Spaniards triumphant in Spanish Grand Prix

King Carlos brokers peace between Pedrosa and Lorenzo

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 31, 2008
It took a royal decree to get rivals Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo to shake hands on the podium following the Spanish Grand Prix on March 30.

King Juan Carlos played peacemaker in encouraging race winner Pedrosa and Lorenzo to clasp their hands before their countrymen.

Racing for Repsol Honda, Pedrosa ran a perfect race, seizing an iron-clad grip on the lead after powering past fellow Spaniard Lorenzo on the first turn to earn his first ever MotoGP win at Jerez.

“I got a good start, not spectacular like in Qatar, but effective, so I was able t o take the lead,” says Pedrosa. “I did my best, I focused on not making mistakes and I was able to manage the race all the way to the finish and get a win in front of the Spanish fans.”

Lorenzo, who won his second pole position in as many career MotoGP races, slipped to third after Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi passed him on the fourth lap. Lorenzo finished half a second behind Rossi to earn the final spot on the podium.

"Of course I'm a little bit disappointed today because we thought that we might be able to make more of a challenge, but I can't complain because it's only my second race and I've had two podiums and two pole positions, so it's still a great result,” says Lorenzo. “To race today in front of so many Spanish fans and also The King was something incredible and I have really enjoyed myself a lot here.”

Rossi’s second place finish marked his 100th appearance on a MotoGP podium. Reaching that elite milestone may have gotten to the seven-time world champion when he slowed slightly at the end of his second-last lap to celebrate before realizing he had one more lap remaining.

“I am also very happy to have reached 100 podiums in MotoGP; now I am wondering if I can get to 200!” says Rossi. “It's a pity we couldn't win today and maybe I was a little bit too cautious at the start because I wanted to take care of my tires, but in the end they worked very well from start to finish and so this is great for the future.”

Defending world champion Casey Stoner extended his poor track record at Jerez with a disappointing 11th. Last year, Stoner finished in fifth place, but fared worse this year, venturing into the gravel twice on the same corner.

"Today wasn't my day - I suppose it wasn't my weekend! We never found the set-up here that would let us make the most of our potential,” says Stoner. “Normally braking is one of the strong points of our bike but here I just didn't have the feeling with the front. I wasn't quite on the limit when I ran off track the first time but I couldn't get the bike stopped so it took me by surprise because we weren't doing anything differently.”

With his victory, Pedrosa jumped to the top of the season standings with 41 points, ahead of Lorenzo’s 36. The two will continue their rivalry in two weeks at the Grand Prix of Portugal, just outside of King Carlos’ jurisdiction.