This morning’s practice was run on a damp track but the weather worsened through the middle part of the day and the MotoGP race began in heavy rain. Rossi, starting from seventh on the grid, was caught up in the first lap confusion and lost some time but then made up two places on the second lap, before being elevated to fourth when Pedrosa went down. In the next few laps the Italian passed first fellow Yamaha rider Colin Edwards and then Andrea Dovizioso, which left him in second behind Casey Stoner. Rossi did his best to close the gap to the Australian but with the pair clocking similar lap times he was unable to make any headway into a deficit of more than three seconds, settling for second place and 20 points. Chris Vermeulen loomed behind him at mid-race distance but Rossi’s M1 and his Bridgestone tyres were working well in the wet and he was able to step up the pace somewhat, eventually crossed the line 3.708 seconds behind Stoner and more than 14 ahead of third-placed Vermeulen.
Today’s result sees Rossi back at the top of the standings, 16 points clear of Pedrosa and 20 ahead of Stoner, whilst Lorenzo holds on to fourth despite taking no points today. The MotoGP paddock now packs up and makes the transatlantic trip to California for the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in a week’s time.
Valentino Rossi - Position: 2nd Time: +3.708
“I’m really happy with this result, even if racing in the rain today wasn’t quite as much fun as I’ve had in some of my past races here! For the championship this is very, very important; I made a mistake last week in Assen and today Dani did the same. It’s unlucky but this is racing and now we are back in front and this is a very good feeling. Dani is tough and we know he will be back fighting at the front, but sincerely at the moment we need to think about how to catch Casey because he has been very fast now for a few races. Once again here we lost some time during the practice trying to find the right setting and we can’t afford to keep doing this. Today we started from the third row and this meant that I had to deal with some confusion at the start and lost some time on the front riders. By the time I got behind Casey my M1 was working very well and I had very good grip with my Bridgestone rain tyres; I felt very confident and I tried hard to push but there was no way to catch him at that stage, so our aim must be to start at the front from now on. Thanks to all my team and engineers; now we have to try to extend this lead in Laguna.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“This was a very positive race for us because this result takes us back to the top of the championship standings. I hope that Pedrosa’s condition is not too serious and that he will be back at Laguna to fight as he has been doing so far. Today we have seen that we have a good set-up for the wet conditions and this is good news for us, as this was the very first full wet race since the beginning of the championship. Valentino pushed hard till the end of the race and the second place today was the maximum we could do, starting from the third row. Now we go to Laguna Seca, where we will launch another attack!”
Unlucky Lorenzo slides off in rainy Germany
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo was one of four riders who failed to finish the German Grand Prix today, falling victim to a soaking track on the third lap of a rainy race at Sachsenring. His team-mate Valentino Rossi meanwhile regained his championship lead by way of an important second place, after series-leader Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead early on.
Lorenzo had lacked rear grip all weekend but was hopeful that the rain might improve the situation today. Unfortunately however the reverse was true and he was thrown from his M1 when his rear tyre spun up on the exit from turn four, on lap three of 30. The Mallorcan was luckily completely unhurt this time and will not have to wait long to get over his disappointment, as his first competitive visit to Laguna Seca beckons in just a few day’s time.
The Michelin-shod rider holds onto fourth in the championship despite taking no points today.
Jorge Lorenzo - DNF
“I felt good this morning because I though that I would have a chance to do a good race in the rain. On the warm-up lap however I felt that something wasn’t quite right; I didn’t have enough grip and I lost some confidence then. I made a good start and passed two riders in the first corner, but then I ran too deep and lost the places so I had to push to try to make them up again. The crash happened when I opened the gas coming out of turn four and I lost the rear. It was a pity but I didn’t hurt myself this time and I am not feeling sad for myself tonight, I just feel very bad for the team because they worked too hard all weekend for a result like this. The positive thing about today is that at each race I am feeling better in myself, even though we’re having some problems getting our package work correctly, and now I am just looking forward to racing for the very first time at Laguna.’
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
“Today it was very difficult to find enough grip on the rear, in fact it seems like our problems became bigger in the wet. The rear tyre was spinning a lot under acceleration and Jorge was not able to control the rear grip. We did not have the chance to test in full wet conditions during the weekend and this played an important role for us, because it meant that it was impossible to be completely prepared for a wet race like this. We hope for better weather next week in Laguna Seca so that we can sort out all of our problems, because we absolutely want to come back to the level we know Jorge is capable of.”
