MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 11: U.S.A. GP > Race Results
MotoGPU.S.A.July 22, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 11
U.S.A. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca

Tough Melandri Shows Grit With Determined Third

Qualifying >>

This was perhaps not the MotoGP spectacular that many imagined, but the result did at least confirm the reality of the current situation. Casey Stoner (Ducati) won comfortably from Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) with the fighting Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) in third.



Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini)


Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini) & Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


The Repsol duo gave everything to continue their recent revival, but the unfortunate Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) tangled with a fellow American John Hopkins (Suzuki) on lap one and Nicky’s race for a podium or better was effectively over.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode a typically dogged race having fired his RC212V off the line to lead into turn one by some distance. But Stoner made it his mission to get past Dani on lap one and the Aussie was never again troubled despite Dani’s best efforts. Pedrosa would eventually finish fifth.

The pattern for this 32-lap encounter was set early, and as Nicky got himself going again in 18th place after the Hopkins episode, the front men were out on their own. Vermeulen, third on the opening lap, was now working on Dani for second place and on lap four he squeezed past him.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) had consolidated fourth place by this stage, but Melandri was in the groove and had the former World Champion in his sights. By lap nine Marco had edged past him and was now after Dani in third. Stoner meanwhile had set an early fastest lap of 1m 22.570s and was long gone.

Melandri was riding with considerable bruising to his left lower leg after running off track and crashing in yesterday’s timed qualifying session, it’s a measure of the Italian’s mental and physical toughness that he could show so well today.

Miguel Duhamel, riding in place of the injured Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V), retired on lap 12, while Melandri was now coming into closer contact with Dani for that rostrum spot in third. By lap 18 he had that podium position stolen from Pedrosa.

Stoner, by lap 25, was enjoying an 8.6 second lead over the persistent, yet distant, Vermeulen. This was how it would finish with World Championship points leader Stoner out front by 9.8 seconds from Vermeulen, then Melandri. Rossi robbed Dani of fourth, while the next Honda man home was Shinya Nakano (Konica Minolta Honda RC212V) in 12th.

Nicky pulled into the pits on lap 22 knowing his quest for points would be fruitless and with a brake problem sustained in that first lap clash, the reigning World Champion pitted wanting to avoid becoming a becoming a hazard if encountered by the leaders.

Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) brought his machine home in 14th place while Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V), employing a new chassis here, retired on lap five. Stoner’s relentless ride to victory resulted in a fastest lap of 1m 22.542s on lap 19. No one could come close to him here today.

But Stoner and his old 250cc class sparring partner Dani Pedrosa are the only riders to have scored points at every race so far this year. With seven rounds to go and with Stoner on 221 points, Rossi on 177 and Dani with 155 there is still everything to ride for. Melandri and Vermeulen are tied in fourth on 113 points apiece.

Marco, who has now finished in the top ten at the last 20 races, said: “An amazing race for me. I couldn’t ride without an injection for the pain this morning, so a big thanks to the Clinica Mobile. I didn’t feel any pain when riding, I just kept my rhythm, and in the end I did feel a bit of pain in my ankle. I started quietly and after a few laps I started to feel comfortable, got my rhythm and passed some guys till I caught Valentino. The bike and the tyres were working really well, I had a good pace so I decided to try to overtake him and go for third position. Ten laps to go, I started to suffer more, especially in breaking, but I was so motivated that I succeeded to maintain a good pace. I'd like to thank Honda for the new parts that arrived in Germany, Fausto and the team for the great job that have done during all this part of the season. I'm happy to give Fausto and the team a great result.".

Dani said: “This was a very hard race for us and I’m not really satisfied with fifth after winning the race last week and qualifying second here. I made a good start and was leading on the first lap, but I was never able to push as hard as I wanted today. We had quite a few problems with the tyres and pretty much from the start I had a lot of chatter at the rear, which increased throughout the race. Riders came past me, I was trying to stay with them, but I simply wasn’t able to – I would have crashed. So I just concentrated on staying on the bike because I couldn’t do more than that. It’s quite disappointing after the win in Germany and we have to make sure we improve the situation before the next race.”

The unlucky Nicky said: “It’s such a shame to get this result at my home race, for me, the team and for the fans. It’s certainly been a tough season and this is just the way things seem to be going – another turn one incident. I don’t want to say too much about that because it isn’t going to make things any different so we’ll leave the incident at that. My brakes just went softer and softer and the adjuster was broken which meant I couldn’t take any of the slack out of it. I carried on riding in case there was a red flag, but once I went a lap down I wasn’t going to get in the leaders’ way with the brakes going off, I’m not going to do that to anybody, so I brought it in the pits.”

Nakano in 12th said: “We started so well for this race. I could stay with the riders in front and we managed to get up to eighth on the first lap. We slipped to ninth, but I felt good, as my lap time was better than in practice, so I felt the setting was good and the tyre choice was OK. Then from the middle of the race I felt some front chattering problems and with this happening I couldn’t push hard towards the end of the race and things got a little bit worse. This was a big shame as our qualifying position was quite good. It has proved to be yet another difficult race, but I’m looking forward to the next race at the Czech Republic after I’ve had some rest at home in Japan. We should have some new parts which makes the second part of the season very exciting for us.”

