After only his second race since returning from injury, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa claimed victory at the Sachsenring.
Jubilant Dani Pedrosa put his injury heartache behind him in emphatic fashion yesterday, the Spanish rider storming to a surprise victory in an enthralling German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring. Sunday’s clash was only the second race since Pedrosa returned from a seven-week lay-off after he broke his right collarbone in a controversial collision with Marco Simoncelli in Le Mans back in May. Pedrosa had already caused a surprise when he qualified his Repsol Honda RC212V machine on the front row of the grid in Saturday’s qualifying session. But fears of his physical condition and his ability to sustain a fast pace for the 30-lap Sachsenring encounter were quickly dispelled. Pedrosa was able to match Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo’s pace to two-thirds distance, making his decisive break on Lap 22. From there the triple world champion never looked like giving Lorenzo and Stoner the chance to retaliate.
“This is a great moment for me but it is strange for me to be back and winning the race so quickly,” said Pedrosa. “I didn’t expect it all but I knew I would suffer less than in Mugello because there are a lot of lefts here and I have more rest time on my right arm. Already in practice with second place it was quite amazing but in the race I just relaxed. I am really happy with this victory. I was suffering a lot at the end even though this track is not very physically demanding. Laguna will be tougher for me because there is a lot of hard braking and a lot of up and down. It is a good track and I’ve won there once so I’ll try and enjoy it again. But I want to thank all my fans and the team and family because they know how hard this was for me this time at home. They deserve also this moment and I am really satisfied and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”
Casey Stoner dropped from first to third for the second MotoGP race in a row yesterday when he failed to fend off Pedrosa and Lorenzo in a captivating race. The Australian led from laps five to 13, but eventually finished third as he couldn’t defend second position from Lorenzo at the final corner. The Repsol Honda rider saw his series lead cut to just 15 points starting the second half of the season.
Casey Stoner: “I was trying to go deep into the corners and square it off to get traction, but when Jorge [Lorenzo] came up the inside of me I picked the bike up but I still had nothing, so Jorge got second place and we had to settle for third.”
“We’ve been working all weekend with tire temperatures because this track is quite bad for it and the fact that we overheated the tire in Mugello we were afraid of it,” said Stoner. “It was our plan at the start of the race to take it quite easy. We knew the tire temperature would be a little bit higher so when I didn’t get into the lead at the first corner I just tried to be smooth. I didn’t want to let anybody get away but we didn’t want to put too much pressure on the tire at the beginning. After a few laps we decided to see what we could do at the front and see if we could get an advantage, but the effort we had to gain a tenth each lap was a bit too risky with that much fuel on board. Jorge and Dani came past and I didn’t want to let them get too far away because I knew I could go faster at the end. It got to one point of the race where I thought it was time to start pushing, but Dani had already got into his stride.
“Dani got past Jorge and by the time I did, Dani had built up a bit of an advantage that I just couldn’t get back. While trying to catch Dani I made a few mistakes and Dani was riding good clean laps and hats off to him because he’s come back and won. That left it down to me and Jorge in the last two laps and I had no grip on the left side and the rear would come around. I was trying to go deep into the corners and square it off to get traction, but when Jorge came up the inside of me I picked the bike up but I still had nothing, so Jorge got the second place and we had to settle for third. I’m on the podium again and I’m still leading the championship going into the second half of the season, so I’ve got to be happy with it. When everything feels right you can go for the win, but when things don’t feel right there is no point sending it down the road like I’ve done in the past years. I’m not ecstatic with my position but it could be a lot worse. There was a lot of overtaking and a lot of people at the front. I think it was a really good race but when a race goes that way you can’t be that unhappy about it and it was my own fault why I wasn’t higher on the podium. But we will fight again next weekend.”