MotoGP > MotoGP 2007 Round 14: Portugal GP > Race Results
MotoGPPortugalSeptember 16, 2007
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

Dani Just Loses Out In Intense Battle For Victory

Qualifying >>

Dani Pedrosa misses the win by just 0.175 seconds at the flag to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) at the Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) was the pole man but it was rapid line-launcher Stoner who took the lead into turn one on lap one with Pedrosa and Hayden hot on his heels. On-form Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) lay fourth with Rossi fifth.

Stoner was quickly into the groove turning in an early fastest lap of the race on 1m 37.779s on the second lap. Rossi edged past Hayden on lap three while the gutsy Kurtis Roberts (Roberts KR212V), working as hard as ever to get the Honda-powered KR machine on the pace, retired to the pits on lap three with clutch difficulties.

Melandri was now getting some speed on and took Hayden for fourth place on lap four, but the battling reigning World Champion was in no mood to relinquish any places easily and he retook fourth from the Italian on the next lap.

Pedrosa meanwhile was getting fully to grips with a track that he has not so far enjoyed much success at. He out-braked Stoner into turn one on lap six for the lead and set about giving himself some breathing space with a clear track ahead of him.

But Rossi was on the go and now held second place. He then moved on Dani at turn one on lap nine and Pedrosa was not going to let the pass stick. It took the 21-year-old Spanish man a number of laps to set up the pass, but by lap 18 of this 28-lap dice he led again.

Hayden was now chasing Stoner for third but the American dropped off, clawed his way back, and then had little grip left to sustain the pressure in the closing stages. The fight for the win was clearly between Rossi and Pedrosa.

Rossi stalked Dani, sizing him up along the start/finish straight but never going for the pass until lap 23 when he took his chance to slip by as Dani ran wide on the exit of turn one. Dani was having none of it and as Rossi made almost the same error later in the lap, Dani seized his chance.

In the final laps it was nip and tuck between these two consummate riders. On the penultimate lap Rossi tried a pass at turn one but thought better of it before the manoeuvre was completed. He then made his move on the entry to the turn after the back straight. It was a brave move – and it worked.

Stoner finished 0.8 seconds adrift of Pedrosa, but the points gained with just four rounds to go mean the Aussie is well-placed to take the title in Motegi next weekend – barring any unforeseen events.

The World Championship points table looks like this: Stoner 287, Rossi 211, Pedrosa 188, John Hopkins (Suzuki) 150.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) put his mark firmly on a 250cc race in which he whipped the rest of the field to win by 4.36 seconds from Honda star Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda RS250RW), with series points leader Jorge Lorenzo (Aprilia) a safe points-scoring third with the title now on his mind rather than race wins.

Bautista didn’t fare too well in the opening laps, languishing in 10th and with a great deal of work to do to get on terms with the pace-setters. But he grafted away and by lap ten he was reeling off fastest laps at will and eating into the front men’s advantage with gusto.

On lap 12 he dealt with Lorenzo for second and then scythed past Dovi at the chicane on the same lap. From then on he made sure no one was going to touch him, riding harder than anyone with that comfortable a lead ought to. It was an exuberant ride from a Spaniard eager to steal limelight from Lorenzo.

The other Honda riders did not fare so well as Dovizioso. Julian Simon (Repsol Honda RS250RW) finished eighth. His team-mate Shuhei Aoyama (Repsol Honda RS250RW) retired on lap 18 while Yuki Takahashi (Scot Honda RS250RW) slid out of the proceedings early on.

Lorenzo is now totally in charge of the title’s destiny barring disaster. He has 257 points to Dovi’s 206. Alex de Angelis who could only manage a sixth place finish here lies third with 197 points. There are four rounds left.

Hector Faubel won a closely fought 125cc Grand Prix from Gabor Talmacsi with Pol Espargaro third (all Aprilia). Faubel judged his win perfectly drafting Talmacsi along the start/finish straight to broach the line 0.13s ahead of the Hungarian World Championship points leader.

It was Mattia Pasini (Aprilia) who led the pack into turn one from the lights, pursued by Faubel, Simone Corsi and Joan Olive (both Aprilia). Talmacsi suffered a poor start, but was up to fourth by lap seven of this 23-lap race.

