Pedrosa wins in gemany

German MotoGP, assen, 17th July 2007
Words by Adrian Percival, pics as credited

The MotoGP circus moved to Germany this weekend amidst blistering heat at the Sachsenring, Dani Pedrosa ended both his and Honda’s win drought with victory in a hard-fought Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland.

The Spaniard had gone 18 races without a sniff of a podium place, and Honda were on their longest win-less streak since 1991. However, Dani Pedrosa certainly showed no signs of unfamiliarity at the head of the pack, riding an assured race and benefiting from great performance on his Michelin tyres. He eventually crossed the line over 13 seconds ahead of another long lost podium finisher, Loris Capirossi.

Capirossi took his second podium of the season by riding on the edge with his Bridgestone rubber fading towards the end of the race. The Italian veteran gave himself something to smile about after a series of difficult Grands Prix rides, and also a timely reminder of his talent to those teams planning to dip into the market for 2008. He slipped past his team-mate Casey Stoner on lap 19 as part of an overtaking manoeuvre gone wrong by Marco Melandri, and held off the highly physical German track for another visit to the rostrum.

In an ideal warm-up for next week’s home race, Nicky Hayden stepped onto the podium for the second consecutive race. In Assen he set off from thirteenth, and he had just as difficult a task this weekend as he stormed through the field from fourteenth. Chasing a hat trick of victories at Laguna Seca, Hayden appears to have hit form at just the right time to turn around his season and hold his head high stateside.

Colin Edwards also pushed himself into the top four from nowhere, riding commendably onboard the Yamaha M1 to finish just two seconds behind Hayden. His performance also gave some degree of help to team-mate and title challenger Valentino Rossi, as the ‘Texas Tornado’ managed to relegate World Championship leader Casey Stoner to fifth and limit the damage to the Italian’s hopes.

Stoner experienced a difficult race from pole, but now leads the way in the classification by 32 points from Rossi. The Australian had never raced in a MotoGP race in Germany, but despite not being able to challenge for victory number six he still took crucial points in the title hunt, albeit in his joint-worst position of the season.

An early crash from Rossi was somewhat more helpful to Stoner’s cause, leaving the five-time MotoGP World Champion with a zero on the board after he lowsided when trying to pass Randy de Puniet. He now heads to Laguna Seca knowing that he will spend the summer break on the back foot in the battle between himself and his Ducati-riding rival.

Marco Melandri took his fourth top six finish of the year onboard the Gresini Honda RC212V, ahead of John Hopkins and the constantly improving Anthony West. The latter has bettered his placing at both races since his debut eleventh position at Donington Park for Kawasaki, and continues to reward ‘Team Green’ for the gamble taken on bringing him in as a replacement rider.

West’s team-mate Randy de Puniet was forced into retirement on the last lap with a mechanical problem, pushing Pramac d’Antin Ducati’s Alex Hofmann up to ninth position at his home race. The Frenchman’s withdrawal also gave Michel Fabrizio a top ten finish in his wild card appearance for Gresini Honda.

In addition to Rossi and De Puniet, there were also retirements for Alex Barros, Sylvain Guintoli and Shinya Nakano. Ultimately though, Valentino Rossi would look back on the German GP as an opportunity gone begging after being one of the many to crash out while his teammate took one of his best finishes of the season to take some points away from Stoner.

Despite his somewhat lacklustre race day performance Casey Stoner still managed to extend his championship lead over Rossi. The Italian though will no doubt come out swinging when the MotoGP circus hits Laguna Seca for round 11 of the 18 round series.

American heroes Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards will arrive on home soil with confidence after their great results in Germany. Swelling the ranks of the GP grid will be American wildcard entrants Roger Lee Hayden riding for Kawasaki and Miguel Duhamel fronting up for Honda. Unfortunately the American round leaves the 125 and 250cc combatants back in Europe while the regular American Road Race categories fill up the race programme with their own unique brand of entertainment.

MotoGP – Sachsenring Results

1- Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2- Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
3- Nicky Hayden (Honda)
4- Colin Edwards (Yamaha)
5- Casey Stoner (Ducati)
6- Marco Melandri (Honda)
7- John Hopkins (Suzuki)
8- Anthony West (Kawasaki)
9- Alex Hofmann (Ducati)
10- Michel Fabrizio (Honda)

Championship Points

1-Casey Stoner 196
2-Valentino Rossi 164
3-Dani Pedrosa 144
4-John Hopkins 103
5-Marco Melandri 97
6-Chris Vermeulen 93
7-Colin Edwards 88
8-Loris Capirossi 82
9-Nicky Hayden 73
10-Alex Barros 69

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