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MotoGPU.K.July 25, 2004
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 9
British Grand Prix, Donington Park

Edwards Back on Form But Rossi Takes The Win


A crowd of 82,000 watched a strangely sterile race here at Donington Park. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won from Colin Edwards (Telefonica MoviStar Honda RC211V), with Sete Gibernau (Telefonica MovisStar Honda RC211V) third.



Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)


Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)


On a windy, cool day Rossi stole an advantage in this tight title race, but Colin Edwards powerful performance after a troubled first half of the season shows he could well prove a man to be reckoned with as the season resumes on August 22 after a summer break.

The race began under clouds and remained a predominantly grey affair. Rossi got to Redgate first from the lights, but Loris Capirossi (Ducati) scythed inside him down the super-fast Craner Curves to lead the first lap.

Gibernau also made a move on Rossi at McLeans for second place on the opening lap, but the reigning World Champion retook second on the brakes at the Melbourne Loop. Capirossi then began to lose ground and on lap two Rossi took the lead from Sete at the Esses and held it to the flag.

But in the early stages of the race it looked as if Sete had the means to mount a challenge and when Edwards began to gain ground on the leaders to lie third on lap three from a second row start from fifth, it seemed a battle royale was shaping up.

Just as Edwards and Gibernau looked to be closing in to dispute the lead by lap nine, specks of rain appeared at Goddards corner, just before the start/finish straight. This unsettled the leaders and Edwards admitted he backed off just enough to let Rossi, who had also slowed slightly, to steal an advantage.

Rossi then worked his lead hard enough to hold a 2.2 second gap by two-thirds race distance. And by the closing stages he held a three second advantage over his pursuers.

A lot of people were putting pressure on me this season, people who thought I should be doing better. Well here’s to the nay-sayers - I’m back. I made some good passes in the early stages and then I did a stupid thing by backing off when there was a little bit of rain. But my team was awesome this weekend. The front end now does what I want it to do." said a happy Edwards at the end of the race.

Sete was relieved to finish third after two DNFs. "This podium almost feels like a win after the last two races. This was a hard weekend and we ended up changing the set-up almost 100% today. The rain was a worry, but the bike felt good and I could push hard to fight with Colin. This podium is very important.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) finished a discontented fourth. "I’m not happy," he said. "Not happy at all with the way I rode. My bike was good but I didn’t really put the race together. I put my best laps in at the end of the race but I was too far back to fight near the front. It was all pretty frustrating. If the season was going better I could relax a bit, but I just want to train more and come back stronger.

Ninth was the best Alex Barros (Repsol Honda RC211V) could do. "The
machine didn’t want to turn and there was very little feel," he said. "The first half of the race was hard to ride properly and after that the rear became a big problem. Every lap was slower and slower and in the end it was almost dangerous. We test here on Tuesday and we can't afford many more races like this.

Max Biaggi (Camel Honda RC211V) had a torrid time and finished 12th. "I felt there was something wrong with gear selection on the sighting lap," he said. "I felt the problem in warm-up and thought we had it fixed but we obviously didn’t. I thought about pitting and changing bikes but that might have made things worse in terms of time lost. I got four points and I’m still second in the Championship. Now I’m just looking forward to Brno.

There was trouble too for Makoto Tamada (Camel Honda RC211V) riding on Bridgestone tyres. "The track temperature was much lower today," said the Japanese. "And the rear of the bike didn’t feel right. The situation got worse as the race went on and I couldn’t make any places up at all. Today was just not our day and perhaps we didn’t make the right tyre choice.

As the summer break gets underway for most teams, the World Championship classification shows Rossi with 164 points, Sete and Max tied on 142 each and Colin Edwards edging closer to the top three with 95. Edwards and Biaggi are the only two riders to have scored points at every race so far this season.

A lacklustre 250cc race was brightened considerably by the sheer brilliance of Dani Pedrosa (Telefonica MoviStar Junior Team RS250RW) who produced an utterly crushing start to finish victory. Sebastian Porto (Aprilia) was a distant second and Randy de Puniet (Aprilia) an equally far away third.

Pedrosa scorched off the line with team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama (Telefonica MoviStar Junior Team RS250RW) in close attendance and Porto harrying him with his team-mate Fonsi Nieto. But red-hot rookie Aoyama, who qualified on the front row was denied a chance to shine here when Tony Elias (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) skittled him at Goddards on the first lap.

Reigning World Champion Manuel Poggiali (Aprilia) continued his wretched season when he also fell on the exit of Goddards on lap three. Alex Debon (Wurth Honda BQR RS250R) who was looking strong in fourth place high-sided on the exit of the Melbourne Loop a lap later.

The pattern was now set and hard as Porto tried to reel in the rampant Pedrosa, he had no answer to Danis' relentless riding. By lap eight the gap was 2.3 seconds to Porto and the Argentine had a 3.6 second advantage over third-placed de Puniet.

