News 28 Jun 2009

MotoGP: Dominant Rossi races to career victory #100 at Assen

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Valentino Rossi won his 100th Grand Prix, took his second triumph in succession and became the undisputed leader of the FIM MotoGP World Championship with a stellar performance at the Alice TT Assen.

A vintage Rossi performance was celebrated with his unraveling a backdrop and posing for a classic photo with antiquated cameras, the Italian’s latest post-race show with his faithful fan club.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo was once again forced to settle for second place, his third on the bounce. The Spaniard got off to a bad start from third on the grid and, although he was able to fight back up to the front, could not provide Rossi with the same challenge that he had done last time out.

Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner completed the podium with a solitary ride chasing Lorenzo. The Australian now trails Rossi and his Spanish rival in the overall standings after the trio had been level on points heading in to the Assen race.

Colin Edwards equaled his best result of the year with fourth place, at the head of an enthralling battle between the ‘best of the rest’. Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen and Edwards’ Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate James Toseland were also in the top six with their best finishes of the season to date.

Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso had been in with a shout at the rostrum, but both took tumbles before the race took its full shape. There was also a late fall for Pramac Racing’s Mika Kallio when the Finn was challenging for sixth on the final lap.

Hiroshi Aoyama claimed his second win of the 2009 season in the 250cc race, taking the leadership of the World Championship as a consequence.

The Scot Racing rider’s immediate rival, Álvaro Bautista, had looked to be on course to push Aoyama to the line as the duo broke free and dashed for the chequered flag. However, Mapfre Aspar rider Bautista smashed into the back of Aoyama’s Honda on the fast chicane, ending the Spaniard’s race and leaving the race winner lucky to stay upright.

Bautista´s late retirement meant that the battle behind him became one for the runner-up spot, with poleman Héctor Barberá eventually getting the better of reigning World Champion Marco Simoncelli.

Mattia Pasini and Thomas Luthi ended their hopes of catching up with the leaders when they collided midway through the race, Pasini losing his fourth position in the overall classification with a third DNF of the year. Metis Gilera rider Simoncelli now assumes the place as he attempts to remount his title challenge.

A three-way battle at the front of the 125cc contest saw the order of the podium positions decided on the very last lap, with Sergio Gadea earning his first win of 2009.

The Spaniard emerged victorious ahead of fellow countrymen Nico Terol and Julián Simón in a dry race that went down to the wire, saw Terol penalised twenty seconds and left Simón at the head of the overall classification.

The trio had battled against one another since just past the halfway mark in Assen, when third row starter Gadea joined up with the two leaders and mounted his own attempt at victory. With neither rider able to get away, a waiting game took place until the final lap, when Terol made a move that did not pay off and ran along the asphalt run-off strip. He caught up with Gadea on the home straight, but the Bancaja Aspar rider had enough of an advantage to take the win. The move was the subject of an enquiry by Race Direction, and the decision was made to relegate Terol to fifth place despite his having stepped onto the rostrum.

After taking the holeshot, British rider Bradley Smith lost ground on the leaders and became embroiled in a dogfight with title rival Andrea Iannone. Smith eventually bested the Ongetta Team I.S.P.A rider by five-hundredths of a second, in a move that gave him a belated podium behind teammates Gadea and Simón.

The next round of the FIM World Championship for the MotoGP class takes place in Laguna Seca, USA, next week, whilst the lower cylinder categories will skip the round and return at the German race later in July.

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