“We can't win every race !”
Ducati Marlboro Team rider Casey Stoner finished a strong second in this afternoon's windswept Dutch TT to preserve his World Championship lead as the 2007 MotoGP series reached half-distance.
Team-mate Loris Capirossi had a tougher day
at Assen, entering the pits with nine laps remaining.
Stoner dominated much of the race after a brilliant start from the front row of the grid. But he was troubled somewhat by the windy conditions and couldn't quite fend off Valentino Rossi in the closing laps.
Capirossi was involved in some hectic tussles with a bunch of rivals until his GP7 began to suffer possible clutch slip, currently being investigated by his crew.
Both riders left Assen in a hurry this afternoon, flying from nearby Groningen to Rimini in Italy to appear at the big World Ducati Week event currently taking place at Misano.
CASEY STONER, 2nd place, World Championship leader on 185 points
"We got an awesome start, went out to the front and felt quite comfortable doing similar times to what we were doing in practice, though not quite as fast because the wind was worse today. I was getting pushed around in a few of the fast turns and had a couple of front-end loses, so I wasn't willing to push the bike in the braking points I saw Valentino catching up, I saw him battling on the TV screens around the track. He was chasing me down pretty hard, he had a faster pace I tried to up my own pace but once he came past I was at my maximum. I felt great the entire race and I can't complain about the result because we only lost five points in the championship and we've only been off the podium twice this year.
I'm really happy with the result, so my thanks to the team, after a bit of a spill this morning I think it's been a good recovery. The bike ran out of fuel on the slowdown lap, just because I'd been sliding and spinning a heck of a lot more during the race than I had through practice, so I think the bike was using a lot more fuel. Overall, I'm happy with the way the season's going. I didn't start the year expecting to be leading the championship at this point, and no matter what happens for the rest of the season we're going to be very happy. I'm proud to be a Ducati man."
LORIS CAPIROSSI, DNF, 9th in World Championship on 57 points
"I had some difficulty with the front tyre early in the race. Then after a few more laps the cutch began to slip and that got worse, so eventually I decided to enter the pits. It's very sad and for sure I'm having a tough time at the moment, but the most important thing is not to give up and to try and improve."
LIVIO SUPPO, Ducati MotoGP project director
"Well, we can't win every race! Once again, Casey did a brilliant job all weekend, he was the only one who could run with Valentino who was in unbelievable form today. Loris was unlucky, he had some clutch slip, which we are currently investigating. Apart from that, it's been another good weekend, now we got to Misano to meet the Ducati fans. Our thanks as always to everyone involved, especially Bridgestone and Shell Advance."