A damp British Grand Prix at Donington Park saw both Fiat Yamaha riders crash out of the lead in slippery conditions, although Valentino Rossi was able to remount and finished a brilliant fifth, extending his championship lead in the process. Jorge Lorenzo was less lucky and was unable to continue, meaning he had to watch the rest of the race from the pits after sliding out on lap nine. Yamaha kept up its 100% podium record for the season however as a superb ride from Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards sealed second place behind winner Andrea Dovizioso.
Rossi held onto the lead from pole into turn one but a frenetic first lap saw a shake-up between several riders and it was Toni Elias who led across the line for the first time, followed by Lorenzo and Rossi. There were more changes of position between the top five over the next few laps before Lorenzo took the lead at the start of lap five, with Rossi passing Dani Pedrosa and eventual race-winner Dovizioso next time around to move into second behind his team-mate. At that point the race looked like it was developing into another Fiat Yamaha duel but unfortunately on lap nine Lorenzo touched the white line in the last corner and went down. He was unhurt and ran to his bike to remount but it was damaged and lodged under the air fence and the Spaniard was forced to return to the garage.
The race was now between Rossi and Dovizioso, who were over ten seconds clear of the chasing pack by this time. The pair were pushing hard but light rain meant the track was becoming slippery in places and on lap 20 Rossi, too, made a rare mistake and slid out. The Italian was more fortunate than his team-mate however and was able to rejoin the race in 11th place. As the rain became heavier a few riders pitted to change bikes but Rossi decided to take a chance and stay out, making up several places before a last-lap move on James Toseland landed him a creditable fifth.
With Rossi’s other close rivals Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner also having less than perfect days, the reigning World Champion leaves the UK having stretched his lead to 25 points from his team-mate, with Stoner a further 12 points back. The MotoGP paddock now has a three-week summer break before Round 11 at Brno on 16th August.
Valentino Rossi Speaks… (Position: 5th, Time: +21.622)
"Once Jorge had crashed I was riding to win, as is always my style. In hindsight maybe I should have let Dovizioso pass me for a while but it was difficult to judge in such strange conditions. Riding in the rain with slick tyres is always a risk and it was quite slippery, the turns on the left were all wet which made the left side of the tyre cold and that’s why I crashed. Luckily it was a slow fall and my bike wasn’t hurt much. In fact, my bike was ‘bravissima’ today, both before and after the crash! After that we made a great recovery, I chose to remain with slick tyres despite the rain and the result was eleven points, which are like gold dust for us because we have extended the lead despite what happened here and we’re going on holiday with a good advantage over our rivals. Finally I want to say well done to Dovi but especially to Colin, who rode like a devil today!"
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks… (Position: DNF, Time: Lap 9)
"I got a good start and the first few laps went well, I was feeling quite comfortable in the lead. Unfortunately on the final corner of the ninth lap I made a small mistake, got my line wrong and touched the white line and there was nothing I could do; it was very slippery. I was okay and wanted to carry on but my bike was too badly damaged. Of course I’m sad and disappointed but this is racing and these feelings don’t help, you just have to learn from a mistake like this and look forwards. Valentino was lucky that he could continue after his crash, but it wasn’t our day. I am going to enjoy the break now despite this and take the chance to do plenty of training so we can come back at full strength in Brno."
Davide Brivio Speaks… (Rossi Team Manager)
"We missed an opportunity today but we’ve come out of it well so we have to be thankful! They were very difficult conditions and it was easy to make a mistake but at the end of the day we have to look at the championship and consider that in those terms today was more positive than negative for us. We now have a one-race lead which is an important barrier and we’ve got a bit of a holiday now before we come back and resume the fight."
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks… (Lorenzo Team Manager)
"What a crazy day! We missed a great chance to get some points and a good result but unfortunately Jorge just touched the line and he had no chance to save it. It was also unlucky that the bike was stuck under the fence because there was no chance for him to continue. It’s a pity of course because the team did a great job this weekend and we were competitive in the wet and the dry, but Jorge will learn from this and will be stronger next time. We’ve got a small break, not really enough for a holiday but enough to recharge the batteries a bit after a busy two months."
MotoGP Brno Race Results
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
2. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
3. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
4. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
5. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
6. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
8. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
9. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
10. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
11. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
12. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
13. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
14. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
15. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
MotoGP Championship Standings
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team
4. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda
5. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda
7. Marco Melandri (ITA) Hayate Racing Team
8. Randy De Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP
9. Chris Vermeulen (AUS) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
11. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team
12. Alex De Angelis (RSM) San Carlo Honda Gresini
13. James Toseland (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3
14. Toni Elias (SPA) San Carlo Honda Gresini
15. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Racing
16. Niccolo Canepa (ITA) Pramac Racing
17. Sete Gibernau (SPA) Grupo Francisco Hernando
18. Yuki Takahashi (JPN) Scot Racing Team
19. Gabor Talmacsi (HUN) Scot Racing Team MotoGP
Donington Park: Record Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2006, 1’28.714
Donington Park: Best Lap
D. Pedrosa (Honda) 2006, 1’27.676