At rainy British Grand Prix
The early promise of the weekend remained unfulfilled for the Repsol Honda Team at Donington Park on Sunday as the British Grand Prix was affected by rain.
After making a good start from third on the grid, Dani Pedrosa was second into
turn one behind pole man Colin Edwards. The Spaniard passed Edwards into the Melbourne hairpin and led the race for the first four laps, looking assured and confident on the very wet surface.
When the track began to dry slightly however, Pedrosa's soft rear Michelin rain tyre became less effective and the conditions started to favour other riders. Despite trying manfully for the entire 30-lap encounter and taking a late-race battle to renowned rain specialist Alex Barros, 21-year old Pedrosa eventually finished in eighth position to earn eight points, taking his total to 106. The result maintains Pedrosa's third place in the World Championship.
Nicky Hayden also made a good start from his highest grid position of the season so far and was third into the first corner. The World Champion, who was quickest in Saturday morning's dry practice session and second in the wet on Friday afternoon, continued to mix it up at the front in an exciting first few laps. But as he battled with the frontrunners on lap five the 25-year-old American was hit by more bad luck as his front wheel tucked entering the first part of Coppice corner.
After visiting the pits Hayden rejoined the race and continued to the chequered flag in case other riders fell and championship points became available. Despite his disappointment the Honda champion still takes confidence from a strong performance this weekend and will have the chance to put things right in just six days time at the Dutch TT at Assen, the scene of Hayden's amazing victory last year.
Round nine of the MotoGP World Championship takes place on Saturday June 30.
“At the start of the race things were going quite well and I was able to lead the race and felt quite comfortable. After few laps the track was becoming drier and it turned out we'd chosen a rear tyre that was too soft for those conditions and I just couldn't maintain the pace. I tried to stay with de Puniet and I had battle with Barros in the last few laps but I had very little traction at the rear and unfortunately I couldn't hold him off. This was definitely a disappointing race for us, although we had promising performance in practice and qualifying which is positive. It's a pity because, with Casey winning again, the gap in the championship has opened up quite a lot. We'll just have to fight back quickly at the next race.
“The bike felt really good early in the race and I was trying to be a little bit patient when a few guys came past and I started going back and forth. It felt like I could go quicker, though when Stoner came through I was having quite a hard time seeing because of the spray. Still, I felt like I could go towards the front and I was enjoying the race. Then I just got in a little bit hot at the top of the hill and lost the front. I'd been passed there earlier once or twice and just didn't want to go back any further. I felt really good everywhere except on the brakes where I was quite weak. Some of the guys were really strong on the brakes, although I felt like I had better exit grip and better traction. It sucks to crash out of the race but it wasn't as if I crashed while going backwards and struggling – at least I was up front and so I'm going to take the positives from this weekend. Being fastest in the dry on Saturday morning was a big boost for me and I definitely feel that I've been the most competitive I've been all year.”
“What a pity we had this miserable weather because the Repsol Honda Team was looking quite strong this weekend. In the early stages of the race Nicky's pace was good and his machine and tyres looked to be working well. He was pushing hard and fell though, which is a shame because I think he had the pace to fight with Colin Edwards towards the end of the race. However, Nicky's performance has been improving at Mugello, Catalunya and here, and although this result is a shame, I think he can move on further at Assen. Dani was good in the wet and the dry this weekend and it's a pity his rear tyre selection was a little soft today. If it had rained more in the race I think he would have had a good chance, but the drying track cost him the chance of a better result. So, we must take the positives from this weekend and be ready for better things in Assen.”