Pasini was fully in charge of this race until he overcooked it coming into the chicane on lap 11. He remounted but was now out of touch of the leaders. And it was Corsi setting the pace now at the head of a five-rider group which now included Espargaro and Olive with Talmacsi holding fourth.

In the closing laps they were five abreast into turn one fighting hard for places – and points. Talmacsi took Faubel at the chicane on the last lap to lead. But Faubel judged his final lap perfectly to overhaul Talmacsi across the line.

Talmacsi still heads the World Championship points table with four rounds remaining. He has 209 points to Faubel’s 204 with Tommy Koyama now sliding out of touch on 154 with a seventh place finish here.

Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd.
"I'm happy to be fighting for win and the pace we could run today was very quick. We were lapping very fast right until the end and this is good progress for us because there have been races where this was not possible. I made a good start and pushed very hard at the beginning, got into a strong rhythm and the pace was very high. I was able to pass Stoner but when Rossi came past me and was in front I knew that he was not pushing at 100%. With Stoner and Hayden catching this was risky so I went for the overtake to try to up the pace because I didn't want them to catch up. This allowed Rossi to watch me for a while which I think was useful for him in the closing laps. I knew my pace was very similar to Rossi's because we had both been in the front of the race. When he came past at the end I tried my maximum but did not have the speed to take the lead on the last lap. Still, this was a good race for us and I'd like to thank my team and everyone at Honda because they've been working really hard. Now we're going to Motegi, which is a track I like and I hope we can put on another good performance there."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 4th.
"There are a lot of positives from this weekend and pole position was one of them, though certainly fourth wasn't quite the result we hoped for. We knew it was going to be tough today and the first lap wasn't so kind to me - but actually I was just happy to get through the first lap after what happened at the last race. In the beginning I wasn't able to quite get into a rhythm, I was really struggling out of Turn 6 and some riders were able to get up the inside of me into Turn 7. I was duking it out with Melandri which lost me some time and then I found a rhythm, got down into the 1m 37s laps and caught up to Stoner. I was riding right on the edge and used up a lot of my tyres to try to catch the leaders, and then I made one big mistake which cost me a lot of time. My bike ran really well today. The engine was good and the Michelin tyres worked well so I really don't have a lot of excuses - those guys were just a little bit quicker today and I give them credit. This was my first pole position of the year and I had the fastest lap of the race which is definitely positive. We're way better off than we were a few months ago so things feel like they're back on track and I'm enjoying riding the bike again. So, we'll go to Motegi and try to keep it rolling. We've got four more cracks at it!"

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 5th.
"The problems we had in practice resurfaced in the race and the chattering meant that I couldn't ride the bike as I wanted to. I had two good battles with Nicky and then with John, where I was faster in the first part of the track but then lost out in the second part. I think we went with a rear tyre that was a little too hard for the conditions and the track characteristics today but I gave my best and now I'm looking forward to Motegi."

Carlos Checa, LCR Honda: 7th.
“I’m very satisfied with this result after some problems in qualifying meant I started on the fourth row. It was a good race, I enjoyed it, especially from the start and passing many riders including Elias, West and Edwards and finally Tamada for seventh. My feeling was that if I had started closer to the front I could have raced with Melandri and Hopkins for fifth, but anyway, this is a positive step forward with the new tyres from Michelin and our set-up from Honda.”

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 8th.
"It has been a tough weekend. We've had traction problems since Friday and only partially solved them. Then in the race I had to deal with another rider punting me off track when I was in eighth place after making a good start. I went straight on at a corner and came back onto the track in thirteenth place but I put together a good recovery and got back to my original position. I'm disappointed because this is a circuit I like a lot and I could have done much better."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 11th.
“In one of the fast corners there were so many riders together and I was on the inside but got pushed back and I lost some places. We also had a small problem with the engine, which disappeared when I started using a gear higher and by the middle of the race I could start to push harder and begin to overtake a few riders and enjoy the race. Our settings are an improvement over earlier in the season, so the positive we take from Estoril is that the team and I have found a good direction. Thankfully we have only one week to wait before the Japanese GP, and I trust the team and myself to get a good result.”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: dnf – clutch problem.
“The clutch went out after the start, slipping a lot for a lap and half. I don't know why. The only thing I can think is I had a hard time getting the gear into neutral on the grid. It wasn't like I was hard on it. I was just sitting there hunting for neutral. I started fine, but it started to slip after turn four or five, and it didn't get any better. There was a rumour that Honda will have some more horsepower for us at the next race, and I hope it's true, because this is starting to get ridiculous. It's frustrating when you are the only guy that hasn't had the engine update yet. I've tried to be positive all year, up until now - but it's getting stupid. I don't think anyone would want to ride the thing like it is now. You can't draft anybody, you can't accelerate with anybody, you can't shut anybody off to pass them properly. Hopefully it'll get better for Japan.”

