MotoGP Race Report: Sachsenring
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Valentino Rossi was never under any illusions that he would have it easy in his defense of the MotoGP world title, and once again the Italian was made to fight for glory at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland. The Fiat Yamaha rider took the win at Sachsenring by just 0.099s from persistent rival Jorge Lorenzo in a breathtaking race to extend his lead in the World Championship.
After starting from pole for the first time at the German track, Rossi took the lead of the race after thirteen laps. Both the Italian and teammate Lorenzo eked out an advantage to make it a two-way battle to the chequered flag, with a last lap battle reminiscent of the Barcelona round of the series one month ago. Rossi’s definitive pass had come at the end of the home straight with two laps to go, and he brushed off the young pretender’s overtures for his fourth win of the 2009 season.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Dani Pedrosa had established his credentials in the dry with the best lap in the morning warmup. He had another storming start at Sachsenring to move up to the lead group, and put up a bold fight both amongst and behind the Yamaha duo. The Repsol Honda rider completed the podium with a race time under three seconds down on the top two.
Early leader Casey Stoner’s stamina lasted longer than he had expected in the dry race, and he was able to mount a serious challenge for the win. With five laps to go, however, he was passed by Pedrosa going into the first turn, and one lap later a sit-up meant that he lost touch of the Spaniard.
Alex de Angelis and Toni Elías had a successful salvage operation for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, placing fifth and sixth, respectively. Elías was particularly impressive, having started from last place.
The only retirees from the race were Randy de Puniet – who crashed on the opening lap – and Andrea Dovizioso. The latter fell victim to excessive front tyre wear and was forced to call it a day before the end of the 30-lap Grand Prix.
MotoGP Race Results Sachsenring
|1||V. ROSSI||ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||41’21.769|
|2||J. LORENZO||SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||+ 0.099|
|3||D. PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||+ 2.899|
|4||C. STONER||AUS||Ducati Marlboro Team||+ 10.226|
|5||A. DE ANGELIS||RSM||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 21.522|
|6||T. ELIAS||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 30.852|
|7||M. MELANDRI||ITA||Hayate Racing Team||+ 31.301|
|8||N. HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Marlboro Team||+ 31.726|
|9||C. EDWARDS||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+ 32.865|
|10||J. TOSELAND||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+ 43.926|
|11||L. CAPIROSSI||ITA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+ 57.375|
|12||N. CANEPA||ITA||Pramac Racing||+ 1’00.539|
|13||C. VERMEULEN||AUS||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||+ 1’03.645|
|14||M. KALLIO||FIN||Pramac Racing||+ 1’04.155|
|15||G. TALMACSI||HUN||Scot Racing Team MotoGP||1 Lap|
|A. DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Repsol Honda Team||5 Lap|
|Not finished 1st lap|
|R. DE PUNIET||FRA||LCR Honda MotoGP|
Marco Simoncelli kept his title challenge alive with a win in the 250cc contest, his second victory of his World Championship defense. As in 2008, the Metis Gilera rider broke free from the pack in the early going. This time, however, he had Álex Debón along for the ride. Simoncelli couldn’t shake the Spanish veteran despite his best attempts, although he had enough breathing space to prevent any overtaking moves.
Debón held on to second place, his first rostrum of the 2009 season, whilst behind him a fierce battle developed for the final podium spot. Álvaro Bautista took the trailing group up to his countryman on the final lap, but was unsuccessful in making a move on Debón despite putting in a circuit record lap. He did, however, get past title rival and series leader Hiroshi Aoyama to cut the gap in the standings to ten points.
The race had been restarted after an initial lap when rain fell on the Sachsenring, but during the wait between starts the track was deemed to have dried sufficiently for the majority of riders to change back to slick tyres.
Julián Simón extended his lead at the head of the 125cc World Championship classification, meanwhile, with a runaway win. The Bancaja Aspar rider had been the standout rider in every wet practice session for the German date, but proved equally adept in the dry on race day for a second triumph of 2009.
An all-Spanish podium saw Simón’s teammate Sergio Gadea extend his podium run to three races with second place, also allowing him to become the closest rival for Simón in the overall standings.
Belson Derbi’s Joan Olivé completed the podium with his first rostrum of the season, following the battle of the race between himself, fourth placed Nico Terol and Marc Maquez. A clash of fairings between Olivé and Marquez led to the latter taking a huge highside on the final lap.
The 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship continues at a rapid pace with the British Grand Prix taking place at Donington Park next weekend (24th-26th July).