News Report 8 June 2008

2008 MotoGP - Catalunya

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4727 m
att 113000
06 / 08 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Rossi races through the field to take valuable Montmelo podium


Valentino Rossi put yesterday’s poor qualifying behind him today with a characteristic charge through the field from ninth on the grid to take second in the Grand Prix of Catalunya. By the time Rossi made it through the pack the race-winner Dani Pedrosa was already some way off in front, but Rossi had a lively battle with Casey Stoner over the last few laps, a replay of last year’s race but with the Italian prevailing this time.

After some hard work by his team and engineers overnight, it was clear from this morning’s warm-up that Rossi was in better shape and the Italian began his race with the podium as his target. Starting form ninth, he gained one place on the first lap when he passed James Toseland and then made his way steadily through the field, out-braking several riders into turn one on consecutive laps and eventually passing first Andrea Dovizioso and then Stoner to take second on lap nine. Rossi tried to leave Stoner behind but the Australian remained in touch and passed him back on lap 17, sparking an entertaining battle for second spot over the closing stages of the race. Rossi eventually made the decisive move at the start of the penultimate lap and held on to cross the line just over half a second ahead of his rival, with Pedrosa 2.806 seconds in front.

An important 20-point haul sees Rossi hang on to his championship lead, seven points ahead of Pedrosa, whilst Lorenzo is still just ahead of Stoner in third despite having to miss today’s race while he recovers from Friday’s crash. It was another double top-six finish for the Tech 3 Yamaha Team meanwhile, with Colin Edwards and James Toseland finishing in their grid spots of fifth and sixth.
Valentino Rossi 2nd +2.806; “I think that this was quite a good race! It’s a long time since we’ve had a good fight for the top positions like that and today it was like last year with Stoner, but for second instead of first place! I was able to come out on top this year and I am honestly very happy with today’s result. After three almost perfect races, yesterday was a very hard day for us but last night we had a very good meeting and today we were able to be much more competitive. My target was the podium so to come second is excellent. I want to watch the race on TV now because I had a lot of fun today and made some good overtakes, with my M1 and my Bridgestone tyres working very well to the end. Once I passed Stoner I tried to go away from him but it wasn’t possible, so then I knew it would be a great battle to the end. Pedrosa was incredibly strong today and I think it’s impossible to say whether or not I could have gone with him even if I had started from the front.
As it was we were penalised by our grid position and, with Pedrosa as fast as this, from the third row it was impossible. In these circumstances I am very happy that we only lost five points to him, we’re still leading the championship and I had a great race, so I am content! Tomorrow we will have a test and I think it will be quite interesting to see what we can find out about what happened this weekend and how we can improve for Donington. Thanks to all my team and congratulations to Dani.”

Davide Brivio Team Manager; “We’re very happy about this result today because we struggled a lot over the weekend. The team and the engineers did a great job however to find a way to improve the setting in such a short amount of time, and we could see from the warm-up this morning that we had a chance to be competitive. Of course our starting position left us with a hard job to do and, with Pedrosa as fast as he was today, we are just happy to have taken 20 points! We only gave away five and the championship is long; our target is to be on the podium every time and today we’ve done that. Tomorrow we have a test and we will analyse the data from this weekend and try to learn more about our Yamaha-Bridgestone package, so that we can try to go one better in Donington. It was sad to make today’s race with half of our team missing and one side of the garage empty, and on behalf of all the team I would like to wish Jorge all the best and we look forward to having him back very soon.”

Masahiko Nakajima Team Director; “This is a satisfying result for all of the team and Yamaha staff because we had a problem to find the right set-up here all weekend. Last night the engineers were working until midnight to try to fix the problem and their hard work paid off because the bike felt much better this morning. Of course we’re always disappointed not to win but in the circumstances this is a very good result for us.”

Jorge Lorenzo on the mend after another day's rest

Two days after the accident that forced him to miss today’s Catalan Grand Prix at Montmelo, Jorge Lorenzo’s recovery is progressing well at the Institut Dexues in Barcelona. The 21-year-old sustained head trauma and damage to his right hand in Friday’s crash but is improving, although Dr. Xavier Mir confirmed tonight that he will need a small skin graft to replace the skin he has lost on his hand.

