Results and summary of the MotoGP race at the Sachsenring:
Dani Pedrosa has closed the championship gap to Jorge Lorenzo, by taking victory in a drama-filled MotoGP race in Germany. The race was run in two parts, after an incident on lap 10 in which Aleix Espargaro and Randy de Puniet collided, bringing Alvaro Bautista down with them. The crash left bikes and riders lying on the track, causing the race to be red-flagged and restarted. De Puniet was taken off to the Clinica Mobile, where the LCR Honda rider was diagnosed with a fractured tibia and fibula. Espargaro and Bautista were only slightly more lucky, the two Spaniards failing to return to the pit lane in time, and so were not allowed to restart the race. Afterwards, it emerged that Espargaro had fractured a vertebra, and is in doubt
The restart saw a rerun of the the first race, with Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa making a break at the front, while Casey Stoner struggled to get past Andrea Dovizioso, achieving that too late to make an impact on the front runners. But the difference between race 1 and race 2 was Dani Pedrosa. The Repsol Honda rider had been strong in the first race, but Lorenzo appeared to have the situation under control. In race 2, the tables were turned. Pedrosa mounted a stronger challenge, pushing Lorenzo hard for the first half of the 21 remaining laps of race 2, passing Lorenzo into turn 1 at the start of lap 9. That challenge was too hard, however, and Pedrosa ran wide, allowing Lorenzo to take the lead back by sliding underneath Pedrosa.
But Pedrosa still had plenty of fight left in him. He closed on the Fiat Yamaha rider for the rest of the lap, and tried again at the same place at the start of lap 10. This time, he held his line and held off Lorenzo, and stepped up the pace. Pedrosa's times dropped a couple of tenths, cracking into the 1'21s and inching away from Lorenzo. The Fiat Yamaha man had nothing for Pedrosa, and knew he could only match Pedrosa's pace by taking too many risks, not something he was prepared to do with a 52 point lead in the championship. Lorenzo let Pedrosa go, the Repsol Honda rider taking a convincing victory in Germany, his second of the season, and closing the gap to Lorenzo by 5 valuable points.
While the action for the lead was merely interesting, the battle behind was fierce, and fiercely entertaining. Valentino Rossi, having recovered remarkably well from his leg injury, and more importantly, his shoulder injury, had muscled his way forward past Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, and had set about catching Casey Stoner. The nine-time world champion took 7 laps to do it, but on lap 13, Rossi was with Stoner, and started to challenge the Marlboro Ducati rider.
He first tried at the bottom of the Waterfall, but ran wide on the way out of Turn 13, allowing Stoner to get back again. He tried again at the same place on lap 15, and this time he made it stick. But only for a lap, when Stoner dived back underneath to take back 3rd. Rossi tried again at Turn 13 a lap later, only to have Stoner pass him in the same place the next lap. Rossi took 3rd back again on the penultimate lap, Stoner losing ground out of Turn 13 and having to close back again.
The pair arrived at the top of the hill on the final lap, with one more chance for Stoner to take back the last podium spot. He was too far back on into Turn 13, but Rossi had to make a choice: The Fiat Yamaha rider elected to defend into the penultimate corner by taking a tighter line, and this opened up a perfect opportunity for Stoner. The Australian used 13 to make a run into the next - and last - corner, and shoved his Marlboro Ducati elegantly up the inside of Rossi's Yamaha, leaving the Italian with no choice but to cede the position, or risk a crash. Knowing he was just back from injury, Rossi chose the safer option of finishing and taking some points.
Behind Stoner and Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Nicky Hayden had been battling over 5th, and Hayden seemed to have the situation under control. But at the start of the last lap, Hayden hooked his gear lever and clicked back into first, running wide into Turn 1 and giving up two positions to Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli. The Repsol Honda rider took 5th, while San Carlo Gresini man Simoncelli ended up 6th.
The injuries to Espargaro and De Puniet see a depleted field head to Laguna Seca. While there were 17 riders on the grid at the Sachsenring, there could just be 15 at Laguna.
Race, final results:
|12||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||29'35.680||45.204|
Race Part 1 results, after 9 laps:
|9||14||Randy DE PUNIET||HONDA||12'37.557||10.075|
|16||15||Alex DE ANGELIS||HONDA||12'46.866||19.384|
|5||Colin EDWARDS||YAMAHA||10'50.871||2 laps|