Kenny Roberts – Team Principle Team Roberts.
“The clutch failed. I don't know why - it wasn't from the extra horsepower we put in it! I guess he burned the clutch up too much coming off the line, and it never recovered. I don't know if the thing was borderline on wear or not. It wasn't going to be a very good day, no matter what, but we would have got points. We need some help for acceleration, otherwise it's kind of a waste of time.”

Andrea Dovizioso, Scot Honda: 2nd.
“Today I really believed in the victory, we had a perfect weekend, a perfect lap time. Bautista was too fast at the end of the race, it was impossible for us to go and catch him. The problem is always the same: we’re able to be as fast as the Aprilia riders as long as we can use tyres at 100% of their performance in the middle of the corner, but when they go down and the grip lowers, we have to open the gas in early to remain at their level, while they can wait more and use less tyre. Now we still have four races, we just have to think of winning and recover as many points as possible. We always give our best, we must be happy with that.”

Julian Simon, Repsol Honda: 8th.
“At the beginning of the race I felt quite comfortable but after about 10 laps I started to have arm pump up problems. I don’t understand this because I have had an operation to cure this problem. No I have to go back to hospital to find out what is wrong. I’m sorry for my team who have worked so hard for me – this is not the result we expected.”

Eugene Laverty, LCR Honda: 14th.
“It’s great to score some points but I should have been much faster today, this was a gift. We gambled on the race set up to try and fix the problems with braking stability from practice but it didn’t work, the rear wheel was still bouncing too much. Plus I got pushed wide at turn one after making up some places with a good start.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT-SAG: dnf – crash.
"I was pushing really hard when I crashed as I was trying to catch up with the riders ahead of me. It's a shame I lost the control of the bike as I was expecting to score points but in the end I couldn't get any. I had some trouble at the start and once again it was a key factor in today's race as I wouldn't had to push that hard if I had made a good start."

Shuhei Aoyama, Repsol Honda: dnf – technical problem.
“The practice sessions of Friday and Saturday have been quite difficult for me, because I couldn’t have the best tyres for me in this circuit. But today it was not the case, because I saved the best ones for the race for being able to fight with the front riders. At the beginning, I’ve been able to follow the group much better than other races, but after ten laps I made a little mistake that made me lose some positions. Two or three laps later I could recover, but then my engine is broken again. This is racing, but it’s too many times. I’m very sad.”

Yuki Takahashi, Scot Honda: dnf – crash.
“I have no words to express my anger and my delusion. We broke the engine, like in Brno, only two races ago. It’s not easy to accept to stop a race after just two laps from the start, when you know you have the chance to try to recover points and positions. I hope that, in my home race, next week in Japan, everything will be ok.”


Tito Rabat, Repsol Honda: 11th.
“My start was only so - so then I had to push and push to stay with the group but there was a crash in front of me and I lost time because of that. After that I as racing with Krummenacher but we were getting in each others ay and the group got away from us. The bike was OK today and the tyres were good until the last few laps. I am just a little bit disappointed with myself I had hoped for a better result.”

Bradley Smith, Repsol Honda: 12th.
“My start was good but at the first corner I was following Koyama and he was drifting a little wide s I was going to pass him up the inside but he nearly stopped at the corner and I ran into the back of him. I closed my eyes I thought I was going down but I stayed on – but the brake lever had been knocked up in the air and when I tried to push it back in place it was too low. When I looked up I was down in 25th place or so. From then on it was a case of me playing catch up so I just pushed as hard as I could but racing alone without a slipstream you cant make up too much. Still I am happy with the way I rode after that.”