Carlos Checa, 14th placed finisher, said: “It was a difficult race and after the opening laps I couldn’t stay with the second group and fight for a place in the top ten which was my target today. I pushed until the end but nothing I tried made a difference, so we need to try and better understand our package of new chassis and tyres. I did not have the feeling with the rear of the bike that I needed to be faster and this is something to look at for the coming races. Hopefully a return to Europe and the race at Brno will be a boost for me and the LCR team.”

Miguel Duhamel, who retired from the race, said: “I’d like to thank Honda USA and Fausto Gresini for this great experience. During the race I decided to stop and enter the pits because I wasn’t getting any fed back I couldn’t get into the rhythm of the bike. After the crash this morning during warm-up, I didn’t want to do any damage during the race, to the team or to any of the other riders. Despite this, I’m happy about this race weekend with the Gresini team.”

Kurtis Roberts, who pitted early in the race, said: “We’re struggling right now. I thought the electronics or something were going out. So right after that I was like, this thing ain’t going to make it anyway. But the good thing with Honda is they’ll figure out what’s wrong with this thing and I feel sorry for everyone else in the paddock next year. That’s my thinking. If it’s the same Honda I’ve always known.”



Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)


Shinya NAKANO (Konica Minolta Honda)


MotoGP
Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 3rd.
“Today is one of the happiest days in my life. I had a good start of the weekend, the bike was working really well and I was very positive. After yesterday's crash, today's third place is an incredible result. This morning I went on track for the warm up but I decided to enter the box again and rest because I had so much pain in my left ankle that I couldn't down shift the gears. For the race I started quietly and after a few laps I started to feel comfortable, got my rhythm and passed some guys till I caught Valentino. The bike and the tyres were working really well, I had a good pace so I decided to try to overtake him and go for third position. Ten laps to go, I started to suffer more, especially in breaking, but I was so motivated that I succeeded to maintain a good pace. I'd like to thank Honda for the new parts that arrived in Germany, Fausto and the team for the great job that have done during all this part of the season. I'm happy to give Fausto and the team a great result.".

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 5th.
"This was a very hard race for us and I'm not really satisfied with fifth after winning the race last week and qualifying second here. I made a good start and was leading on the first lap, but I was never able to push as hard as I wanted today. We had quite a few problems with the tyres and pretty much from the start I had a lot of chatter at the rear which was increasing through the race. As every rider came past me I was trying to stay with them, but I simply wasn't able to - I would have crashed. So I just concentrated on staying on the bike because I couldn't do more than that. It's quite disappointing after the win in Germany and we have to make sure we improve the situation before the next race."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 12th.
“We started so well for this race. I could stay with the riders in front and we managed to get up to eighth on the first lap. We slipped to ninth, but I felt good, as my lap time was better than practice so I felt that the setting was good and the tyre choice was OK. Then from the middle of the race I felt some front chattering problems and with this happening I couldn’t push hard towards the end of the race and things got a little bit worse. This was a big shame as our qualifying position was quite good. It has proved to be yet another difficult race, but I’m looking forward to the next race at the Czech Republic after I’ve had some rest at home in Japan. We should have some new parts which makes the second part of the season very exciting for us.”

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 14th.
“It was a difficult race and after the opening laps I couldn’t stay with the second group and fight for a place in the top ten which was my target today. I pushed until the end but nothing I tried made a difference and for we need to try and better understand our package of new chassis and tyres. I did not have the feeling with the rear of the bike that I needed to be faster and this is something to look at for the coming races. Hopefully a return to Europe and the race at Brno will be a boost for me and the LCR team.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: dnf – collision damage.
"It's such a shame to get this result at my home race, for me, the team and for the fans. It's certainly been a tough season and this is just the way things seem to be going - another Turn One incident. I don't want to say too much about that because it isn't going to make things any different so we'll leave the incident at that. Luckily I didn't get hurt because I took big impact on my leg. The main thing is that it damaged my brake cable and as soon as I got going after three laps my brakes just went softer and softer and the adjuster was broken which meant I couldn't take any of the slack out of it. I carried on riding in case there was a red flag, but once I went a lap down I wasn't going to get in the leaders' way with the brakes going off, I'm not going to do that to anybody, so I brought it in the pits. It's a shame for all the fans because the support here was unreal and I would at least have enjoyed getting in the race and having a battle. We had some good momentum going with a couple of podiums in a row, but now we've got a few weeks off and we definitely need to re-evaluate a few things and come back fighting."

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: dnf – electronic problem.

Miguel Duhamel, replacement rider for Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: Retired.
“I'd like to thank Honda USA and Fausto Gresini for this great experience. During the race I decided to stop and enter the pits because I wasn’t getting any feed back and I couldn't get into the rhythm of the bike. After the crash of this morning during the warm up, I didn't want to do any damage during the race, to the team and to the others. Despite this, I'm happy of this race weekend with the Gresini team."

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 11
U.S.A. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca


line
MotoGP
1 Casey STONER (Ducati Team)
2 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
3 Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Randy DE PUNIET (Kawasaki Racing Team)
7 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
8 Makoto TAMADA (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
9 Alex BARROS (Pramac d'Antin)
10 Roger Lee HAYDEN (Kawasaki Racing Team)
11 Colin EDWARDS (Fiat Yamaha Team)
12 Shinya NAKANO (Konica Minolta Honda)
13 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)
14 Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)
15 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)



Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini)


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