MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 03: Portugal GP > Race Results
MotoGPPortugalApril 13, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

Pedrosa Takes Secure Second To Tie Points Lead

Qualifying >>

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) rode with both pace and calculation to make the most of a Portuguese Grand Prix in which he had to watch his bitterest rival Jorge Lorenzo take the win with Valentino Rossi third (both Yamaha). Lorenzo and Dani now jointly lead the world standings.

Dani Pedrosa

Shinya Nakano

What first appeared as if it might be one of the next firecracker races of this intriguing 2008 season eventually turned into a first premier class win for Lorenzo. But a solid ride for points for Dani who, despite his fierce rivalry with Lorenzo, knows when to take the points and when to take the fight, was reward enough today for Honda.

Dani, as he has tended to do this season, stormed away from the line to lead the horde into turn one. Rossi was on his tail and lightning-starter Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) was up with the action. Lorenzo, from pole, too.

Rossi barged past Dani to take the lead, but Lorenzo was anxious to make the speed he’d established as fastest man during qualifying translate into a race-dominating stint. Rossi and Lorenzo then turned to disputing the lead among themselves while Dani watched, waiting.

As the early laps passed without incident it became clear the front four of Rossi, Lorenzo, Pedrosa and the increasingly impressive Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) were in charge. They left the green-liveried form of John Hopkins (Kawasaki) in their wake while it first appeared he might be able to hold onto the front-runners.

And it was Lorenzo knew he had the speed to make a pace that would establish himself as the man to make the running. His pass at the tricky uphill chicane to deprive Rossi of the lead was perfectly timed and expertly executed. He ghosted past the former World Champion to work on making catch-up virtually impossible for the pursuers.

Dani did all he possibly could to reel in his rival but while Honda’s main man was grafting hard his cohorts were struggling. Nicky Hayden fell mid-race while holding fourth. Dovi preceded him when a good result was in his grasp by falling on lap 12. These DNFs were unfortunate but demonstrated the undoubted efforts these Honda men will surely soon translate into solid results.

By lap 18 Lorenzo had a one second advantage over Dani and during this 28-lap contest over the 4.182km of Estoril not even the changeable weather, that at times threatened to curtail the 250cc race prior to the main event, could put Lorenzo’s maiden win in doubt.

With three laps to go Lorenzo had established a 1.693 second lead and Pedrosa was never going to act rashly enough to derail his title points challenge in risking a second place finish in pursuit of a one lost cause in an 18-race series.

Rossi’s third-place finish keeps him in the early season title hunt but with Lorenzo and Pedrosa sharing a 61-point each haul after three rounds (Lorenzo technically ahead by virtue of his win being the most recent win), his 41-point tally in third at this early juncture must hint that these Spanish stars are now to upset the old order.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) was holding seventh when he ran into the run-off area on the penultimate lap. He rejoined to finish 15th, while Gresini team-mates Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) flirted with the top-ten places: Nakano netting tenth and de Angelis shy in 11th.

250cc Grand Prix

This lacklustre race (unless you were runaway winner Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) was as much a testimony to the unstinting efforts of Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scott Honda RS250RW), who finished 6th having harried the plainly speedier Aprilia riders race-long, as it was to Bautista’s vice-like grasp of this track.

Marco Simoncelli was second (by seven seconds), having started from pole, KTM man Mika Kallio third. Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing RS250RW) continued his strong second season in 250cc Grand Prix with 13th spot.


Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R), who broke an ankle in practice, was sidelined leaving the FFM Honda team to rely on the performance of wild card rider, Frenchman Cyril Carrillo who finished 25th.

Alex de Angelis

Yuki Takahashi

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd – fastest lap 1m37.471s.
“After our difficult preseason it’s good to be in this position now, so we are very happy. Today was a good race, the beginning was quite fun, but also a little dangerous because it was raining a bit and there were a few passing manoeuvres. When the rain stopped, the pace got faster and faster, so we had to concentrate very hard to maintain tyre grip all the time. Eventually we finished second and we’re happy. We always expected a tough race, so this result is very important for us. When Lorenzo started pulling away I still had to pass Rossi, then when I did pass Rossi, Lorenzo already had a gap. I tried to close the gap, or at least maintain it, and the gap stayed the same more or less for the remainder of the race. Finally we got second and it’s a good result.

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 10th - fastest lap 1m 38.666s.
“It was a tough race because I didn’t have a good pace at the start and I lost a few positions on the opening lap. Towards the midway point I was able to improve my lap times and I tried to catch Capirossi, but I couldn’t get past him. Obviously I’m disappointed with this result because on Friday we had a good couple of practice sessions and yesterday also went well. We made a good tyre choice and the setting was satisfactory but today I suffered some problems with the rear of the bike so we must work on the suspension to improve stability under acceleration. Tomorrow we’ll use the test to focus on this aspect with the Grand Prix of China in mind.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 11th - fastest lap 1m 39.454s.
“Today was difficult for me because I ended up lapping alone after just a few laps and it’s not easy to maintain your concentration, but at the end we’ve improved on our grid position so that’s good. We’re aware of the fact that we’re still not at the level we showed during preseason and that’s what I want to get back to – fighting in the top eight. We have a lot of work to do with Bridgestone because the satellite Honda riders on Michelin tyres are doing a good job, so it’s clear we have to work hard with the tyres and that is the area we’ll be working on tomorrow, testing some of the new material Bridgestone will bring out here at Estoril.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 15th - fastest lap 1m 38.291s.
“I am very disappointed! After my third bad start of the season I knew that I could go faster and catch the first 5 positions so I began to lap consistently fast. The bike set-up and the tyres were pretty good therefore I felt comfortable for the rest of the race and was able to pass several riders including Toseland. Then, in the second-last lap at turn nr. 4, I closed to much the angle in the middle of the corner and lost the front. I went out in the gravel but was able to rejoin the race getting the 15th position which is not the result we expected. Honestly with a better start I would have been able to catch Hopkins and probably Edwards. Anyway I want to thank my team for the great work they did in this week end and we will proceed with our set-up work in tomorrow’s testing day before the Chinese GP”.