“After further observation we are pleased to say that the cranial trauma that Jorge suffered on Friday has improved without any further complications,” commented the Doctor. “This still needs to be verified with another CAT scan, however, and for this reason we have moved Jorge to another part of the hospital this afternoon. Regarding other injuries, we have evaluated the abrasion on his right hand and we can confirm that he has more than two centimetres of skin missing from his fourth finger. For this reason we have decided that it will be necessary to make a skin graft, which will probably take place tomorrow morning.”
Top six finish for both Tech3 riders

Colin Edwards and James Toseland handed the Tech 3 Yamaha squad a well deserved second successive double top six finish in today’s Catalunya MotoGP race.

A fantastic start thrust Edwards right into the heat of the battle for second in the early laps as he pursued reigning world champion Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso. He managed to hold off Valentino Rossi until lap eight, and proving he is one of the most consistent performers in 2008, he comfortably scored a third successive top five finish. Fifth place equalled his previous best result at the Montmelo circuit as the Texan maintained his best start to a season in his MotoGP career.

James Toseland treated a record crowd of 113,150 to another stunning exhibition of overtaking after he dropped to 11th on lap eight. Once he’d got comfortable with a revised front-end setting, Toseland passed Chris Vermeulen, Nicky Hayden, Alex de Angelis and Loris Capirossi. Only Valentino Rossi made more passes in the 25-lap encounter, and Toseland’s fourth top six finish in just seven races drew special praise from the seven-times world champion, who has been impressed with the British rider’s rapid progress in his rookie campaign.
Colin Edwards 5th +16.426; "I got a fantastic start and thought ‘brilliant here we go.’ But from the second corner I had a problem and to be honest we are scratching our heads a little bit. I struggled because early on I was doing low 43s but then I just couldn’t maintain that pace. I’d throw the bike in on the brakes but it would be sideways and I found myself having to change my style like I did in Mugello to help. I’d stop it hard on the brakes, turn it into the corner and then pick it up to accelerate, but in some places where I would normally use second gear I was using third to baby it out of the corners. I did everything I could possibly do too hang in with the group but Andrea just seemed to have a bit more grip than me on the rear. He was able to pull away a little bit on every lap. I could catch him on the brakes but then I’d lose that crucial bit of time on the exit. What we ran in the warm-up was going to be too soft for the race with the temperature but I’m still happy with fifth.
It’s one of the best results I’ve had here and now we go to Donington and Assen. They are two tracks I love and I’m sure I’m going to be fighting for the podium again. We kept third in the team championship, which is great for the Tech 3 team, Yamaha and Michelin.
James Toseland 6th +21.482; “I’m a little bit mad with myself because like in Mugello, I believe there was a fourth here. I got an okay start and was about seventh but Valentino came by in the first corner. It was a clean move but he left it late, so we were side-by-side going in and there was no way I could turn in because he was there. There was nothing wrong with the pass but I had to go straight on and that lost me the gap. Whether you are doing the same times as the rest of them or not, you can only pull back small amounts of time. We changed the bike this morning and it took a couple of laps to get used to the feel of it. I’d been running soft tyres most of the weekend doing good lap times but going a bit harder for the race, I just didn’t have as much grip at the start and it took me a couple of laps to get used to it and I didn’t push it hard enough. At this point I’m content with where I am but I’m getting impatient because I feel I can do better, so that’s why I’m a bit disappointed with sixth.
If I finish sixth and know I couldn’t do anymore I’m happy, but now I feel there is more in the bag. But we have really got this new setting working well and it will be a really good package at Donington where I can’t wait to go. It’s my first home Grand Prix and it feels a long time since I’ve been to a track I know. I’m getting regular top six finishes but the target at Donington will be to finish much higher and I’m confident with Tech 3, Yamaha and Michelin I can do it."

Herve Poncharal Team Manager; “After the warm-up, if somebody said we would be fifth and sixth I’d have said we were looking for better based on practice, but looking at the race that was a very positive result and I'm very happy. Once again Colin and James put in their maximum effort and both have finished in the top six. Dani was on another planet today so congratulations to Michelin, but in the early laps Colin was able to run a strong pace and was right in contention, but at one stage he decided to secure a well deserved fifth place. James lost quite a lot of ground at the start but as usual, once he found his pace he was as quick as the group in front of him and was able to fight his way back. Mugello and Barcelona are two very difficult tracks but Colin and James have scored top six finishes in both, so a big thanks to Yamaha and Michelin.
We have scored another big haul of points to keep Tech 3 third in the team world championship, and that is a great achievement after seven races. Now we go to James’ home race with a strong and positive feeling, confident we can continue this good run of results. Donington and Assen are also good tracks for Colin, so we have a lot to look forward to."