Stoner dominates Dutch TT

Pedrosa passes Rossi for championship lead

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 30, 2008
Casey Stoner won his second consecutive race while Dani Pedrosa took the lead in the MotoGP standings following the traditional Saturday race at Assen, June 28.

Stoner, who qualified on the pole and also posted top lap times in the practice sessions, led all 26 laps of the Dutch TT, winning by a margin of 11.31 over Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa.

“We knew we had the pace to win today but sometimes coming into race day that can make you even more nervous because you know the only thing that can go wrong is yourself,” says Stoner, who races for Ducati Marlboro. “I was also worried about the weather and after watching the 125 race I thought it would be typical to start raining whilst I was in the lead. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and I was able to get out front, put my head down and concentrate on doing the times we’ve been doing all weekend in dry conditions.”

With his second place finish, Pedrosa assumed the lead in the season standings with 171 points, four points ahead of Valentino Rossi of Fiat Yamaha.

“I’m happy with this result because it was a difficult race and I’m happy to be in the World Championship lead once again, the 20 points we got here are very important,” says Pedrosa.

Pedrosa was able to capitalize on a rare mistake by Rossi who collided with LCR Honda MotoGP’s Randy de Puniet on the first lap. Rossi was able to remount and earn five valuable points in an 11th-place finish, despite a broken gear-shifter and a bent handlebar. De Puniet, however, was unable to continue after the accident.Despite a slow start to the 2009 season, Casey Stoner has won two races in a row and now sits third in the standings.

“After seven podiums in a row I made a mistake today – this is racing,” says Rossi. “Unfortunately I made a mistake at the first left; I arrived too fast when the tires were still cold, I was too hard on the brakes and I lost the rear. I am sincerely sorry to Randy de Puniet and all of his team.”

Houston, Texas native Colin Edwards earned his second podium spot of the season by finishing third, despite dropping to last place after getting stuck behind Rossi’s crash. Edwards recovered and marched his way back up to the front.

“I thought I had a good start and was fifth or sixth when Valentino got tangled with Randy de Puniet and he crashed. I might have gone left but I knew Valentino was on the ground and I didn’t want to run over him or his bike and I just stopped,” says Edwards. “The next thing I know is I’m dead last and then Alex de Angelis went down soon after and I lost a bit more ground. I just decided to get my head and push. I thought I’d rather be in the gravel than riding round for eighth or ninth. I started picking guys off and before I knew it I was on the back of the group fighting for fourth.”

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider provided some drama late in the race as he challenged fellow American Nicky Hayden of Repsol Honda for the final podium spot. Edwards surged ahead after the final chicane when Hayden’s pneumatic valve-powered RC212V ran out of fuel.

“On the sighting lap I knew something was wrong. It’s been a little bit frustrating because she hasn’t run right off the bottom since I got here, especially out of slow corners,” says Hayden about his bike. “They’ve been changing stuff and they thought they had it fixed but something was wrong. I had a dash light come on at the start of the race, though it went off after the start. She finally quit right before the finish line.”

The MotoGP series continues July 13 at Sachsenring in Germany.

MotoGP Championship standings

Pos. Rider Team Points
1. Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda 171
2. Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha 167
3. Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro 142
4. Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha 114
5. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha 98