MotoGP > MotoGP 2008 Round 11: U.S.A. GP > Race Results
MotoGPU.S.A.July 20, 2008
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 11
U.S.A. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca

Dovi Digs Deep For Fourth Place

Qualifying >>

With World Championship challenger Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) not starting this race due to injuries it was left to pole-man Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) to fight it out at the front. Stoner finished second to Rossi with Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) third and the ever-consistent Andrea Dovizioso (JiR Scot Honda RC212V) fourth.

Andrea Dovizioso

Andrea Dovizioso

After a cool and misty early morning, the sun burst through and bathed the grid as the lights went out and what proved to be a gripping and hard-fought battle at the front unfolded. And it was Stoner who made the holeshot into turn one with Rossi on his tail.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) held an early third place and the pack headed uphill and on towards the famous Corkscrew turn. Rossi pounced on its approach and ducked inside Stoner to lead. Meantime Jorge Lorenzo failed to complete the first lap when he high-sided spectacularly from his Yamaha.

Dovi was holding fourth behind Hayden and ahead of eventual third-placed finisher Vermeulen but the action behind the leaders was nothing compared to what was soon going on at the head of the pack with the Italian former-Champion and the reigning Aussie.

Stoner sat behind Rossi up close for two more laps before making another bid for the lead on the entry to turn one. Rossi then re-passed Stoner, this time on the steep downhill section of the Corkscrew, running into the dirt on the inside, just retaining control and pushing Stoner wide on the exit. This was a brawl on tarmac and high entertainment.

On lap six Stoner used the 996m main straight to power past Rossi again before he returned the compliment on the next lap. The pair were more than three seconds ahead of Nicky by now. But Vermeulen now had the measure of Nicky and took the place off the 2005 and 2006 race winner.

Stoner set a new lap record of 1m 21.813s on lap eight as he clung on to Rossi. The duo now had an eight second advantage over Vermeulen who was never going to catch them now. Stoner tried to take Rossi again on lap 14 at turn one but he ran wide and gave the place back.

The top two were riding on the limit and it was a pity there was no Dani there to add to the spectacle. But something had to give and on lap 24 it was Stoner who made the mistake that would cost him at least the chance of fighting for the win.

At the final turn Stoner misjudged his braking on the entry running wide, onto the dust, but critically too close to the gravel trap which claimed him. It was at walking pace he finally succumbed, toppling off, but remounting swiftly enough to still be eight seconds ahead of Vermeulen. Rossi was long gone now though.

Dovi was steady in fourth, Nicky tried to put pressure on him but remained fifth, while Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) was fast enough to repeat his sixth-place of last season. Shinya Nakano (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) managed a tenth place. His battered team-mate, Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V), riding with a broken thumb after crashing in practice, got 13th spot.

Rossi on 212 now has a 25-point lead over Stoner with seven rounds to go. Stoner has 187 points and Dani now slips to third overall on 171.

Nicky Hayden

Randy De Puniet

Andrea Dovizioso, JiR Scot Honda: 4th.
"I am pleased to have achieved this result to be the first Honda rider on Michelin tyres, which shows how good they are! Valentino and Casey were riding unbelievably fast. I made a good start, and on the first lap when I saw Lorenzo fall, I knew that the first two were away and that I could not follow them. I was behind Hayden who was quick, even though Vermeulen was able to catch us. When I realized that Hayden was running slower, I wanted to pass him, but Laguna is difficult to pass on and I spent four laps trying. Then I pushed to the maximum to pass Hayden and De Puniet, who are strong 'brakers' and who were difficult to pass."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 5th.
“Obviously at my home race I’d hoped to be able to put up a better fight than that. It was certainly a tough weekend, we struggled a bit with the tyres we had available. We really had only two race tyres, the one I used in practice I kept using again and again, I used it Friday, Saturday and again this morning, by the end it had 35 laps on it. I think I learned a good lesson, we set up the bike on quite old tyres. In the race when we put in a grippy new race tyre the balance of the bike changed a lot, so it was pushing the front in a lot of places. I would’ve liked to have been closer to the front but I think we learned a good lesson. Now we’ve got a few weeks off, so we’ll regroup and try to finish the year strong.”

Randy De Puniet, LCR Honda: 6th.
“After our worst Friday since the beginning of the season we finally gained a very positive result. We struggled a bit with rear grip in the last two days but at the end the bike set-up was good and I could race as I like. My start was not perfect but I knew I had the potential to race up there. I was behind Toseland for many laps and tried to pass him three times without success. On lap twelve I passed him pushing to close the gap with Dovizioso and Hayden. I was not able to pass them so decided to keep my position to get this positive result for me and the Team.”

Shinya Nakano, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 10th.
“I’m really disappointed with today’s result because despite our good start, when I made up some positions over the opening few laps, I have finished tenth. Halfway through the race when I was in eighth place I tried to pass Toseland but I went wide under braking and lost a lot of ground, which I was unable to recover. We were obviously hoping for much better because my pace in practice was so good but I tried my best. There are still a lot of races left before the end of the season and after a short holiday we’ll get fully focused again for Brno.”

Alex De Angelis, San Carlo Gresini Honda: 13th.
“That was a really difficult race and I’m so disappointed with what happened in qualifying. In the second half of the race I lost so much time stuck behind West. I don’t think I could have fought for the podium even if I was fit and qualified better but the group ahead of me was within my grasp. At the end of the day this was a positive race for us because the condition I raced in was always going to make it tough to reach the finish line, but I did so and scored points too. It’s a shame though because we were in shape to do well here the good thing is that the thumb should be okay for Brno.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: Did not race due to injuries sustained at the German GP last week.

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

1 Valentino ROSSI (Fiat Yamaha Team)
2 Casey STONER (Ducati Team)
3 Chris VERMEULEN (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (JiR Team Scot MotoGP)
5 Nicky HAYDEN (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Randy DE PUNIET (LCR Honda MotoGP)
7 Toni ELIAS (Alice Team)
8 Ben SPIES (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)
9 James TOSELAND (Tech 3 Yamaha)
10 Shinya NAKANO (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
11 Jamie HACKING (Kawasaki Racing Team)
12 Sylvain GUINTOLI (Alice Team)
13 Alex DE ANGELIS (San Carlo Honda Gresini)
14 Colin EDWARDS (Tech 3 Yamaha)
15 Loris CAPIROSSI (Rizla Suzuki MotoGP)

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