News Report 4 May 2008

2008 MotoGP China - Shanghai

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05 / 04 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Perfect ride in China sees Rossi to top of the podium


Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi took an impressive victory in Shanghai today, his second at the circuit having won the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix with Yamaha in 2005. It was Rossi’s 89th career victory but his first in seven races, since Estoril last year, as well as his first on Bridgestone tyres.

Rossi had looked strong from Friday morning and he was clearly in good shape for the race, but after two days of high temperatures and sunshine, heavy rain throughout the morning threatened to turn the established order on its head. The rain ceased in the late morning however and the track began to dry out with the aid of a warm wind, meaning the race was finally declared dry. Starting from second on the grid behind Colin Edwards, Rossi crossed the line first time in fourth but had made it back to second by the end of the third lap, passing Casey Stoner and pole-sitter Colin Edwards in the process. His next target was Dani Pedrosa and he made his move on the Spaniard at the end of the back straight to take the lead. From then on the Italian led to the chequered flag but it was nail-bitingly close for the majority of the remaining 17 laps, with less than half a second between them and the pair the only two lapping consistently in the 1’59s. On lap 19 Pedrosa began to tail off and Rossi eventually took victory by 3.890 seconds, with Casey Stoner over 15 seconds back in third.

The other side of the garage had an almost equally happy day as Jorge Lorenzo shook off the pain from his fractured ankle to take a brave fourth place, something that was unimaginable after his crash on Friday morning. Rossi is the fourth different rider to win in four races this season and the championship is wide open, with Lorenzo seven points off Pedrosa in second and Rossi just two points behind him in third.

Valentino Rossi - Position: 1 Time: 44'08.061
“After seven races it is a great feeling to win again; I am very happy! This is a very important result for us because above all I was able to ride exactly how I wanted from start to finish and this was great fun for me. I had a great battle with Pedrosa and he pushed me hard and to be doing 1’59s until the end was unbelievable! All weekend we were hoping the rain wouldn’t come so when we saw it this morning we were quite disappointed, then it started to dry out so we were praying that it would dry completely; we were lucky today! We worked very well with Bridgestone and together with their technicians we made a late tyre change and it was the right choice because my tyre worked very well until the end, as my times showed! It’s the first win for us with Bridgestone so this is a great moment also for this reason and I want to say thank you to them. We were fast from Friday morning here and step by step we’ve found the perfect set-up and today the hard work paid off for everyone. We’ve had four races and four different winners so this shows how close the championship is, now we need to keep going because our rivals are all very near. Lorenzo did a great race today with his injuries, so this is a good day for everyone in the team. Thank you to my team and everyone at Yamaha, it’s great to be here again.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“We needed this! It’s a fantastic feeling for everyone to win again and Valentino did a perfect job today. There are many good things about this particular win; it’s the first with Bridgestone, the first for a long time and also it’s put us right back in touch for the championship after a poor start in Qatar. It’s important that we continue like this but everyone has a great motivation and confidence is running high in our garage. Congratulations to Jorge for a great result in his condition, it’s just the fourth race but our team is in good shape!”

Jorge Lorenzo, the Fiat Yamaha Team’s outstanding rookie, shook off the injuries he suffered in his crash on Friday to take a superb fourth place in China today on his 21st birthday. After fracturing his left ankle and badly bruising parts of his right leg, it was easy to forget that the Spaniard had also undergone surgery on his right arm less than a fortnight ago, leaving him to contest today’s race with only one limb in full working order! With the weather turning bad today it was a nervous morning for the riders but it gradually dried out throughout the middle of the day and the 22-lap race was run in the dry. Lorenzo started from fourth but the early part of the race was a trial of endurance for the Michelin-shod rider as he slipped back through the field to as low as 9th at one stage. He then settled in 8th for seven laps before suddenly finding his rhythm on lap 12 and going on to pass four riders in as many laps. With Casey Stoner some way in front of him, fourth was as far as he could go but it was a brilliant result for the youngest rider on the grid after what has been one of the most difficult weekends of his career.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 4 Time: +0'22.494
“Without a doubt, this result today is like a victory for me. On Friday I couldn’t imagine being able to ride, then yesterday it was a little bit better and then finally today I was not able just to ride, but to be competitive and enjoy myself as well! I’ve ridden with a lot of pain in both legs but the staff of the Clinica Mobile made it possible for me to keep going, so I want to thank them. I lost a lot of places early on but in the second half of the race I found my rhythm and then step by step I started to move forwards; in fact I think I made more overtakes than in any race so far in this category! I stalled the engine on the start line for the warm-up lap, which was a scary moment, but luckily I was able to restart and it wasn’t a problem. I want to say congratulations to Valentino for a great victory today as well, I think it’s going to be an exciting year. I didn’t have any pain in my arms today so hopefully the recent operation has been a success. Now I’m flying back to Barcelona to have treatment on my ankles and I will do everything I can to be back to my physical best in Le Mans. I want to thank Michelin, because my tyres were very good today, as well as Yamaha and all of my guys. I’ve had a great 21st birthday!”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“Jorge did an incredible job today, I don’t think that anyone expected him to do this well after what happened on Friday and in his current physical condition. We were luckily able to find a good set-up very quickly despite missing out on the first day, and overall I think that we can be very happy with a job well done. We found a good tyre with Michelin and it seems that Jorge was able to find a good rhythm. Thank you to the staff of the Clinica Mobile because they played a huge part in enabling Jorge to ride like this. Congratulations to Valentino for his win, I hope that we can all keep going strongly!”