Toseland 11th, Edwards crashes at soaked Sachsenring
Today’s 30-lap German MotoGP race ended below pre-race expectations for Tech 3 Yamaha duo Colin Edwards and James Toseland at a rain-soaked Sachsenring.
Making his wet race debut on board the Yamaha YZR-M1, Toseland gained valuable experience in full rain conditions on his way to a battling 11th place. Edwards’ bid though to extend the best run of form in his MotoGP career ended with a crash out of fifth place on lap 21. Toseland made a stunning start from the fourth row to claim fifth by the first corner, but he was unable to match the fast pace of the leaders as he faced the tough task of mastering the conditions, while also adapting to his YZR-M1 machine in the wet. Edwards’ crash ended his valiant attempt to claim a sixth successive top five finish in front of a 98,000-strong crowd. Having started from the front row for the fifth time in 2008, he seemed certain to be Michelin’s best finisher when he slipped off at the seventh corner while holding off Andrea Dovizioso. Fortunately, Edwards escaped injury and is looking forward to a return to form in his home race at Laguna Seca next weekend.
James Toseland 11th - 65 points
“That was my first wet MotoGP race and I’ve got to admit that while I feel I’ve learned a lot, it was a difficult afternoon. I got an unbelievable start and at the first corner I was fifth and nearly took fourth. I thought I was in business but pretty much straightaway I knew it was going to be difficult to try and go away with the leading group. I had a couple of moments on the opening lap and I started losing places quite quickly. The frustrating thing was I couldn’t do anything to respond. I didn’t want to push too hard because I’d seen Jorge Lorenzo crash in front of me, so I knew I wasn’t the only one struggling for rear grip. I think that coupled with a lack of experience of riding this bike in the rain made it tough. I kind of just got stuck at the pace I was running and couldn’t really go any faster. I’m not going to blame anybody because I’m having a bit of a bad period but a positive from the weekend is I feel we have taken some big strides with the set-up of the bike. I was only halfa- second off the front row and I was fourth in the warm-up, so it has not been a bad weekend. We have eliminated a lot of problems and the team has done a great job, so I am looking forward to getting back closer to where I know I am capable of being and the team is capable of being at Laguna Seca. It is a track I know well, and I go there in a positive frame of mind as always despite having this tough run."
“All I can is it was a very tough race right from the start. The conditions were not easy but I got a reasonable start and just wanted to get into a steady pace. But it was obvious from quite early on that it was going to be difficult. I didn’t have a lot of feel from the rear tyre and I tried everything I could to hang in there and keep a top five finish for the team, who have been great all weekend. It would have also kept my own personal good run going. But as the race wore on it wasn’t getting any better and I lost the rear at the downhill left-hander. I had no warning at all and I didn’t feel I was particularly pushing too hard because by that stage a podium had already gone. I was trying to keep Dovizioso behind me to at least finish top Michelin rider. I’d tried to follow Casey and Valentino but I just didn’t have anything for them. Fifth was going to be the best result I could have managed today and that’s a bit disappointing because in the dry I think I could have been fighting for a podium. I’m just grateful I didn’t get hurt in the crash because I’ve got my home race coming up and I desperately want to put on a good performance for the American fans, Tech 3 and Yamaha at Laguna Seca. After this disappointment I’ll be looking to bounce straight back."
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“It was obviously not what we expected. We were not too confident for a wet race even though Colin had done another fantastic job to get on the front row again. We also know that Colin is very fast in the rain and the race started quite well and Colin and James were both right up with the leaders. But unfortunately we could easily see that it was difficult for Colin to follow the leaders from very early on and a podium was going to be difficult to achieve. Colin tried his absolute maximum to stay close and he was the first Michelin rider before he crashed. This can happen in such tough conditions and I don’t blame him at all. He was trying very hard with a package that wasn’t competitive enough to get a podium. Luckily he is okay because he has a very important race for him, the team and Yamaha next weekend in Laguna Seca. James also had some problems and I’m thankful he managed to bring it home and get a few points in such tough conditions in what was his first wet race. We have been on a good run of results and we might have closed on Jorge in fourth in the championship but it didn’t happen. Hopefully in Laguna we won’t have any rain and I hope Colin and James can be up front and they will only have issues with the heat and not the rain.”