MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 05: France GP > Race Results
MotoGPFranceMay 18, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 05
France Grand Prix at Le Mans

Pedrosa Fights For Fourth Place In Tough Race

Qualifying >>

This was by no means the result Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) was looking for as he finished fourth behind the three Yamahas of winner Valentino Rossi, second-placed Jorge Lorenzo and third man Colin Edwards.

Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)

With unsettled weather again the major factor it proved to be in the 125cc and 250cc races, this 28-lap race got underway in sunshine with rain clouds lurking in the skies. Casey Stoner (Ducati) rocketed into the lead at turn one with Dani and Edwards hot in his tracks.

As early as lap three a front foursome of Stoner, Dani, Edwards and Rossi had established some distance between themselves and the pack, and only Lorenzo of the pursuers, would have the pace to get among them in the closing stages.

On lap four Dani was eager to get past Stoner and tried a move up the inside of the Aussie at the Musée corner. He hit trouble mid-move and ran wide on the exit dropping back to third spot with Rossi moving up to second.

Dani was working hard to get back on terms with Rossi and moved up the inside of the former World Champion on the front straight before dropping in behind again as Rossi leaned on his rival on the entry to the chicane. This would be Dani’s best effort to stay with the race winner.

Rossi now had the measure of Stoner and on lap seven he made his move, the Aussie fighting back to retake the lead before Rossi hammered home his advantage on lap eight, establishing a one second lead in the space of two laps and never looking remotely threatened after that.

Dani worked his way back to second past Stoner on lap 11 as Rossi set a series of fastest laps stretching his advantage to nearly three seconds by mid-race distance. Lorenzo was lying fifth at this point as Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) ran off track while seventh in his unstinting efforts to haul himself into contention.

Rain began to fall at the start of lap 16, and although white flags were deployed to allow riders into the pits for a machine change if they wished, all stayed out in the tricky conditions save the struggling Marco Melandri (Ducati) who gambled on further rain by swapping bikes for a wet-tyre shod version (unsuccessfully as it turned out).

Rossi was now away in the distance and as Lorenzo edged past Edwards for fourth, Dani’s second place was now in jeopardy to his countryman who was on a late race charge. On lap 21 Lorenzo moved past Stoner on the pits straight, the Aussie throwing up his left hand to indicate machine trouble.

Stoner limped round for another lap trying to get to the pits to change bike, but as he footed into pitlane on his stricken Ducati, it was clear his race was as good as over. He finished 16th, out of the points, after rejoining the race on his number two bike.

As Lorenzo stole past Dani for second, Rossi held a seven second lead that he extended to more than ten seconds before easing off the gas in the closing stages to take the flag. Edwards had taken Dani’s third place off him to complete an all-Yamaha podium.

Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) rode a determined race to finish sixth after a slow start that left him down in 12th place at the end of lap one. Dovi was just a bike-length behind Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki). Nicky finished eighth ahead of local hopeful Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) with Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) tenth and his team-mate Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) 12th.

The World Championship table looks like this after five rounds: Rossi 97, Lorenzo and Pedrosa tied in second on 94, Stoner with 56 points.

250cc Grand Prix
Alex Debon won his first Grand Prix after more than 100 starts when he opted for slick tyres on a damp track that dried as this 26-lap race ran its course. Marco Simoncelli was second and Mattia Pasini (the only other slick-shod rider) third (all Aprilia).

Hector Barbera (Aprilia) got a lightning start from 11th on the grid and led the pack through the chicane, but Debon soon took control of the race and the Spanish rider had worked a ten second advantage over second-placed Yuki Takahashi (JiR Scot Honda RS250RW) by mid-race distance.

Takahashi couldn’t quite hold onto second as the final laps unfolded. Pasini slipped past, then Simoncelli and the game fourth-placed Japanese factory man would be denied a podium for the second successive race. Some consolation for his consistency however is third equal in the World Championship points table.

Ratthapark Wilairot (Stop And Go Racing RS250RW) finished in the points in 15th.

The points table shows Mika Kallio (KTM) in front with 93 points, Mattia Pasini second with 77 and Takahashi tying with Alex Debon for third with 59 points apiece.

125cc Grand Prix
A home win for Frenchman Mike di Meglio (Derbi) was just what the crowd wanted, but it took a rain shower to hand the advantage to the local man. British rider Bradley Smith was second and Nicolas Terol (both Aprilia) third.