Masahiko Nakajima - Team Director
“We’ve waited a long time to get back to winning ways! All of the Yamaha staff are very happy to win again with Valentino and I want to share this moment with Valentino’s fans around the world! It’s been a tough weekend and it was a big battle with Pedrosa, but it was an exciting and impressive race. I really want to congratulate Valentino and now we want to continue to improve the bike for the championship fight. We’ve done a great job with Bridgestone this weekend and we really appreciate their work, they helped us to win today!
For Jorge it was a very tough weekend but he tried his best throughout to ride the bike and the team staff did an excellent job to make a bike which could be ridden by such an injured rider. It was very good team-work and an amazing result today. It was a hard, hard race for him but he showed how strong he is. Michelin provided us with good tyres, both for qualifying and the race, and I am very happy for all of our staff and look forward to the next race.”

Edwards and Toseland secure solid points for Tech 3 in Shanghai

The Tech 3 Yamaha team consolidated fourth position in the Team world championship today after Colin Edwards and James Toseland collected a solid points haul in a tough Shanghai MotoGP race.

Edwards, who started from pole position for the third time in his career, had to settle for eighth place after his podium challenge ended when he ran off track at the end of the back straight on lap six. Edwards was holding a comfortable third place at the time and pulling away from reigning world champion Casey Stoner. Edwards lost four places, which he was never able to recover despite a determined ride in the second half of the 22-lap race. James Toseland had a tough Shanghai debut as today’s race was run in much cooler conditions than the first two days. Heavy rain that fell earlier the 125 and 250 races cleared in time for the MotoGP clash, but despite a typically dogged display, the British rider finished 12th.
Colin Edwards - Position: 7 Time: +0'29.780
“I’m not particularly happy with that if I’m being honest. I knew what pace I could run and was just pushing as hard as I could in the beginning to try and get away from the guys behind me. I knew Casey was going to be there but I don’t know what Valentino and Dani had but they were flying. As soon as they passed me they were gone. I was running third and I came into the hairpin after the back straight and braked at the same place but the rear end came up and I did the longest nose wheelie I’ve ever done in my entire life. I kept waiting for it to come back but at the end I had to let the brake off to get the rear wheel on the ground and I ran wide. I only lost three seconds but it was the places I lost that mattered. I rode as hard as I could and I’m tired of saying it, but I could not do anything else. We just missed something in the package today. At the end we needed to refine a couple of things to make it a little bit better but at the end of the day I made a mistake. But if I hadn’t made it I still wasn’t going to be on the podium. It just wasn’t going to happen today. I wanted the temperature to be cooler but maybe not as cool as it was. I was licking my lips in the beginning because I thought some other guys had packages that would have worked better when it was hotter but it didn’t happen. I have to say thanks to my guys for their effort this weekend. We got a pole position but obviously I expected more in the race. We’ll look to put things right in Le Mans when I’ll be giving it my all for Tech 3 and Michelin in their home race.”
James Toseland - Position: 12 Time: +0'43.191
“I don’t want to be finishing 12th but in my first season this type of result is going to happen. I had a few problems with the set-up all weekend, which hasn’t helped with me learning the track. I got a decent start but really found it difficult with the setting I had. We were going to try something this morning but it was wet and we gambled with it for the race. On paper it looked really good but unfortunately it wasn’t quite right. You don’t need too many problems to finish 12th in MotoGP. I had a small problem and it was costing me a lot of time in the important places and that was the difference between a top eight finish and being down in 12th. On the brakes the weight transfer was really fast. As I was on the brakes and turning in the rear was skating and not planted on the way into the corner. I was waiting too long for it to load up again before I could get on the power. The problem with the 800s is they don’t have a great deal of torque so you have got to keep the corner speed up. If you are struggling to get into the corner and carry that corner speed you can’t square anything off so I was finding it difficult on the entry and exit. Because of that I was slow mid-corner and on the exit, but losing that time costs you a second a lap and that is massive against these guys. That is the disadvantage of not knowing the track though. My guys worked really hard to help me learn the track and I’ll try and pay them back with a good result in France next time out. This is a French team and I’ll be desperate to do well for them.”

Herve Poncharal – Tech 3 Yamaha Team Manager
“It was an incredible feeling yesterday to get our first pole position since 2002 and thanks to Colin and Michelin for that. Colin did a great job but we knew it was going to be a difficult race. Colin had a really good start and he led the first lap, and even when Valentino and Dani pulled away we were confident we could get a podium finish. Casey wasn’t catching Colin and at one stage Colin was pulling away. But then he went straight on at the hairpin and he lost a bit of time. It is a great shame because although we were not going for the win, I think a podium was a possibility. We missed it this time but I’m sure there will be other opportunities. We still got some good points from both riders and I am not too disappointed. James had a tough weekend but as always he applied himself 100 per cent and he never stopped trying to improve. He will have learned a lot again and he was aggressive as usual in the first few laps. Overall it was a good weekend. We got a pole position, James and Colin are sixth and seventh in the championship so now we have to keep working and getting more confident. Colin was the first non-factory rider today so there are a lot of positives to be taken from the weekend.”