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: dnf – crash – fastest lap 1m 37.806s.
“The first few laps were certainly not easy, some parts of the track were a little wetter than others and I had on a pretty hard tyre. I had been choosing between that tyre and another a little bit softer, but with the way the weather’s been this weekend we really hadn’t got to do a lot of endurance on the harder one. I got settled in, and the warmer I was getting the tyres the better they were working and I was able to start moving up, so things were feeling pretty good. I made a few passes, I’d just got into fourth, felt like I wanted to close the gap on the guys in front of me. You know, I got fourth place at Jerez and I certainly didn’t want to settle in there and ride around, so I had to push hard and you know when you push hard you make mistakes. It’s not a parade you can’t just cruise around. The bike was working good, the tyres were working good, I felt pretty comfortable, so I was pushing. Turn seven’s downhill, certainly a trick corner, the front let go pretty early and down I went. It’s unfortunate because the bike was working good and we were hungry for a good result, so my own mistake. We just have to step it up a bit.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: dnf – crash. Fastest lap 1m 37.985s.
“I did a very good race and this makes me happy. I was able to maintain an astonishing rhythm and was half a second under my pace from the practice sessions. I never give up, as I want to try to stay with the lead group and get a good result for the team and myself. My performances are improving, not only at the start of the weekend but also in the race. To be behind the top three riders was a great experience and I understood and learned a lot of things. We have to use at the maximum the potential of our Honda and find the correct chassis and engine tuning to keep this quick rhythm during whole race without being at the complete limit, which I was at today. The crash was only because I was pushing at the very maximum, entering the corner so very hard and so I lost grip at the front. Even if there were a lot of drops of rain around this didn’t alter our performance. With my performance I don’t think I can blame myself, these things happen. Tomorrow we will stay for a test day as we are still working on our technical configuration to do better next time. I want to really thank the team for the work done this weekend.”

Yuki Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 6th - fastest lap – 1m 42.575s.
“I’m satisfied about my race and riding style on the Honda, but I expected a better result because the bike was well prepared for Estoril in the practice sessions by my team. I got a good start but in the first laps I was in a slower group and got held up – particularly in the corners. It was hard to overtake and on the straight they were simply faster than me. To catch them I had to be at my absolute maximum. The track condition wasn’t so good, because overnight rain cleaned the track and lap-times were higher than in practice. Near the end of the race Thomas Luthi caught us fast but by then my front tyre was finished. I lost grip for a while and it was impossible to get a good rhythm. I’m sad as here we could do better, but in the championship we are near to the top and we can improve.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 13th – Fastest lap 1m43.925s.
“We made some changes overnight to fix my front end problem of yesterday, small change on geometry and suspension changes. It felt good in the warm up but the conditions were damp and I could push at maximum. In the race everything felt good from the start, the engine and suspension but after 10 laps the rear tyre was sliding badly and I couldn’t push as hard as I had to. The tyre was destroyed at the finish.”

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda:
Did not race due to injury sustained in practice.

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 03
Portugal Grand Prix at Estoril

1 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
4 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
5 John HOPKINS (Kawasaki Racing Team)
6 Casey STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)
7 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
8 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
9 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
10 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
11 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
12 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
13 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
14 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
15 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)

Dani Pedrosa
1 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
2 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
3 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
4 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
5 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
6 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
7 Julian SIMON (Repsol KTM 250cc)
8 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
9 Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
10 Lukas PESEK (Auto Kelly - CP)
11 Aleix ESPARGARO (Lotus Aprilia)
12 Alex BALDOLINI (Matteoni Racing)
13 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
14 Federico SANDI (Zongshen Team of China)
15 Eugene LAVERTY (Blusens Aprilia)
1 Simone CORSI (Jack & Jones WRB)
2 Joan OLIVE (Belson Derbi)
3 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
4 Stevie BONSEY (Degraaf Grand Prix)
5 Danny WEBB (Degraaf Grand Prix)
6 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar Team)
7 Mike DI MEGLIO (Ajo Motorsport)
8 Stefan BRADL (Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing)
9 Sergio GADEA (Bancaja Aspar Team)
10 Sandro CORTESE (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
11 Andrea IANNONE (I.C. Team)
12 Dominique AEGERTER (Ajo Motorsport)
13 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Derbi)
14 Michael RANSEDER (I.C. Team)
15 Efren VAZQUEZ (Blusens Aprilia Junior)

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