When rain fell on the 14th lap of the 24 scheduled for this race, red flags came out and a wet restart was declared over five laps. Esteve Rabat (KTM) led the pack into the first chicane but he then fell handing the lead to Terol before Gabor Talmacsi (Aprilia) overhauled Terol to lead.

But the reigning World Champion fell at the final turn as lap three ended and Terol took control at the front again before Smith wrested the lead from him. However, it was de Meglio who had the measure of his home track and when he shot past Smith on the penultimate lap he was never headed as he completed a nervous last lap to the flag.

Louis Rossi (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) managed his best result so far in his rookie season when he took 19th place.

Cyril Carillo (FFM Racing Honda RS125R) did not make the restart after crashing on lap 11 in the first part of this two-stage race.

The World Championship points table now shows Di Meglio in front with 74 points, Terol second on 66 and Simone Corsi (Aprilia) third overall with 61 points after five races.

Honda rider quotes. GP France race.

Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)

Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th – fastest lap 1m 34.469s lap 5.
“I am sorry because we could have been on the podium but in the race I wasn’t able to go as fast as I had gone during practice. From the beginning of the race I had some issues with the front tyre. I couldn’t brake the way I wanted to brake. When we chose our race tyres we tried hard to choose the best tyres for the race, so we didn’t expect things to turn out like they did. Then in the second half of the race I started to lack some rear grip. When Lorenzo passed me I tried to go with him and not lose contact but I couldn’t manage it. I gave my maximum and despite the problems we finished fourth, which isn’t so bad. We are second equal in the championship and we will continue to work hard to achieve better results at the next races. We stay here tomorrow for one day of testing when we will try to understand what happened today and make another step forward.”

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 6th - fastest lap 1m 34.727s lap 27.
“Today I didn’t start very well and at the beginning of the race it was hard to gain positions, but I was soon moving through the field when I caught up with James Toseland. We overtook each other a few times, but when I was in one of the downhill corners, I was accelerating when James hit me very hard from behind. Thank God I didn’t crash but his front tyre hit my body and my leather suit shows marks from his tyre and also the bike has some black rubber marks on the rear part of it. For this reason I lost a lot of time and probably without this fact I could have done even better by the end of the race. We have to do better in qualifying – we know that – and also work to have a better pace in the race.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 8th - fastest lap 1m 35.182s lap 10.
“That wasn’t too pretty. All weekend we’ve been missing something, the pace hasn’t been there. I got a good start and recovered a couple of positions but couldn’t go with the group I needed to go with. I was hanging in there, then I ran off the track in turn six, got in just a little bit hot, didn’t make it and that lost me three positions. I came back on, had a little dice with Loris over the last few laps but it wasn’t the result we wanted. It was definitely tough conditions, it wasn’t just a few drops of rain it was straight-up raining through some parts of the track. With the tyres being that hot the lap times didn’t suffer too bad, but I was kinda hoping the rain would come down and let us swap bikes and try something different, but it didn’t happen. This has never been an easy track for me, I’d say Le Mans is the worst track for me on the calendar. Tomorrow we’ll work on chassis stuff. I need to try getting some momentum going, especially for the tracks I really love that are coming up. I need to be strong when I get to them, I need to use the people around me to find what I need.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 9th - fastest lap 1m 35.191s lap 9.
"It was not easy for me today because I finally made a good start but another rider pushed me outside the chicane and when I rejoined the race I was ninth. Hopkins overtook me in the inside in the downhill and we both went wide. So I lost five places and was 14th. For the following eight laps my pace was not consistent but I started to push hard to be back in the top ten. Finally I was behind Capirossi and Hayden but was to late to pass them. I feel satisfied anyway because this race was a lottery due to mixed conditions of the track".

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 10th - fastest lap 1m 35.430s lap 4.
“Unfortunately today I couldn’t ride as I like. Starting from the 5th row complicated the race from the start, moreover in the first laps I lost the contact with the group of the riders in front of me. Only when it started to rain I found a good rhythm and I could be faster. I reached the guys in front of me but, at the end De Puniet overtook me and I lost the ninth position. I’m not satisfied about my result even if I confess that thanks to some modifications done to the suspensions, the balance of the bike has improved. Tomorrow we will stay here for one day test in preparation of the next race”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 12th fastest lap 1m 35.327s lap 8.
“Despite my position in the classification, I’m quite happy about today as I could stay with the group of the other satellite riders in the first part of the race. Unfortunately, when it started raining, I couldn’t keep the pace because I suffered from chattering and it was impossible to feel the front. I didn’t know if it was because of the tyre or because the track was wet. I lost the contact with the group, finishing 12th. At the end we lost the silencer, so i had less power, but fortunately the race was over.”

