Valentino Rossi put in a faultless display to claim his fifth win of the season at Brno today, 13 years almost to the day after he took the first of his 102 Grand Prix wins. The Italian’s 160th career podium also moves him ahead of Giacomo Agostini to top the all-time podium list. It was a devastating day for his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, as the Spaniard crashed out with just five laps to go when sparring with Rossi at the front.
A stunning day in the Czech Republic saw 130,000 fans make the trip to watch what was expected to be another thrilling duel between the Yamaha pair. Rossi got a great start from pole position but Lorenzo, starting alongside him, dropped a couple of positions and had to battle back to take third first time around. On lap four the Mallorcan moved past Dani Pedrosa to claim second and he and Rossi gradually began to clear a gap from Pedrosa and the chasing pack.
The middle part of the race was largely uneventful, with Rossi retaining a more or less consistent gap of about half a second from his team-mate, but just after the half way point Lorenzo improved his rhythm and suddenly started to look threatening. The two were by now pushing each other hard, lapping nearly two seconds faster than the other riders and on lap 17 Lorenzo made his move, passing Rossi early on to claim the lead and set the fastest lap of the race. The crowd was gearing up for a tense finale but on the next lap Lorenzo made a mistake in braking, ran wide and lost the front, sliding into the gravel to leave Rossi 14 seconds clear at the front. All the 30-year-old had to do then was bring his M1 safely home which he duly did, easing up to cross the line 11.766 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, with Toni Elias back in third.
Another 25 points for Rossi and zero for Lorenzo means he is now 50 points clear at the top of the championship, whilst Lorenzo stays second, 12 points ahead of the absent Stoner and 27 ahead of Pedrosa. The next stop for the team is the Indianapolis Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Position: 1st Time: 43’08.991
“This is a very important victory for us! Jorge had shown all weekend that he was very strong and, when we still weren’t feeling perfect after the warm-up, we decided to make one more small modification to improve the feeling with the front and the result was brilliant; my Yamaha really flew today. I got a good start and I was able to ride exactly how I wanted, using all of the track to get the best lines. At the end, when Jorge passed me, I thought that the fight was starting and I was really ready for it, but then he made a mistake and crashed. Of course I’m sorry; it’s really bad for him but I have to say that it’s great for us because now we have an advantage of 50 points with six races to go. However it would be very stupid to relax now because Jorge is very strong and for sure we expect another hard fight with him in Indianapolis. Today I arrived at the top of the all-time podium list and I’m very proud of this, especially here at Brno where I took my first victory 13 years ago! Thanks to Yamaha and my team for today, it was a great win.”
Position: DNF Time:
“I got a bad start and had to get by some people, and then I just didn’t have the same pace that I’d had all weekend. I was slower than in the practices and it really wasn’t what I was expecting. Unfortunately for me Valentino was just as strong as he’d been all weekend and I had to push very, very hard to stay with him. Towards the end I began to close the gap and after I passed him I was doing everything to stay in front, but then I made a mistake and crashed. There’s nothing more I can say except that I’m so sorry to the team and to Yamaha and I will do everything I can to make it up in America.”
“We’re very sorry for Jorge today, because we were all hoping for another exciting battle in the final laps and I am sure it would have been a great show for the public. Today Valentino rode like a magician and again the Yamaha has been shown to be the best bike on the track. A big thanks to all the team for their work because once again they were able to provide Valentino with a bike that he was very comfortable on and happy with. Now we have a 50-point advantage but we can never stop pushing because I am sure that at the next race Jorge will be out for revenge! We are looking forward to meeting our friends from Yamaha Motor US again this year and we want to continue with the same rhythm and performance in America. Tomorrow we have a day’s testing and we will start on our development for 2010, giving Valentino the chance to try a new chassis and a new engine specification as potential solutions for next year’s bike.”
