Following his win at the Catalunya circuit just north of Barcelona, Spain, the Repsol Honda rider is now two-for-two this year racing in his native land. Pedrosa’s only other win this year came in the Spanish Grand Prix on March 30 in Jerez.
Pedrosa jumped ahead of the pack right from the start of the race, setting a new circuit record on his second lap. He did not let up from his strong start, holding onto the lead for the race’s 25 laps.
“I’m very happy about this win, my thanks to all the people around me. Today was also very important for the championship, I am now five points closer to the lead, but there are still many races ahead of us, so we need to keep pushing and be consistent,” says Pedrosa. “We had a few issues in practice here, so my team was thinking what they could do and they made a small adjustment before the race that improved the bike and helped me to run that pace.”
Season leader Rossi finished behind Pedrosa, just 2.806 seconds short of his fourth win in a row. It didn’t help that the Fiat Yamaha rider had a poor qualifying session, starting the race from the ninth grid position.
“After three almost perfect races, yesterday was a very hard day for us but last night we had a very good meeting and today we were able to be much more competitive,” says Rossi about his practice day. “Pedrosa was incredibly strong today and I think it’s impossible to say whether or not I could have gone with him even if I had started from the front.”
Rossi and his YZR-M1 sported a new look for the Catalan GP. To show his support for the Italian national soccer team in the 2008 Euro Cup, Rossi’s bike was painted in the colors of the ‘Azzurri’ while Rossi wore special leathers that mimicked the team’s jerseys, including his number 46 on the back.
With his second place finish, Rossi now leads all riders with 142 points. Pedrosa is in second with 135.
Rounding out the podium was Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner, who battled with Rossi throughout the race. The 2007 champion looks to be returning to form with his second podium finish in a row and third in four races.
Stoner, who started the race from the pole, sits fourth in the standings with 92 points, just two behind Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo missed the race after suffering some head trauma following a crash during practice sessions. Lorenzo also injured his right hand and will need a skin graft. Already racing on two fractured ankles, this latest injury was enough to finally sideline the 21-year-old.
|1.||Valentino Rossi||Fiat Yamaha||142|
|2.||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||135|
|3.||Jorge Lorenzo||FIAT Yamaha||94|
|4.||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||92|
|5.||Colin Edwards||Tech 3 Yamaha||69|