Only the margins of advantage changed as the 27-laps unfolded and by the flag Dani had 6.003 seconds over Porto. It could have been even more. Pedrosa was so far ahead he had the luxury of rolling off the throttle as soon as he turned onto the start/finish straight. He coasted over the line, arms aloft.

Dani was typically reserved after his triumph and said, "I’m happy. The
team did an excellent job. This is fantastic and slightly unbelievable.
But the bike was really good, I found a good rhythm and I have to thank
the team and Honda for making this happen.

In the World Championship points standings the 19-year-old Spaniard now has 180 points to second-placed Randy de Puniet’s 146 and Porto’s 128. It is the first time Pedrosa has scored back-to-back wins in his Grand Prix career.

Luckless Roberto Rolfo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) did not ride after injuring his shoulder in practice.

The 125cc Grand Prix was a somewhat processional affair after the spellbinding races witnessed in recent months. But winner Andrea Dovizioso (Team Scot Honda RS125R) will not be the least concerned about the relative entertainment value of the event.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) was second and Jorge Lorenzo (Derbi) third after a last ditch, last corner attack from Mika Kallio (KTM) to snatch the last podium place from Lorenzo ended in the lush English grass.

After a rainy night and sporadic showers in the morning, the track was dry for this 25-lap race and Dovizioso made the most of his pole by sprinting away into Redgate and leaving the pack way behind. By lap three the Italian World Championship leader had a 1.581 second lead over series rival Roberto Locatelli (Aprilia).

Locatelli crashed out at the tricky Coppice turn while holding third place on lap 23. But there was another high profile victim Hector Barbera (Aprilia). The Spaniard went down on the first lap and so Dovizioso’s principal title rivals both spurned valuable points.

This is Dovzioso’s third win of the season and the delighted series leader said, "That was strange and extremely lonely at the front. It was also really difficult to judge what sort of pace to run with no one with me. In the end everything worked out and my two main rivals both crashed out so it couldn’t be better.

In fact, the five riders behind him in the points standings failed to score and the table now shows Dovizioso on 163 points, Locatelli on 131, Barbera with 129, and Casey Stoner (KTM) who did not ride on 104. Dovizioso is now the 200th Italian rider to win a 125cc Grand Prix.




Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)


Alex BARROS (Repsol Honda Team)


Colin Edwards, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 2nd:
“After a really good preseason the championship started with a lot of problems for myself I didn’t feel comfortable because of the chatter problems. In Germany we managed to sort out the rear end and here we sorted the front. My feeling was quite good ever since I arrived at Donington and it was a fantastic race. I pushed hard on the opening laps and when I saw that I couldn’t fight with Valentino I just kept my rhythm together to make sure of the podium. I think this could be a turning point for the rest of the championship.”

Sete Gibernau, Telefonica MoviStar Honda, 3rd:
“I am very, very happy. This podium is like a victory for me. I feel like a winner after everything that happened over the last two races and here this weekend, when we have had a lot of problems. In Brazil and Germany we started well and ended badly but we’ve finished off in the best possible way here. We couldn’t find the right set-up and we decided to make some radical changes last night. But then it rained this morning and the race was in the dry, so I went out with a set-up that I hadn’t completed a single lap with. I have to say thanks to the team, who convinced me it would be okay. At the start I had to get to grips with the bike, then I started to push and at the end were back on the podium the objective we set ourselves for this year. That was the way it had been up to recently we had been on the podium at every race. Now I’m going on holiday but I wish we were at Brno already because I am going to fight like never before for this World Championship.”

Fausto Gresini (team manager):
“This is the first time we have both our riders on the podium in MotoGP and it is a very good result after two difficult races. Sete’s podium is very important and it was good to see Colin looking faster and stronger than ever. I am sure this will help him push onwards and upwards and that can only be good for the team as we look to push for the title. We dropped four points for Sete, but he can be very satisfied with this result.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda, 4th:
“I’m not happy really, not happy at all with the way I rode today. I thought I definitely had a better chance. My bike was good, we had a good set-up and we made a good tyre choice but I didn’t really put the race together. We had a hard battle with many of the guys; Biaggi, Capirossi and Bayliss; you really have to fight your ground with these guys. Towards the end I started to catch the leading group and made a mistake at the first gear corner got in too hot. That lost me some time and threw my rhythm for a while. It was all pretty frustrating I wanted to be in a position to fight at the end of the race. We were in that position and I put my best laps together at the end of the race but I was too far back. If the season had been going better we could have had a holiday and I feel I could relax a bit; as it is I just want to go away and train harder and come back stronger.”

