The Red Bull Indy MotoGP turned into what could be a pivotal race in the MotoGP championship, as title leader Valentino Rossi crashed out while chasing Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo early in the race, handing the win and 25 points to Lorenzo, which closes up the previous 50-point gap nicely with five races still to run. San Carlo Gresini Honda’s Alex De Angelis grabbed a well-deserved second place, while Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden turned in his best ride of the season to hold off a fierce challenge from Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovisioso to grab the final podium spot in third.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa...
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa quickly led the first three laps of the Indy MotoGP, but inexplicably crashed out of the lead; he remounted to finish tenth.
The race looked like it was going to be a runaway by Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who dominated virtually all practice and qualifying sessions and pulled a convincing holeshot to immediately grab the lead at the start. The diminutive Spaniard looked to be slowly but surely pulling away from Rossi and Lorenzo, but then the race was thrown wide open when Pedrosa lost the front end as he was making the final chicane section heading for the front straight on lap four. He managed to remount his Honda RC212V and rejoined the race to eventually end up 10th. “This result was a real shame but sometimes it happens—it’s racing,” said a disappointed Pedrosa. “We did a great job all through practice and qualifying, I was confident for the race and of course I was hoping to win today. I was pushing very hard at the start of the race and perhaps I pushed too much. There was some cloud cover today and maybe the front tire was a little cooler than before, but whatever the reason, I made a mistake and lost the front. I’m sorry for the team because they’ve worked really hard for me, and also to the fans who’ve given me great support. I wanted to win in American again but it wasn’t to be. There was some damage to the bike; the handlebar was bent inwards and the footpeg was worn away quite badly, but actually I was able to recover and ride at a fast pace to take some points at the end. Looking on the positive side, we’ve been very fast here and that means we can take a lot of confidence to Misano next weekend.”
Crashing out of the Indy race—combined...
Crashing out of the Indy race—combined with Lorenzo’s win—has suddenly made Rossi’s eighth premier class title not such a sure thing.
This gifted the lead to Rossi, who was being shadowed by Lorenzo the entire time up to this point. On the ninth lap, Lorenzo outbraked Rossi into turn one and took over the lead. Rossi kept close to Lorenzo, but on the following lap, Rossi slightly bobbled on the exit of the turn one, forcing him a little off line as he braked for turn two. The Yamaha’s front tire locked and quickly put Rossi on the ground; he remounted, but damage to the bike’s throttle housing caused engine problems that forced him to pull out of the race. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake,” admitted Rossi, “it was a little strange at the beginning, but looking at the data I saw I made a mistake in the turn before. I came into the corner at the braking point a little off line on the dirty portion of the track, and I lost the front end. We had some problems over the weekend, and when Jorge overtook me, I knew it would be difficult to stay with him because he was two or three tenths quicker in lap times. I thought it would be OK to finish second and not have to leave here only 25 points in front, but we’ll have to work hard when we arrive in Misano.”
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin...
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards ran as high as third, but faded to fifth at the finish. His engine (presumably detuned for engine life specs) looked down on power.
Monster Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards was up to third when Pedrosa crashed, but he slowly fell back into the clutches of De Angelis, who ended up a lonely second by the finish, some nine seconds behind Lorenzo. Edwards was soon passed by Hayden and Dovisioso, who were engaged in their own little battle that carried on right to the finish, with Hayden barely holding off the Repsol Honda rider to take a popular third place. Edwards held on for a disappointed fifth. “No, I’m not happy,” replied Edwards when asked if he was satisfied with his finish. “I don’t know…hard tire, soft tire, right or wrong choice, whatever, it was a complete disaster. Never could get the thing to work, it just felt like all the weight was on the rear, coming around all the time dirt-track style entering the corners, couldn’t keep the rear behind me. Then the rear tire got out of balance by spinning on the rim, so there was a bunch of issues all race long…plus my bike was slow. Everything was going so good up to Brno (when the new rule restricting the number of engines each rider may use until the end of the season came into effect), and now we seem to be struggling with these new rules.”
With his win at Indy, Lorenzo...
With his win at Indy, Lorenzo has given his title hopes at least some sign of life.
“The championship is a little more within reach now,” admitted Lorenzo, “but it’s still going to be a difficult challenge. After today’s victory, I’m a little angry at myself for my crashes earlier in the season, but the competitiveness of this championship means you always have to be on the limit, which was unfortunately shown by both Valentino (Rossi) and Dani (Pedrosa) crashing today.”
Hayden withstood a fierce...
Hayden withstood a fierce challenge from Andrea Dovisioso for the final podium spot, the American's third place his best finish yet in what has been a tough year on the Ducati.
“It’s not a win, but I’ll definitely take it,” said a happy Hayden. “I’m really happy for the team, who have worked so hard. Everybody knows what a tough season it’s been; it’s been the biggest challenge of my life. It’s been really hard, but we’ve hung in there, and we caught a couple of breaks today and were able to get on the podium. Just happy to be up on the podium and spray a little bubbly today; Dovi was all over me there late, giving me a lot of heat, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold on. But I mean…you know, it was all or nothin’ there on the last couple of laps, and we were able to hold him off and get up on the podium. Hopefully we can keep building on this…but I’m really happy today and I’m going to enjoy it.”
- 1. Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Fiat Yamaha
- 2. Alex de Angelis (Italy) San Carlo Honda Gresini
- 3. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro
- 4. Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Repsol Honda
- 5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 6. James Toseland (UK) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- 7. Loris Capirossi (Italy) Rizla Suzuki
- 8. Mika Kallio (Finland) Ducati Marlboro
- 9. Toni Elias (Spain) San Carlo Honda Gresini
- 10. Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Repsol Honda