News Report 28 June 2008

2008 MotoGP Netherlands - Assen

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4555 m
06 / 28 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Edwards third after late Assen drama


Tech 3 Yamaha rider Colin Edwards was involved in more late drama at Assen today as a stunning surge from the back of the field was rewarded with third place. For the second time in three years, Edwards was involved in dramatic incident at the final chicane with Nicky Hayden as he snatched third from his fellow American just metres from the finish line.

Fourth at the start of the last lap, Edwards produced a brilliant display of overtaking to come from dead last on the opening lap as he narrowly avoiding an early tangle between Valentino Rossi and Randy de Puniet.

Producing lap times close the formidable pace set by eventual winner Casey Stoner, Edwards fought his way back into seventh when he passed Jorge Lorenzo on lap 10. He then quickly closed on an exciting battle for fourth that included Chris Vermeulen, Andrea Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano.

Reeling off a succession of personal best laps, Edwards passed Nakano at the start of lap 13 and a lap later claimed fourth with brilliant moves on Vermeulen and Dovizioso. Trailing Hayden by over seven seconds on lap 15, Edwards halved the deficit by the last lap, but having settled for fourth, he grabbed third with Hayden encountering machine problems exiting the final corner. Today's result was Edwards' second podium of 2008 and moved him to within 16-points of Lorenzo in fourth place in the championship standings.

James Toseland made a welcome return to the top ten today despite encountering some small front-end set-up issues during the 26-lap encounter. His points though helped the Tech 3 Yamaha team consolidate fourth in the Team World Championship standings.

Colin Edwards - Position: 3rd - 98 points
“Third is never a win, but this feels as good as one. I remember how disappointed I was with third in Le Mans and I feel much better with this after what happened. I thought I had a good start and was fifth or sixth when Valentino got tangled with Randy de Puniet and he crashed. I might have gone left but I knew Valentino was on the ground and I didn’t want to run over him or his bike and I just stopped. The next thing I know is I’m dead last and then Alex de Angelis went down soon after and I lost a bit more ground. I just decided to get my head and push. I thought I’d rather be in the gravel than riding round for eighth or ninth. I started picking guys off and before I knew it I was on the back of the group fighting for fourth. I just kept pushing myself to go faster and the next thing I’m fourth. I could see Nicky and Dani in the distance and all I did was ride as hard as I could and my Tech 3 guys gave me a great bike today. Michelin had some great tyres so I started to hammer away at Nicky. I thought if I kept applying pressure he might make a mistake and if I hadn’t kept pushing as hard as I did then I might not have been close enough to pounce on Nicky. I’d settled for third but as I came out of the chicane he was sat up, and I couldn’t believe it. I guess that’s karma corner after 2006. This place owed me something after I crashed a couple of years ago with my first win in sight, and I’m really happy with third just because in the way I achieved it. It’s hard to get on the podium at any time in MotoGP, so to do it from last is a great feeling.”
James Toseland - Position: 9th - 60 points
“We tried a completely different setting on the front and we had quite a few problems because riding was just not that comfortable for me. It is nice to get a finish under my belt and get a top ten to build on from here because there is no doubt we have got some work to do and we need to find a direction with the bike. The shorter bike seems to be a lot more sensitive to changes but the mixed weather is really killing us at the moment as we try and make some big progress. With all the wet time we are not moving forward in the dry. In the last six races there’s been a wet day and to only have one day to get the bike dialled in is difficult, even on tracks that I know. It is frustrating to watch and frustrating for me to be down in ninth position and I know I have got work to do. We are quite a way off with the setting and it is up to me to make it better. I’m not riding any worse than I was before but we have hit a bit of a brick wall. Sachsenring is another new track and I’ll have a think about where we are at over the next few days, watch some videos of the races so far and try and work out where we can improve."

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“Colin was incredible today. I was really upset after what happened on the first lap because he has always been very fast this weekend and we were convinced with the pace he had shown that he could have challenged for the podium. This is racing but Colin was last and we thought it was over. When we saw his pace we had even more regret, so we were just thinking about what might have been. But he made an incredible recovery and we can’t believe this podium. When I saw him come out of the chicane and pass Nicky it was an incredible emotion. His lap times were very impressive and close to Casey’s, which was not easy to achieve this weekend, so I think he deserved this. Nobody wants to see what happened to Nicky but today it was Colin’s turn to have the luck after what happened in 2006. I am really happy for the team and I’m also pleased for James because he has been riding at a competitive pace and he was fast in all conditions. After the disappointment of Donington it was important for him to get a solid result and both have helped us stay close to Ducati in the team championship."

