2009-08-30 15:38
Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso came within half a second of a podium finish today at the Indianapolis Grand Prix as he converted eighth on the grid into a strong fourth place at the finish. The Italian skillfully picked his way through an incident-packed race and in the closing laps he looked destined to overhaul a hard-charging Nicky Hayden for third at the American’s home race. Dovizioso closed to within 0.1s and was perfectly poised to strike until a momentary loss of grip on the last lap forced him to settle for fourth place. Despite missing out on the podium by fractions of a second, Dovizioso was pleased with the overnight improvements to his machine settings, which allowed him to increase his race pace. He will go to Misano next weekend ready for another front-running performance.

His Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa looked odds-on for a repeat of his runaway victory at Laguna Seca as he converted pole position into an early lead. Setting a searing pace in front of Valentino Rossi and eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo, Pedrosa appeared to be repeating the dominance he had shown in every practice session ahead of today’s race. At the end of lap four however he fell from the lead - remounting and putting in a spirited fight-back despite a bent handlebar, no rear brake and a right footpeg that was half worn away. The never-say-die Spaniard was the fastest rider in the second half of the race and battled back to 10th place at the chequered flag to collect six championship points.

With barely time to draw breath, the MotoGP paddock now jets back across the Atlantic for the next weekend’s San Marino Grand Prix at the Misano circuit.

“After the warm-up today we made a radical change to the set-up and I have to say that my team has worked really well because, thanks to this modification, my feeling with the machine improved a lot in the race. I could ride faster than during the practice sessions and my rhythm in the race was also consistent. Considering how the weekend had gone up to this point, finishing fourth is quite positive result. We still have to improve though of course. I was close to Nicky and I tried to overtake him several times by taking big risks. It’s a pity to finish fourth because the podium was not impossible. The important thing is that we have taken an important step forward. We are close the podium and we will start again in Misano building on this good base.”

“This result was a real shame, but sometimes it happens. 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 tyre 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.”

“Andrea came very close to the podium and improved his pace from practice and qualifying so this was a positive step for him. A top three finish would have been very satisfying for him here and he wasn’t far away. It’s his home race next and this result will give him even more motivation for that. Things had looked really good for Dani this weekend and obviously we were hoping for another win, like Laguna, in front of our American Honda fans. He was very fast through every practice session, was on pole position and was leading the race so it was very unlucky that he had that fall. He showed his fighting spirit by coming back through the field. Although this race result wasn’t what we were expecting, the Repsol Honda Team can go to Misano next weekend ready to battle at the front again.”

Source: Repsol Honda Team

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