Alexis Masbou, FFM Honda: 14th.
“A few more points can’t be bad! It’s a pity I messed up the start and then got stuck in a slower group. Luckily I was able to catch the middle group. We had a big scrap throughout the last ten laps. Three laps from the end of the race someone pushed off track somewhat and I lost ground. But I was in good shape, the Honda was working well and in two laps I was back with the group again. I managed to pass those four riders again and to stay in front till the chequered flag. I concentrated on keeping a good speed out of the last corner and was able to stay ahead of the group to finish 14th and grasp a few points!”

Mike di Meglio, Scot Honda: 16th.
“I got a reasonable start but just in front of me at the first corner Bradley (Smith) hit Koyama and the incident forced me to run wide and I lost many places. After that I just had to try and catch as many riders as possible. The bike was good, not quite as good as in qualifying, but I did not have enough acceleration off the last corner to pass anybody from the slipstream down the strait. Now we go to Motegi, a track I like with lots of hard braking sections that I like and where the Honda will be good.”

Danny Webb, Molenaar Honda: 20th.
“Not my best start and not my worst but I was not aggressive enough on the first lap and it took me a while to find my rhythm. I was racing in about 22nd place but at half race distance I made a mistake that cost me a couple of seconds. After that I was racing alone and that’s difficult on this track. Towards the ed I knew that the group behind m were closing on me so I just concentrated on defending my position. I am happy with this result but I know it wasn’t a perfect race – I knew there was more in it for me.”

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 24th.
“I went out on the track with a small but positive anxiety. I didn¹t get such a good start and braked a little too early at the end of the straight! It’s a little complicated to get everything right when you don’t have any experience. But I’m satisfied that I improved my lap times from practice. This race was very instructive and the experience will prove useful if I can race some more Grand Prix races such as Malaysia for which I will know if I can have another wild card entry. I learned more in the last three days than I could learn in a season at national level. I sincerely wish to thank the whole staff at Team FFM Honda GP125. I’m determined to say so because the atmosphere is excellent, the performance and cooperation between team members is perfect, I really felt great with them throughout the week-end. Thanks to this outfit, young French riders have an opportunity to reach motorcycle racing’s top level.”

Dino Lombardi, Scot Honda: dnf – handling problems.
“At the beginning of the race everything seemed good I was trying to catch the group ahead of me and the bike was good. After half race I lost the silencer pot and because of the noise and the technical problems I retired. After the first laps the bike started sliding on the front and became impossible to drive. We hope to solve these problems in Japan.”

Joey Litjens, Molenaar Honda: dns.
Did not start due to concussion sustained in crash during the morning warm up session.

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 14
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

1 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
4 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Marco MELANDRI (Honda Gresini)
6 John HOPKINS (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
7 Carlos CHECA (Honda LCR)
8 Toni ELIAS (Honda Gresini)
9 Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
10 Colin EDWARDS (Fiat Yamaha Team)
11 Shinya NAKANO (Konica Minolta Honda)
12 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
13 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
14 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3)

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Master - Mapfre Aspar)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Kopron Team Scot)
3 Jorge LORENZO (Fortuna Aprilia)
4 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia)
5 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
6 Alex DE ANGELIS (Master - Mapfre Aspar)
7 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
8 Julian SIMON (Repsol Honda 250cc)
9 Fabrizio LAI (Campetella Racing)
10 Karel ABRAHAM (Cardion AB Motoracing)
11 Dirk HEIDOLF (Kiefer - Bos - Sotin Racing)
12 Aleix ESPARGARO (Blusens Aprilia Germany)
13 Jules CLUZEL (Angaia Racing)
14 Eugene LAVERTY (Honda LCR)
15 Imre TOTH (Team Toth Aprilia)
1 Hector FAUBEL (Bancaja Aspar)
2 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar)
3 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Campetella Aprilia)
4 Simone CORSI (Skilled Racing Team)
5 Joan OLIVE (Polaris World)
6 Stefan BRADL (Blusens Aprilia)
7 Tomoyoshi KOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 125)
8 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
9 Raffaele DE ROSA (Multimedia Racing)
10 Randy KRUMMENACHE (Red Bull KTM 125)
11 Esteve RABAT (Repsol Honda 125cc)
12 Bradley SMITH (Repsol Honda 125cc)
13 Lukas PESEK (Valsir Seedorf Derbi)
14 Alexis MASBOU (FFM Honda GP 125)
15 Stefano BIANCO (WTR No Alcol Team)

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