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MotoGP 2010 Sachsenring Results
Pedrosa breaks Lorenzo string after re-start; 4th place for Rossi
The 2010 MotoGP German Grand Prix, hosted by the venerable Sachsenring, was toddling along about as expected until Lap 9. While Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were battling for the lead, back at Turn 4 LCR Honda’s hard luck Randy de Puniet crashed in front of Pramac Racing’s Aleix Espargaro and Rizla Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista.
In the ensuing confusion, it appeared that Bautista hit de Puniet’s machine, which burst into flames, while Espargaro hit de Puniet’s leg, breaking two bones, sending the Frenchman to the hospital and bringing out the red flag. Once the cement dust settled, a determined Pedrosa passed Lorenzo on Lap 10 of the second race and won going away. And although it’s not raining on Lorenzo’s victory parade, a few storm clouds are now visible on the distant horizon.
These storm clouds currently take on three separate forms. The first is Dani Pedrosa, who showed me a lot today and who clearly hasn’t quit on his 2010 championship quest. The second is the inimitable Valentino Rossi, who came back several weeks before he should have and just missed out on a podium by a few tenths to a gritty Casey Stoner. Lorenzo is simply not as dominant when Rossi’s on the track as he is when The Doctor is outta town. The third, and potentially most intriguing, is Lorenzo’s sudden concern over the six engine rule. He blew his second engine of the season on Saturday, and, as my friend David Emmett points out on his website, may find himself in a trick bag at season’s end.
The distinction between the riders and the rock stars of MotoGP was never clearer than it was today. Jorge Lorenzo had a bad day, for him, finished second and earned another 20 championship points. Randy de Puniet had a bad day, ended up in the hospital and faces several months of painful rehabilitation. Lorenzo stretched his lead over everyone but Pedrosa, while de Puniet lost two slots in the world championship standings and saw his chance to be 2010’s top privateer go up in smoke. In MotoGP, as in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal; some are just more equal than others. [Saving grace for de Puniet – he won’t have to listen to me yammer on for the next two months about how he qualifies better than he races.]
Some Days Chicken …
Several riders had productive days today and benefitted from the re-start. Rossi, whom one had expected might fade due to fatigue in a full 30-lap race, was able to rest and gather himself for what became an epic duel with Stoner in the shortened 21 lap finale. Their battle reminded me of a similar one-on-one contest at Laguna Seca in 2008, except that Rossi won that one, while Stoner won today.
Pedrosa, it could be argued, received a jolt of confidence in the warm-up race that carried over, and ultimately carried him, in the main event. The main beneficiary, however, from the re-start had to be Nicky Hayden. The Ducati Marlboro rider who couldn’t get out of his own way on Saturday and qualified 15th, was flying in sixth place when the red flag came out. Although he ultimately finished seventh, he must feel fortunate to have ended up the top ten after Saturday’s qualifying debacle. Finally, San Carlo Honda’s Marco Simoncelli continued his season-long improvement with a sixth place finish, his best result so far this season.
… and Some Days Feathers
Colin Edwards, this year’s version of last year’s horrendous Nicky Hayden, continued his steady march to oblivion with an unforced crash on Lap 7 of the first race. Monster Yamaha Tech 3 may in the market for two new riders next season, if Ben Spies graduates to the factory team, as expected, and Edwards goes the way of all things.
Pramac Ducati’s Aleix Espargaro, a victim of plain bad luck today, appeared to have injured his left wrist in the crash and may have issues next week in Monterey. Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso made it three rounds in a row without a podium appearance. He started out like a house on fire in the first race but appeared to have grip issues throughout the second, ending up 12 seconds behind Rossi and just ahead of rookie Simoncelli.
Hector Barbera, looking determined to prove that his second row qualifying run the yellow Aspar Ducati on Saturday was, in fact, a fluke, ended up ninth, and could have easily been 11th in a full grid.
The 2010 World Championship After Eight Rounds
Casey Stoner now sits in fourth place with 83 points, five ahead of Nicky Hayden, who leads the resurgent Rossi by a mere four.
Randy de Puniet, currently seventh with 69 points, will be riding the down elevator for the next few months while his leg heals. In the meantime, Roger Lee Hayden has been annouced as de Puniet’s replacement for the Laguna Seca round. Nicky’s little brother normally races World Superbike on a Kawasaki, but Honda already had him on speed dial giving him a Moto2 wildcard spot for Indy.
Ben Spies, who was practically invisible today on yet another unfamiliar track, has earned 67 points this year. Marco Simoncelli and San Carlo Honda Gresini teammate Marco Melandri round out the top ten with 49 and 45 points, respectively. Last and least, my boy Alex de Angelis, he of the rainbow helmet, owns the distinction of being the only rider on the planet to have scored points in both Moto2 (11) and MotoGP (4) this season. He therefore gets my vote for the “Taller Than Mickey Rooney” Award.
Meanwhile, Over at Moto2
Toni Elias, de Angelis’ teammate last season at San Carlo Gresini Honda, won his third race of the season at the Sachsenring on Sunday, finally overtaking then-leader Andrea Iannone with six laps to go after a slow start. In so doing, he opened up a 42 points advantage for the season over second place Thomas Luthi, who recorded a DNF today after an early crash. Iannone’s second-place finish today put him into third place for the season.
Spain made it a hat trick on Sunday as Marc Marquez coasted to an easy win in the 125cc race early in the day.
California or Bust
MotoGP’s premier class heads to the United States for next week’s Round 9, while Moto2 and the 125 class get an early start on their summer vacations. All three grids will be back in action again in mid-August at Brno.
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