributed the turnaround to crucial set-up work done during the post-Catalan GP tests at Aragon, yesterday's qualifying session and morning warm-up.

Elias had to work extra hard this afternoon, recovering from a first-turn collision that had left him 11th at the end of the first lap. Five riders, towards the back of the pack, didn't even make it through turn one, though there were no injuries in this pile-up.

By two-thirds distance Elias had fought his way into second place. From there he hunted down Iannone, who had led from the second lap and had looked likely to score his third win from the last five races of the Honda-powered series. Once Elias was ahead, Iannone had little answer for his rival who seemed to have more grip to play with.

The final place on today's podium went to Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans S.T.R, Suter) who fought a thrilling end-of-race duel with former 250 rival and fellow 250 GP winner Fonsi Nieto (Holiday Gym G22, Moriwaki). Nieto passed Rolfo on the penultimate lap, but Rolfo took back third place on the final lap to beat the Spaniard by just two tenths of a second. It was his first GP podium result since the 2004 Spanish 250 GP at Jerez. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing, Suter) was the last rider in the group battling for third, finishing six tenths behind Nieto.

The action throughout the rest of the pack was typically Moto2 -- fast and frantic, with lots of jostling for position. The next 12 riders were covered by just ten seconds, that particular contest won by Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up), who had spent much of the race in what looked like a safe second place until he started slipping down the order. The Hungarian crossed the line with Damian Cudlin (Tenerife 40 Pons, Pons Kalex) right on his rear wheel. Cudlin is subbing for Axel Pons, injured at Assen. Top German finisher was Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing, Suter) in ninth. Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter), winner of the first Moto2 race in Qatar, finished out of the points in 18th place.

With eight races done and nine to go of the 2010 Moto2 series, Elias now leads the championship by 42 points from Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki) who slid out of today's race. Iannone sits a further four points behind Luthi. Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter) dropped one place to fourth overall after he too slid out of today's race.

Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team) gambled on fitting rain tyres for the 125 GP, the first race of the day, following this morning's heavy rain. The track was still damp in places when the race got underway, allowing Schrotter to hold second place for the first five laps. But as the track dried he was unable to compete with the majority of the riders who had chosen slicks, so he slipped down the order, nevertheless achieving his fourth points score of the year with 14th place. The race was won by World Championship leader Marc Marquez (Derbi).


Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): winner "I'm very happy because we are back winning races and it's a great feeling. It wasn't easy today because when the race is stopped and restarted like that, sometimes you don't have the same feeling on the machine in the second part. Also you get nervous again on the grid and it's possible you won't have the same pace after the restart. But it went very well for us in both races. In the first one I was very close to Lorenzo and the pace was good, but then they stopped the race and we looked at each other saying, "Why?". It was even better in the second part. We just made one small change with the rear suspension to get a bit more traction, but we didn't change the tyre because we didn't have any new tyres left - we went with the same ones. I made another good start and in the first laps after Lorenzo had passed me I was pushing very to try to take him back. I couldn't do it with my first attempt, but when I got a second chance I just went for it. Then it was a great feeling to stretch ahead and get the victory - the team deserve it. This victory is even better than the one in Italy because at Mugello I just went away in front and there was no battle with anybody, but here I was battling with Lorenzo in the first and second races, and I finally beat him, so this is even more important. Also before the race we were not 100 per cent sure about what the weather would do, but it stayed clear and finally the weekend has ended perfectly. I was really looking forward to wear the Spain shirt on the podium. It was difficult to get it because it wasn't in the shops and I really wanted to celebrate a win like that. I also want to thank the team because they worked really well this weekend, the bike was very good from Friday onwards and this is the form we need so we can to keep this consistency going from now on."

