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MotoGP: 2009 Sachsenring Results
Rossi holds off teammate Lorenzo, maintains season points lead
Round Nine, and MotoGP descends upon Saxony. Or Bavaria. Whatever you want to call it, and whatever you happen to think about people who originated in this area, including Saxons and Bavarians (folks native to this area live in the shadow of what used to be lovingly referred to as the Czech Frontier.) It took me awhile to connect the dots between Saxony and Sachsenring, which I’ve now done. I’m ready to discuss the statement performance by Valentino Rossi on Sunday in Saxony. Bavaria. Whatever.
As the race was going off, the British announcers alluded, rather ominously, to some “unfinished business” between Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, stemming from the last few races. My thought was that it’s “unfinished business as usual” for two of the best riders on earth who have large egos and don’t like one another very much. At times in MotoGP it gets personal, and this was one of those times.
Rossi’s win extended his lead over teammate and BFF Jorge Lorenzo to 14 points, the same margin by which Lorenzo leads Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner who, in turn, leads Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa by forty. Fiat Yamaha again demonstrated that they are clearly the team to beat, in a replay of Catalunya. And again, as in Spain, Rossi refused to buckle under the challenge from his teammate and biggest rival.
Stoner looked lean and mean early in the race, contending for the lead for the first 17 laps. As has become his usual practice during this period of his physical malady, he was unable to maintain his lead, falling ultimately to fourth overall. By Lap 22, the announcers had declared another Battle of the Yamahas. On Lap 26, Lorenzo took Rossi, and Pedrosa took Stoner. On Lap 29, Rossi took Lorenzo for the last time, and held him off at the end. He made it look easy, and he made it look fun. A man at the top of his craft, sticking it to his teammate/rival and thoroughly enjoying himself on a Sunday afternoon.
Pedrosa rocketed from the eight hole to second place on the first lap and contended, along with Stoner, for 30 laps. It wasn’t going to be his day today, but he’s gotten the factory Honda competitive and back amongst the lead group on a regular basis. And this while his new teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, struggled with his third consecutive DNF, running out of front tire on Lap 26 Sunday.
The top four finishers in Sunday’s race have accounted for 26 of the 27 podium spots won this season, with Hayate Kawasaki’s Marco Melandri the exception that makes the rule, the rule being that the podium results for each round are rather too predictable. And while Sunday’s race had this problem, the battle for fifth through ninth spots was fresh and unpredictable. So unpredictable, in fact, that San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alex de Angelis took fifth and his teammate Toni Elias sixth, a stunning turn of events given their consistent mediocrity all season. A total of two seconds separated sixth place Elias from Colin Edwards in ninth. So, in fact there IS good racing taking place in MotoGP, it’s just not up near the front every week.
|2009 German Grand Prix Top Ten|
|1st||Valentino Rossi||Fiat Yamaha||41:21.769|
|2nd||Jorge Lorenzo||Fiat Yamaha||+ 0.099|
|3rd||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||+ 2.899|
|4th||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||+ 10.226|
|5th||Alex De Angelis||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 21.522|
|6th||Toni Elias||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+ 30.852|
|7th||Marco Melandri||Hayate Kawasaki||+ 31.301|
|8th||Nicky Hayden||Ducati Marlboro||+ 31.726|
|9th||Colin Edwards||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+ 32.865|
|10th||James Toseland||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+ 43.926|
Another Miserable Weekend for Yamaha Monster Tech 3 and Rizla Suzuki
Saxony was forgettable for two of the higher profile teams this weekend. Monster Tech 3 riders Colin Edwards and James Toseland finished ninth and tenth, respectively, while Rizla Suzuki riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen finished in eleventh and thirteenth places, respectively.
Colin Edwards probably felt it was a good weekend, in that he beat James Toseland, and doesn’t seem to care about too much else. It’s sad, however, to watch Vermeulen and Capirossi struggle with their underpowered machines, especially since they just received shiny new engines that are apparently every bit as underpowered as the ones they replaced.
Go Directly to Donington Park. Do Not Pass GO. Do Not Collect $200.
MotoGP winds up its four-races-in-five-weeks press next week in England for the British Grand Prix at storied Donington Park. It’s the one week all season that James Toseland gets to assert a close connection to anything, as he seems kind of more interested in being a musician than in being a motorcycle rider. Whatever. We’ll play along, at least a little, while his people suggest, with a straight face, that having people cheer for you in your native land can improve your performance by, like, 50%. Sure it can.
It looked as if Nicky Hayden was beginning to put his season back together. Finishing a credible fifth at Laguna, and qualifying fourth at Sachsenring. Feeling buoyed by this apparent improvement in his fortunes, he celebrated by going out and crashing later in qualifications, crashing again in the Sunday warm-up, getting wrapped around his own axle in a crowded Turn One on Sunday, plummeting from fourth to fourteenth on the first lap. He managed to fight his way back to eighth position by the end of the race, but no one cares who finished eighth.
After the race, Hayden was talking about all the positives he was taking from this race, and he was dead serious. Two imprudent crashes and a rookie mistake that costs you TEN SPOTS in the standings get you amped up for England! Imagine how excited he would be if he had managed a compound fracture or two in Germany.
Red Bull Rookies Cup
The teenagers ran in the rain in Germany this past weekend. Sixteen year old Czech Jakub Kornfeil led flag to flag for the win, which put him into second place in the championship standings behind Sturla Fagerhaug, who crashed at Sachsenring but recovered to finish 12th. His lead in the championship standings still sits at 25 points. South African Mathew Scholtz finished second, while 15-year-old American Jack Gagne ended up in third place. At least eight riders crashed, some more than once including Kentucky’s Hayden Gillim, although everyone seemed to escape injury. Youth is wasted on the young.
|MotoGP Top Five standings (after nine rounds)|
|1st||Valentino Rossi||Fiat Yamaha||176|
|2nd||Jorge Lorenzo||Fiat Yamaha||162|
|3rd||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||148|
|4th||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||108|
|5th||Colin Edwards||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||83|
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