“Today was a great disappointment because after such good practice sessions we had high hopes for a great race. Of course Jorge’s target today was to try to beat Valentino in order to close the gap in the standings and so he was doing everything he could. He got past him but Valentino was still very close behind, putting a lot of pressure on Jorge and unfortunately he made a mistake and crashed. It will be another important lesson for him and we are confident that he will learn from it continue to be just as fast and to keep improving. He’s got many more races to show his potential so now we will get back to work with a day’s testing tomorrow and make sure we’re in the best shape possible for Indianapolis.”
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team scored a double top ten finish in today’s Czech Republic MotoGP race in front of nearly 140,000 sun drenched fans at the Brno circuit.
Starting from the second row of the grid, Edwards posed a persistent threat for the top six throughout a gruelling 22-lap race that saw temperatures that nudged 30 degrees. Chasing a group in front battling for fourth that included Toni Elias, Andrea Dovizioso and Loris Capirossi, Edwards lapped nearly a second faster on lap seven to get to within 0.7s of the intense battle.
Unable to remain in close contact with the battle ahead, Edwards was left to fend off the determin ed challenge of fellow American Nicky Hayden. Still less than 100 per cent fit after an illness earlier in the weekend, the 35-year-old produced a superb performance, holding Hayden at bay until lap 18. He tried to mount a late counter attack on Hayden to secure his fifth top six finish of the season, but he had to settle for seventh, losing out to Hayden by just 0.1s.
British rider James Toseland produced a typically determined ride, the 28-year-old making up two places on the first lap as he set about mounting a top ten challenge from 14th on the grid. Growing in confidence after some early front-end issues, Toseland settled into a consistent pace and he eventually finished in a respectable ninth place, just over 1.5s away from Alex de Angelis in eighth.
Colin Edwards 7th – 112 points
“That was a pretty tough race. Right from the start of the weekend I said I thought my engine felt a bit flat and today I couldn’t do anything. I was getting passed easily and I couldn’t stay in the slipstream at all. I could do the lap time but I couldn’t race them. I couldn’t get within ten bike lengths at the end of the straight but then I’d nearly be running into the back of them at the exit of the corner because I was trying to make up all the time on the brakes and on corner speed. I lost the group with Toni, Andrea and Loris for a bit early on but I only came back at them for a while because I was pushing the front so hard. I got the right side of the front tyre way too hot and after that I kept losing the front. I was nearly running into them in the middle of the corner but I couldn’t get close enough to pass them on the brakes going in. At the end I was locked in a battle with Nicky but I think I could have been behind him all day and not be able to pass him. I got another load of points and I was close to the top six, but I’ve been beating those guys in front of me consistently all year and that’s a pity because maybe I could have got another podium today. I’m back home again for Indianapolis next time out and I’ll be looking for a much better weekend.”
James Toseland 9th – 62 points
“It has been a tough weekend and I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit fortunate to get into the top ten. I rode as hard as I could every lap and never gave up but at the moment I’m struggling with a problem with the front for the first half of the race. I get a hopping sensation on the front and it really hurts my corner speed. We’ve been struggling with it for a while now but after half distance, how the feeling comes better is unbelievable. It’s almost like somebody is tweaking my bike while I’m riding because it improves so much. On lap 20 I did a 58.4, which is only one tenth off my qualifying time, so it shows how good the bike eventually feels. But I lose so much in the first half of the race that it really costs me. My pace in the second half of the race should be getting me in the top six. If we can solve this front-end issue then I know I can be running much higher up the field, which is where the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team deserves to be.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“You can’t be disappointed when both Colin and James finish inside the top ten having given their maximum again in what was a demanding race. But it was a little bit disappointing, particularly for Colin who was doing very well all weekend. I don’t think he was 100 per cent still after his illness but it was another strong result for him. James again was much better in the race than he was in practice and I’m pleased that he put in a lot of effort in the second half of the race. If he can sol ve some of the problems he’s experiencing I’m convinced we will see him achieving much better results. Now we move to Indianapolis which is an important race for Colin, for Yamaha and for our sponsor Monster, so hopefully we can be fighting back closer to the top five. I’d like to congratulate Valentino because he again proved he is the master. Yamaha was unbelievably strong again today and it was just a shame Jorge crashed because everybody was looking forward to a strong fight for the world championship to the end.”