The Ducati Xerox Team has been on track at the Mugello circuit yesterday and this morning, as guests of the Ducati MotoGP Team, to carry out two days of testing and to verify at the same time the physical condition of Noriyuki Haga, two months after the incident at Donington Park in which the Japanese rider fractured both his right ulna and left scapula.
Refreshed after a thoroughly deserved summer break, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team made a fast and promising return to MotoGP action at the Brno circuit today.
Boosted by his brilliant second place finish in the British GP at Donington Park, Colin Edwards continued his impressive 2009 form by clocking the fourth quickest time in today’s opening practice session.
A best lap of 1.57.741 saw Edwards miss a top three finish by just 0.157s, the 35-year-old helping Yamaha secure three of the top four places as the YZR-M1 machine dominated proceedings.
The 2009 FIM MotoGP World Championship is turning out to be one of the most closely contested and unpredictable title battles in recent times and the excitement of this year’s Grand Prix racing is having a highly positive effect on the sport’s viewing figures, with the British Grand Prix last weekend enjoying particularly strong numbers.
Figures provided on behalf of MotoGP commercial and media rights holders Dorna Sports make for impressive reading, as the MotoGP race at Donington Park saw record BBC audience figures which peaked at 2.9 million viewers and the UK’s national broadcaster repo
Dovizioso won in treacherous conditions, with drizzle falling on and off throughout the 30 laps. The former 125 World Champion, who has previously ridden Hondas to 250 and 125 successes at Donington Park, exhibited enormous courage and inch-perfect riding to take a 1.3 second victory from Colin Edwards (Yamaha).
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden paid the price for a bold gamble that backfired in the British Grand Prix, opting to run wet tyres with the rest of the field on slicks as drizzle fell on the starting grid at Donington Park. The Australian and the American were concerned about the state of the track after the sighting lap and, in the hope that the light rainfall would become heavier as the race progressed, they chose to make the switch from slicks to full wets.
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.
MotoGP Results and Quotes: Donington
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Valentino Rossi took pole position number four of the 2009 season on Saturday afternoon with the fastest lap of MotoGP qualifying at Donington Park. The Fiat Yamaha rider’s time of 1’28.116 gave him his first top spot for the British Grand Prix since 2005 – the last occasion in which he won at the Midlands track.
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden will ride for potentially the final time at Donington Park tomorrow, with the British Grand Prix set to move to Silverstone next year. The Australian and the American start from fourth and fifteenth place respectively on the grid after qualifying practice was held in dry and warm conditions this afternoon.
Valentino Rossi took pole for the second race running at Donington Park this afternoon, his fourth of the season and the 56th of his career. Jorge Lorenzo qualified third and, with four poles for him also this year, the Fiat Yamaha Team has now taken the front grid slot in eight out of the ten races. It is also the fifth consecutive race at which both riders have been on the front row.
After yesterday’s downpours, today was dry with sunny intervals and this morning saw Lorenzo second and Rossi third as they got their first chance to work on their dry settings around the 4km track.
D-air Enters MotoGP
Years of dedicated motorcycle airbag research and development bring an important result to Donington this weekend, where Dainese racers will use the D-air® Racing system in heavyweight MotoGP class competition. After the general fitting tests were completed, Valentino Rossi also decided to wear the suit with a D-air® during Saturday’s race in Donington Park.
The final MotoGP at Donington Park before next year’s move to Silverstone got underway in heavy rain today, which eventually gave way to blue skies and sunshine at the Leicestershire circuit.
On the eve of the last MotoGP race weekend at Donington Park some typical occasional showers at the Midlands track provided uncertainty over the weather for the next three days of on-track action at the British Grand Prix.
Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Toni Elías, Marco Melandri and James Toseland attended the official pre-event press conference, to talk over their expectations for the race ahead. Of the quintet only Elías has not lived in the British Isles, and there is strong motivation for everyone involved to take a win this weekend.