Stoner continues victory run with masterclass at Sachsenring2008-07-13 07:41
MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner continued his spectacular return to form with victory at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, his third win in as many races. The Ducati Marlboro rider braved the wet conditions of the Sachsenring circuit and appeared equally adept to the task as he had been in the dry practice sessions, a sign that will have his title rivals preoccupied for the second half of the season.
The race had looked set to be a wet weather repeat of Dani Pedrosa's comprehensive 2007 victory, after the Repsol Honda rider once again used his finely-honed launch control to take the holeshot. He stormed out of the blocks and immediately created a 2 second gap. The advantage increased to 7.5 seconds by the time the Spaniard crossed the line for a sixth time, but just moments later disaster struck as he lost control of the RC212V and picked up his first DNF of 2008.
Pedrosa's crash allowed Stoner to return to the script written in practice sessions for the German race, and the Australian needed no further invitation. He assumed the reins in the same style with which he had taken the win at the past two races, breaking free and riding solo for 23 laps right up until the chequered flag was waved.
Second place from the third row of the grid was a more-than-respectable result for Valentino Rossi, and the runner-up spot allowed the Fiat Yamaha rider to reassume the leadership of the MotoGP World Championship. Heading to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix in just a week's time, the five-time title holder now holds a 16-point advantage over Pedrosa, whose broken finger picked up in the crash may affect his form in the Laguna Seca race.
Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen forced his way through the pack for a first podium of 2008, in doing so denying MotoGP rookie Alex de Angelis his maiden rostrum placing. Both had great rides in the wet, with the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider equalling his best premier class result to date and becoming the highest-finishing Honda man.
Andrea Dovizioso finished in the top five for the fourth successive race, after getting a fantastic start onboard his JiR Team Scot Honda. Dovizioso came in ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, Loris Capirossi, Randy de Puniet, Shinya Nakano and Anthony West, with all riders outside the top ten lapped on the second shortest MotoGP circuit.
Besides Pedrosa's tumble, there were also crashes for Jorge Lorenzo, Colin Edwards and Marco Melandri as they fell foul of the tricky conditions.
Casey Stoner — Race Winner
"I saw Dani (Pedrosa) riding off into the distance and thought 'fair play', there was no way I would have been able to go so fast at that time. We used a harder compound on the tyres and they were taking time to warm up. Then I saw Dani tumbling and rolling in the gravel. Given his past record in the wet, he was riding very well up until then. From then on it was just a matter of making sure of increasing a small advantage with every lap. We ran the harder compound on the left side, with just some small 'loses' during the race which worried me a bit. Thanks to the team for everything, and it's nice to close the championship up a bit more."
Amidst difficult rainy conditions in Sachsenring, Marco Simoncelli stormed to his third victory of the season at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. Riding with a new Gilera RSA, the Italian dominated proceedings in the 250cc race to win the race and take the leadership of the World Championship heading into the summer break.
Over seven seconds separated Simoncelli from the chasing pack with just a third of the race completed, and those behind him could do nothing to stop the Metis Gilera rider from breaking free.
Simoncelli's great escape to victory did not signal an end to the action, however, as a five-rider battle raged on for second place. Hector Barbera led the charge onboard his Team Toth Aprilia, taking his third rostrum finish of the year. He held off the challenge of Alvaro Bautista despite some tough competition from his fellow Spaniard.
Bautista had experienced a terrible start to his race, and had to work hard to rejoin the podium fight. Mapfre Aspar's former 125cc World Champion made a spectacular comeback on the slippery track, recording some of the fastest laps of the race and salvaging a fourth consecutive podium.
Mika Kallio performed an exercise of damage limitation as he conceded the lead of the overall classification, ensuring that the advantage held by Simoncelli could be easily closed when the series returns in mid-August. The Red Bull KTM rider came in ahead of Repsol KTM's Julian Simon, who took his best result of 2008 to date.
Mattia Pasini and Thomas Luthi both picked up valuable points in sixth and seventh place, respectively, whilst Kallio's teammate Hiroshi Aoyama completed the race in eighth despite breaking his fairing in a late crash. Yuki Takahashi and Roberto Locatelli were the remaining two riders in the first ten across the line.
Mike di Meglio took his third victory of the 2008 season in the 125cc Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Frenchman controlled the latter stages of the race after taking the lead on lap seventeen, crossing the line with a two second advantage over his nearest rival and maintaining the lead in the World Championship classification. A 30-point cushion in the title chase means that it will be a relaxing summer for the Ajo Motorsport rider.
Sachsenring runner-up Stefan Bradl gave German fans their first home 125cc podium in ten years with an assured display from third on the grid, battling to a best ever Grand Prix finish onboard the Grizzly Gas Kiefer Aprilia RSA. The teenager had taken the holeshot and had his turn at leading the race, and held off the challenge of World Champion Gabor Talmacsi in the fight for second place.
Talmacsi had been gunning for his second consecutive victory after taking pole position for the German showdown, but gave his fellow riders a head start when he experienced a mechanical problem taking off from the top spot on the grid. The Bancaja Aspar rider had to work hard to bring himself back into contention, and was rewarded for his efforts with a fifth podium of the year.
Bradley Smith once again led a race before missing out on the podium spots, finishing fourth after heading the field at the midway point. The Briton was unable to hold on after making a break, caught by the eventual rostrum finishers courtesy of some of the fastest laps of the race. He led Talmacsi on the final lap, but was unable to stave off the challenge of the reigning World Champion on the final corner.
Front row starter Simone Corsi came home in fifth, ahead of Emmi-Caffe Latte's home rider Sandro Cortese and his Jack&Jones WRB teammate Nico Terol. Scott Redding, Esteve Rabat and Marc Marquez completed the top ten.
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