Dani Pedrosa takes first ever MotoGP victory2006-05-14 09:06
Dani Pedrosa took his first MotoGP victory today at the Shanghai Circuit, confirming his status as a serious title contender in his debut season. The Repsol Honda rider, who started from pole, came back from a quiet start to lead the entire second half of the race ahead of team-mate Nicky Hayden. Colin Edwards put himself on the podium for the first time this season whilst fellow Camel Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi saw his spectacular fightback through the field cut short by a tyre problem.
Despite being forced wide in the seemingly endless first corner Pedrosa picked his way through the pack, eventually claiming the lead from Edwards on lap ten and never looking back. Pedrosa and Hayden then exchanged fastest laps over the next few until the 20 year-old Spaniard set the definitive lap record on lap 19 of 22. Keeping more or less a one second gap to Hayden to the finish line, Pedrosa now becomes the joint second-youngest rider ever to win a MotoGP race, behind Freddie Spencer and level with Norick Abe.
Rizla Suzuki's John Hopkins meanwhile had a great start to the race, following Edwards' holeshot and keeping up with the 'Texan Tornado' for practically the whole race. Whilst Edwards pulled away slightly towards the end to seal third, Hopkins' bike, tyres and nerve held out for fourth place, the highest of his career.
Casey Stoner, who dropped down to tenth at one point after running off track, impressively made his way back up to fifth to continue his run of top six finishes.
A superb battle was taking place between Konica Minolta Honda's Makoto Tamada and the Ducati Marlboro duo of Loris Capirossi and Sete Gibernau, which had the 32,402 Asian crowd on the edge of their seats, as he repeatedly looked to pass on the inside. A well deserved sixth place came at the expense of Marco Melandri, with Capirossi, Gibernau and Shinya Nakano closing out the top ten behind him.
Rossi's exit from the race came after his second trip to the pits. The reigning World Champion entered the boxes on lap fifteen to have his rear tyre changed, but completed only one more lap before having to retire. Australian Chris Vermeulen was the only other retiree, crashing out early.
Victory for a clearly delighted Pedrosa puts him up to third in the overall classification, with Hayden extending his championship lead to thirteen points over Loris Capirossi.
After earning his first pole position in the 250cc category yesterday, Hector Barbera was the victor in the quarter-litre race in Shanghai today. The Spaniard beat Andrea Dovizioso after a hard fought dogfight between the two which ran from start to finish. Barbera finished two tenths ahead of his rival and some three seconds faster than third-placed Hiroshi Aoyama. The Japanese KTM rider took third after Jorge Lorenzo ran wide on the penultimate lap to let him through.
Dovizioso continues to occupy the top spot in the overall classification, ahead of Barbera, whilst Lorenzo drops to third after coming home in fourth place.
Mika Kallio was the last-gasp victor of the 125cc race at the end of a hard-fought final lap. The Finn, who started the race from pole, came in less than a tenth of a second ahead of Mattia Pasini, with World Championship leader Alvaro Bautista occupying the final podium place.
Lukas Pesek took the lead on the penultimate corner but ran wide, allowing Kallio to make his move. The Red Bull KTM rider still lies second in the Championship, 28 points behind Bautista.
1st, Dani Pedrosa (Honda) :
"I was very focused on my job and was just trying to get best time every time, and we were just trying to increase the gap every lap. The weather respected us today it seemed, and this was very good for the race and for us. It's fantastic, I started well this time and although it was hard I am delighted to have won my first race in MotoGP."
2nd, Nicky Hayden (Honda) :
"I always believed that I could run Dani down in the race and take the lead, but I have to give him credit. I tried to put the heat on him but he was just too quick. The team have done a job to be proud of, it's always a bit of a gamble with the weather but they pulled it off. I want that win, I'll try and do better next time, but second is still a good result."
3rd, Colin Edwards (Yamaha) :
"I'm relieved to be back on the podium. It's no secret that we've had our problems, we knew that we had difficulties yesterday even though we were on the front row. We worked backwards in Turkey to try and find a solution with the set-up. That first corner was a little bit scary, John Hopkins came underneath me, and I just left him to it and decided to go as fast as I could. The two frontrunners came through like a freight train I tried to keep up but there was nothing I could do."
Source: Dorna Communications
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