Round Eight at Sachsenring turned into a battle between the Two Repsol Honda team mates, ending with Dani Pedrosa on the top step of the podium for the first time in the 2012 season. Dani's fourth win at Sachsenring means he has now been victorious here for three seasons in a row, and this win puts him second in the championship ranking, just 14 points behind Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha). The Honda team and fans saw a sure one-two finish snatched away at the last moment, when Casey Stoner, neck and neck with Pedrosa throughout the race, crashed out at the end of the final lap. Stefan Brandl (LCR Honda) matched his best score of the season, coming in fifth to the cheers of his home circuit supporters, and despite starting from last place on the grid, Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini) put in a brilliant performance to finish seventh. The Honda riders certainly made this race a memorable one for the fans at Sachsenring.
He's been coming so close to winning but then just missing the goal all season, so he's incredibly happy to have broken his streak of bad luck. We're all very pleased that Dani finally got himself a win. Last week in Holland, the Repsol Honda Team were 1-2 in both qualifying and race. This time Casey took pole, and Dani was placed third only because he couldn't get a clear lap in qualifying. And in the race, right from the start it was a contest between these two, out ahead of the pack. They gave us a fine show – a battle of wills between two evenly matched riders on top of their form, equally determined to win.
On day one, Dani made top time in both wet and dry. He said the bike felt good under both conditions, but it was an especially easy ride in the wet. On day two, after a changeable morning the afternoon qualifying was full wet. Because of the unsettled weather it wasn't possible to make a proper comparison, but we had the new chassis all set up and so he decided to use that in the race. Casey, on the other hand, raced with the old frame, just like he had done in Holland. I've said it before, but because we can't do full tests during the season, it's not possible to make big modifications to the frame. The frame Dani used was made to fix the problems we've been having matching and balancing the new tire this year. We didn't make big changes to it, but it has given good results for Dani. Looked at like this, I guess you could say we're using the frame as one of the setup parts.
It's disappointing, but what to do? That's racing. I have to say my heart missed a beat when I saw Casey crash out, though. But of course from the team's point of view, we're happy whichever of them wins. My greatest wish would be to see these two riders fighting it out all the way through the season, with one of them champion at the end. That's what we've been working towards. If Casey had finished second this time, it would have put him on top for points, but what happened was that Dani's win closed his points gap with Jorge. Casey didn't need to beat Dani this time – I appreciate his desire to win them all, but I would have been very pleased with just a finish this time...
In a race, the rider behind always feels as if he has more speed, and Casey said he was sure he had the edge to take Dani when it all went wrong and he lost the bike. What to say? Of course, I was really hoping for another one-two finish like they got in Holland.
We've made steady progress since the winter tests toward eliminating the chatter and other problems that have been troubling us, and these machines are certainly better now than they've ever been. However, since Round 6 we've been required to use the new front tire and it's taken a massive effort to set up the bikes to match this tire. There are not many hard braking points at Sachsenring, so it wasn't a problem here, but that doesn't mean everything is fixed. I have to keep saying it – if we were able to keep using the same tires we had up until Catalunya, I'm sure the efforts we've been putting in all year would have paid off with far better results.
Yes, Stefan put on a good show on his home turf. If only he had managed a clear lap during the rain in qualifying I think he would have started on the front row. He has shown he can be very fast in the short run – now he has to deliver that speed throughout the race. This is just a case of building up experience, so I expect a lot in future from this rider. To help him make his way from last place through the full pack, Alvaro chose the softer tires, the only one of the MotoGP machine riders to do so. They lost a lot of grip fighting through the CRT bikes, so it was quite remarkable the way he ended up on the tail of Stefan's group. I think we'll see great things in Italy from all four RC213V riders.
We managed to win with Casey in Holland, then Dani here in Germany. However, Jorge is still top overall on points, so that situation hasn't changed – we still haven't caught up with the leader. Last year we lost to Jorge in Italy – this year I want us to win. Dani will be highly motivated by his victory here, and I think the disappointment of crashing out will spur Casey on even more. So yes, I'm aiming for another 1-2 win for the Repsol Honda Team. And I hope you'll all be out there cheering us on.