Lorenzo hoping for more next time after sixth place in Assen

Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo took sixth place for the second Grand Prix running in the 60th Dutch TT today, the youngest rider in the class making up one place on his grid position. His team-mate Valentino Rossi made an uncharacteristic mistake and crashed out on the first lap, although he was able to remount and finish in 11th to take valuable championship points. Yamaha’s record of having at least one rider on the podium at every race so far this season was kept alive by Tech 3 pilot Colin Edwards, who took third.

Lorenzo held onto his seventh grid slot at the start but he was unable to find his rhythm and go with the leading riders, gradually tailing off on his own. On lap ten Edwards passed him on his charge through the field and Lorenzo spent the middle part of the race a lonely eighth. In the later stages he began to feel more confident in his Michelin-shod bike and his lap times improved, enabling him to catch first Chris Vermeulen and then Shinya Nakano to take sixth.

Ten points for the Spaniard today means he holds onto fourth place in the championship but the gap to Casey Stoner, today’s winner, is stretched to 28 points.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 6th Time: +28.608
“I said yesterday that the most important thing for me today was to finish after everything that’s happened recently, so this is a good thing. However I am not happy about the race because it wasn’t fun today and I had some problems, although, as in the last few races, my bike became easier to ride towards the end of the race. I must just take comfort now in the fact that we have two weeks until the next round, and hopefully by then I will be feeling a lot better. We are trying to go step-by-step but of course I want to do better than this. Valentino was not so lucky today but I want to say well done to him for finishing and taking some important points.”

Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“It has been a difficult race weekend for us, we weren’t able to find a good race pace in the practices and today Jorge wasn’t able to fight for the top positions. We have some problems on the rear and the bike is very nervous under acceleration. The team have worked very hard to improve it but we still have some more work to do. Overall however we are quite happy because our aim for these two races was to finish without any more crashes, and we have been able to do this. We are confident that in Sachsenring we will be able to be back in the fight.”

Rossi battles on after crash to take valuable title points

A rare mistake from Valentino Rossi resulted in a first-lap crash for the Fiat Yamaha Team rider today, but he remounted and made up a gap of more than 20 seconds to pass two riders and finish in 11th place, despite riding with a broken gear-shifter and a bent handlebar. His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo rallied in the later stages of a difficult race to finish sixth, whilst Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards kept the Yamaha flag flying on the podium by taking third.

Rossi had slipped back some places when he made his mistake at turn five and slid into the gravel, unfortunately taking Randy de Puniet with him. Points were still a possibility however and he re-joined the race, despite the damage to his bike and a gap of 24 seconds to Marco Melandri, the next rider. He then embarked on a heroic ride, consistently lapping as fast as the leading riders and closing the gap lap by lap until he finally came within sight of Melandri, eventually passing him on lap 19 of 26. Four laps later he passed Toni Elias to take 11th and five championship points, finishing 46 seconds behind race-winner Casey Stoner.

With Rossi’s closest championship rival Dani Pedrosa finishing second, his gutsy ride could prove crucial in the championship race. The Italian’s first non-podium finish since the opening race of the season means he has surrendered his title lead to Pedrosa but he is adrift by only four points, the pair on 171 and 167 respectively.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 11th Time: +46.025
“After seven podiums in a row I made a mistake today – this is racing! I am very disappointed because we made a change to the set-up of the front and it worked very well, and I could tell from the warm-up lap that my bike was very good today. Unfortunately I made a mistake at the first left; I arrived too fast when the tyres were still cold, I was too hard on the brakes and I lost the rear. I am sincerely sorry to Randy de Puniet and all of his team. After the crash I had a bent handlebar and no gear shifter, but despite this I was able to do the third fastest lap time, 37.1! I know I could have been faster than Pedrosa today and, although it’s easy to say now, I think I could have fought with Stoner for the win. I am glad for these five points and although we have lost the lead we are not far behind Pedrosa. I am looking forward now to some more technical improvements for my bike and being fast, together with Bridgestone, at every track.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“This was a good race for Valentino, except for the first lap! The crash was unfortunate and we’re very sorry to Randy de Puniet and the LCR team; we apologise to them all and we hope that Randy is okay. Once Valentino remounted what he did was simply amazing, especially without a gear-shift and with a bent handlebar! For several laps he was the fastest rider on the track, which shows once again his spirit and determination, although it’s also disappointing because it’s clear that we could have done a good race today. These five points today are incredibly important because they have kept the gap to Pedrosa to just four points, with half of the season still remaining. Now we will just have to start again in Sachsenring and hope for a better weekend!”