Valentino Rossi once again proved he is the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), besting his Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo in a battle that ended with Lorenzo in a gravel trap with five laps to go at the Cardion ab Czech GP. Lorenzo, who up until now was a close championship contender, showed another a chink in his armor as he folded under pressure and crashed out once again – for the second meeting in a row.
The young Spaniard had crashed out of the damp Donington GP a few weeks back when he hit a painted line under braking. This time the 22-year-old from Mallorca was pushing to stay in front of Rossi after getting a less-than-perfect start and lost the front in the left-hand Turn 3. The young Spanish star was “sorry” for his mistake…
Lorenzo: “Unfortunately for me Valentino was just as strong as he’d been all weekend and I had to push very, very hard to stay with him. Towards the end I began to close the gap and after I passed him I was doing everything to stay in front, but then I made a mistake and crashed.”
“I got a bad start and had to get by some people, and then I just didn’t have the same pace that I’d had all weekend. I was slower than in the practices and it really wasn’t what I was expecting,” said Lorenzo. “Unfortunately for me Valentino was just as strong as he’d been all weekend and I had to push very, very hard to stay with him. Towards the end I began to close the gap and after I passed him I was doing everything to stay in front, but then I made a mistake and crashed. There’s nothing more I can say except that I’m so sorry to the team and to Yamaha and I will do everything I can to make it up in America.”
“Thanks to my team as we make very many changes this weekend,” said winner Rossi. “After warm-up we weren’t fast enough but we made more modify with the front tire and I know that today would be very tough because Jorge (Lorenzo) in the practice go with a fantastic rhythm. So I try and make the perfect race and when he overtake me six (laps) from the end I was ready for the battle. I was confident with the bike and I think it is possible to make a good show, but shortly after he lose the front in Turn 3. It is bad for Jorge but good for us because now we have a 50-point lead in the championship.”
Pedrosa” “In the race I was concerned with my rhythm if I could go fast. Slowly they (the lead pair) start to go away and then I was third, alone, just trying to keep the pace and arrive to the end on the podium. But then Lorenzo made a mistake and I was second. So, for this point it was good, but unfortunately we were not that fast,”
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa inherited second spot, though over 11 seconds back at the finish.
“In the race I was concerned with my rhythm, if I could go fast,” said the diminutive Spaniard. “Slowly they (the lead pair) start to go away and then I was third, alone, just trying to keep the pace and arrive to the end on the podium. But then Lorenzo made a mistake and I was second. So, for this point it was good, but unfortunately we were not that fast, so tomorrow we have an important day of testing and we will look to find speed.”
Pedrosa’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso battled Gresini Honda’s Toni Elias for the final podium spot. Elias would get the spot and his first podium in quite a long time. And it couldn’t have come at a better time as it was just announced this weekend he would be out of a job at the Gresini Honda squad for next year.
How many other free agents have been on the podium every year they have been in MotoGP? It’s crazy to think Toni Elias could be left for in the cold for 2010.
“The future is really tough for me right now,” said Elias after th race. “But all weekend we just try and focus and we did a great job, my team did a great job, and finally Jorge (Lorenzo) crash and give me a podium. I am really happy for that and for my team. It seems strange to me to be on the podium every year and to not have a bike (next year). How many riders are on the podium every year and don’t have a bike? It is just strange to me that I don’t (have a ride next year). But we will go to Indianapolis and keep pushing and see what happens.”
Fifth place was a promising finish for Rizla Suzuki ‘s Loris Capirossi, while behind him was American Nicky Hayden in sixth spot, the top finishing Ducati, another small plus in what has otherwise been an off-season for the Kentucky Kid. He just nipped fellow Statesman, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Colin Edwards by 0.1 second, who was disappointed with seventh-place after qualifying fifth. Gresini Honda’s Alex de Angelis was eighth with Edwards’ teammate James Toseland ninth, continuing his less-than-impressive season on the Tech 3 Yamaha. Finally, rounding out the top-10 was the recently injured Randy de Puniet on the LCR Honda, who broke his ankle in a motocross training crash just one week ago.
1. Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha)
2. Dani PEDROSA (Honda), -11.766 seconds
3. Toni ELIAS (Honda), -20.756
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Honda)
5. Loris CAPIROSSI (Suzuki)
6. Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati)
7. Colin EDWARDS (Yamaha)
8. Alex DE ANGELIS (Honda)
9. James TOSELAND (Yamaha)
10. Randy DE PUNIET (Honda)
11. Chris VERMEULEN (Suzuki)
12. Niccolo CANEPA (Ducati)
13. Gabor TALMACSI (Honda)
14. Mika KALLIO (Ducati)
15. Marco MELANDRI (Kawasaki)
16. Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha)
17. Michel FABRIZIO (Ducati)