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V): 5th "I really gave it everything today so of course I cannot be happy to finish fifth, especially after qualifying in fourth. Simply I was not fast enough to stay with the top riders today and in fact I was riding very aggressively and maybe even overriding a little to try and stay with them. When you do this you use up the tyre more quickly and also use more energy so I knew it wasn't the right way, but I had to try to stay with the frontrunners. This weekend we didn't quite find the right electronics set-up and machine settings, and between the first and second parts of the race we tried to change some electronics settings because the set-up was not 100 per cent in the first part. I was losing a lot in turn seven, turn 12 and on the straight because I didn't have the perfect set-up to use all the potential of the bike. Now I'm just looking forward to Laguna Seca next week and to getting right up front and being fully competitive again. My compliments go to Dani today. He rode at an incredible pace and the win is good for the team."

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 6th "That was the most fun I've had in a MotoGP race since the start of my debut season. Obviously sixth place is an important result but the thing that gives me most pleasure is the incredible battle I was in for the entire race. I had so much fun over the last few laps in the fight with Dovizioso and Hayden -- it was like a minibike race! We were passing each other a couple of times on each lap and I enjoyed myself so much that I don't even care that I missed out on fifth place. I tried one last pass on Dovizioso in the final corner and I got inside him but I braked too late and ran wide. I am still really happy though and I have to say I got a little lucky because at the restart I was able to fit a different tyre that we'd already used in practice and that allowed me to set a faster pace over the first few laps. I'm really pleased and I would like to thank Honda, San Carlo, Team Gresini, all the crew and my chief mechanic Aligi. "

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 10th "That was a particularly difficult race and I didn't have a good feeling from the start. After around ten laps I had no more strength in my arm and I started to feel a lot of pain. There are so many left corners here and I totally lost my rhythm -- all I could think of was making it to the end."

Alex de Angelis (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V): 12th "I am very happy with the result. My team supported me a lot and helped me during this Sachsenring event. The second race start was lucky for us, because we were able to collect more data to prepare the next race. I am very fast in the corners, but I still have problems on the brakes. We can improve more, I am sure of that. I want to thank the team for their effort and I want to apologize for destroying a bike yesterday."

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V): DNF "It can't be worse than this! I took a bad start from the third row but I got back to ninth and my race pace was looking pretty good. I was pushing for sixth place, despite pain in my left ankle after yesterday's crash in qualifying. Suddenly I crashed at exit of turn four and another bike hit my left leg. I immediately realised that it was something serious and after the X-ray we discovered the truth."


Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki): winner "The most important part of this weekend was the last 15 minutes of qualifying when we made a big improvement to the setting. We took one more step in that direction after warm-up, even though we knew that was a risk, because we were sure it would be better again. And it was, I could feel the improvement from my first lap out of the pits. I got a bad start and many riders overtook me, so I had to take some risks on cold tyres. After two or three I felt more confident so I started to push and made many passes. Once I got into fourth place I could see the gap between me and Iannone, and every lap I was getting closer. Finally I caught him. I thought that passing him would be the most difficult part of the race, but in fact it was the easiest part. I already won two races -- at Jerez and Le Mans -- but then I was still in pain and suffering from my crash in preseason testing. Today I really enjoyed the race. Now we will try and continue like this till the end of the championship."

Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up): 2nd "I got pole yesterday but unfortunately I was unable to win the race. My congratulations to Toni and his team. For some reason I didn't quite have the same feeling that I had on the bike yesterday, so I wasn't able to maintain my pace. And then I wasn't able to do anything about Toni. We will sit down and work out what went wrong today and we will try to learn and improve from that. Over the next few races we will try to continue with our consistency and keep building points."

Roberto Rolfo (Italtrans S.T.R, Suter): 3rd "It is very nice to be back -- the feeling is absolutely fantastic. I am very happy, because I like this track very much; in fact it was here that I scored my first GP win in 2003! I have enjoyed riding here and since the first session we have worked to improve on our usual setting. So far this year we have often been fast but we have been unable to get a good result. I was very concentrated for this race. It was nice to fight up front again. I am really enjoying this new category."


Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team): 14th "Unfortunately we chose the wrong tyres. The track was quite wet in the morning and many very wet patches could be seen on the track, so I thought the rain tyres would give me some advantage. At the beginning I was able to fight in the front and I never thought that the track would dry off so fast. Of course I am disappointed, as I know that with the right tyres I could have been more in front, but on the other side it pushes me as well as I know what I can do now."

-source: honda

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