Yuki Takahashi, JiR Scot Honda: 4th – fastest lap 1m 40.275s lap 24.
“I started very well in the wet conditions and I overtook a lot of riders. The bike was very well prepared by the team and during the warm-up we took the time to verify the settings of the Honda and that they were correct. During the race the asphalt began to dry but I looked and could see that one corner was still a little damp but I had no reference with the other riders about how fast to go through the corner and I didn’t want to take a risk to fall and lose the points. I think that at that point on the track I was losing some time to the other riders but after Pasini and Simoncelli came past on the straight it was difficult to keep contact with them. I would like to have been on the podium today to make right the fact that we didn’t have the rostrum in China, but the next time out at our home race in Mugello I want to make amends.”

Ratthapark Wilairot, Thai Honda PTT SAG: 15th - fastest lap 1m 41.688s lap 24.
“The track was very slippery at the beginning, and I run very slowly, so I lost a lot of positions. Then the track was getting dry, but at half race there still were some wet areas, and I was afraid of crashing. I waited for better conditions, and when I started to ride fast it was too late, and I just could hunt a single point”.

Louis Rossi, FFM Honda: 19th - fastest lap 2m 03.627s lap 4.
“It feels good to finish in a better placing. I really feel I turned the corner this weekend. As I improve I can better appreciate competing; I feel better and enjoy my Honda. In the first leg, I battled with Steven Le Coquen and ended up leaving him behind. I then made a good start in the rain and when I saw I was within points, I hanged on but couldn’t contain the three more experienced riders who overtook me on the last lap!“

Cyril Carrillo, FFM Honda: Dnf – crash first lap.
“What can I say except that I am very disappointed! At the start, I went too wide in the Dunlop curve and found myself on a dirty part of the track. I was braking into the bend but the front of the bike gave way and I hit another rider before falling. I set off again with a bent gear lever and had to retire on the 11th lap.”

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 05
France Grand Prix at Le Mans

1 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Fiat Yamaha Team)
3 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
4 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
7 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
8 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
9 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
10 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
11 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
12 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
13 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
14 Anthony WEST (Kawasaki Racing Team)
15 Marco MELANDRI (Ducati Marlboro Team)
1 Alex DEBON (Lotus Aprilia)
2 Marco SIMONCELLI (Metis Gilera)
3 Mattia PASINI (Polaris World)
4 Yuki TAKAHASHI (JiR Team Scot 250)
5 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM 250)
6 Manuel POGGIALI (Campetella Racing)
7 Hiroshi AOYAMA (Red Bull KTM 250)
8 Julian SIMON (Repsol KTM 250cc)
9 Aleix ESPARGARO (Lotus Aprilia)
10 Hector FAUBEL (Mapfre Aspar Team)
11 Thomas LUTHI (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
12 Hector BARBERA (Team Toth Aprilia)
13 Roberto LOCATELLI (Metis Gilera)
14 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Mapfre Aspar Team)
15 Ratthapark WILAIROT (Thai Honda PTT SAG)
1 Mike DI MEGLIO (Ajo Motorsport)
2 Bradley SMITH (Polaris World)
3 Nicolas TEROL (Jack & Jones WRB)
4 Pol ESPARGARO (Belson Derbi)
5 Andrea IANNONE (I.C. Team)
6 Stefan BRADL (Grizzly Gas Kiefer Racing)
7 Lorenzo ZANETTI (ISPA KTM Aran)
8 Joan OLIVE (Belson Derbi)
9 Raffaele DE ROSA (Onde 2000 KTM)
10 Randy KRUMMENACHE (Red Bull KTM 125)
11 Sandro CORTESE (Emmi - Caffe Latte)
12 Pere TUTUSAUS (Bancaja Aspar Team)
13 Simone CORSI (Jack & Jones WRB)
14 Gabor TALMACSI (Bancaja Aspar Team)
15 Alexis MASBOU (Loncin Racing)

< MotoGP
Related Links

· Honda Worldwide | MotoGP - FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
· France

Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.