Alex Barros, Repsol Honda, 9th:
“At the beginning of the race I really couldn’t go any faster. The machine didn’t want to turn and I had no feeling. I crashed yesterday with my number one machine. We checked everything in the morning warm up but it is hard to check 100% in these conditions. It all felt okay. The first half of the race was hard to ride properly; after half way the rear starts to be a big problem. Every lap was slower and slower. It started to come dangerous. In the end I just want to be safe and get to the finish and make some points. In the end I can't defend myself. We
test here on Tuesday and we look at everything. For sure we can't have more races like this.”

Max Biaggi, Camel Honda, 12th:
“On the starting grid I realized that the gear lever wasn’t right. The problem had already emerged in the warm-up, but it had been solved. However, on the sighting lap I noticed that the problem was back again. My foot was bleeding from the force I had to use to change gears in order to bring the bike home. I also was thinking about changing bikes after the warm-up lap but I would have started in last place, from the pits, I would have lost even more time and perhaps I wouldn’t even have the four points that I picked up that keep me in second in the championship. Of course after the win in Germany and to be just a point off the top of the standings, we didn’t need the luck we had today. It’s not what I expected after the last two races, but now I want to put this result behind me straight away, and make up for it in Brno.”

Sito Pons, Camel Honda (Team Principal) :
“Max was unable to express himself in today’s race because of a gear selection problem. It’s a shame because Max had shown he had the necessary pace for today’s race in the final practice session, so we were in good shape to do well. The gap between him and the top of the standings has now widened a little. We must forget this race immediately, and work on the next race in Brno to make up for today’s misfortune. Above all to get back those points we’ve lost here today in Donington.”

Makoto Tamada, Camel Honda, 14th:
“The track temperature was much lower than the previous two days and I had very little feeling with the rear of the bike from the start, the grip was very precarious. The situation got worse during the race and I wasn’t in condition to attack and remount. The performance of the time wasn’t optimum and I am not happy about the level of my competitiveness at this British Grand Prix.”

Gianluca Montiron, Camel Honda (Makoto Tamada Team Manager):
“It is not acceptable to finish the race over a minute behind, knowing what our true potential is. In the four sessions on Friday and Saturday the team concentrated on getting the best setting for the race. In the second qualifying session on Saturday afternoon the situation improved a little. In the race, after the morning rain the climate affected the performance of the tyre, which was unusual. We hope that Bridgestone can make a major step forward in the summer break and have a more consistent performance in the second half of the season.”


MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 9
British Grand Prix, Donington Park


line
MotoGP
1 Valentino ROSSI (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
2 Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
3 Sete GIBERNAU (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Troy BAYLISS (Ducati Marlboro Team)
6 Carlos CHECA (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha)
7 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
8 John HOPKINS (Team Suzuki MotoGP)
9 Alex BARROS (Repsol Honda Team)
10 Neil HODGSON (D'Antin MotoGP)
11 Ruben XAUS (D'Antin MotoGP)
12 Max BIAGGI (Camel Honda)
13 Shane BYRNE (MS Aprilia Racing)
14 Makoto TAMADA (Camel Honda)
15 Shinya NAKANO (Kawasaki Racing Team)



Colin EDWARDS (Telefonica Movistar Honda Mot)
250cc
1 Daniel PEDROSA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
2 Sebastian PORTO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
3 Randy DE PUNIET (Safilo Carrera - LCR)
4 Alex DE ANGELIS (Aprilia Racing)
5 Fonsi NIETO (Repsol - Aspar Team 250cc)
6 Roberto ROLFO (Fortuna Honda)
7 Franco BATTAINI (Campetella Racing)
8 Naoki MATSUDO (Team UGT Kurz)
9 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Telefonica Movistar Honda 250)
10 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Campetella Racing)
11 Joan OLIVE (Campetella Racing)
12 Alex BALDOLINI (Matteoni Racing)
13 Hugo MARCHAND (Freesoul Abruzzo Racing Team)
14 Johan STIGEFELT (Aprilia Germany)
15 Jakub SMRZ (Molenaar Racing)
125cc
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)
2 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Seedorf Racing)
3 Jorge LORENZO (Caja Madrid Derbi Racing)
4 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM)
5 Simone CORSI (Kopron Team Scot)
6 Steve JENKNER (Rauch Bravo)
7 Youichi UI (Abruzzo Racing Team)
8 Julian SIMON (Angaia Racing)
9 Gino BORSOI (Globet.com Racing)
10 Gioele PELLINO (Abruzzo Racing Team)
11 Stefano PERUGINI (Metis Gilera Racing Team)
12 Lukas PESEK (Ajo Motorsport)
13 Gabor TALMACSI (Semprucci Malaguti)
14 Fabrizio LAI (Metis Gilera Racing Team)
15 Mike DI MEGLIO (Globet.com Racing)
 
Related Links

· Honda MotoGP Official Web Site
· Honda Worldwide | MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· U.K.


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