As Rossi slides out
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Colin Edwards rode a strong race in sweltering conditions today to take a best-ever Sachsenring finish of fourth, after starting from thirteenth on the grid for the German Grand Prix.
Team-mate Valentino Rossi had a disappointing
day as he slid out of the race early on when challenging for sixth position, in a race which was led from start to finish by Dani Pedrosa.
In front of 101,083 fans and with temperatures touching 33 degrees, today's thirty-lap race looked like being a test of endurance - both for riders and tyres. Rossi started from sixth but dropped to eighth at the start, taking two laps to pass Alex Barros before finding himself in seventh behind Randy de Puniet on lap three. He soon made his move on the Frenchman and looked to be safely through but a small mistake proved costly and sent him tumbling into the grav el trap.
Edwards meanwhile was making steady progress through the pack as he gained more and more confidence in his M1 and his Michelin tyres. On lap 24 he suddenly found himself within striking distance of Marco Melandri and Casey Stoner, passing them both on the next lap to take fourth. With a podium in his sights he set about trying to close the gap on Nicky Hayden but was not quite able to catch his fellow American, eventually crossing the line just under two tenths adrift.
Rossi remains second in the championship but the gap to Stoner grows to 32 points, whilst Edwards consolidates seventh after taking 13 points today.
“The beginning of that race was pretty tough, I almost crashed out a few times and it felt like I almost had too much grip on the rear! As time went on though I started to feel better and better and when Hayden passed me back again it made me pretty determined to keep pushing. Suddenly I looked up and there were three of them in front of me and at that stage I felt like the podium was a possibility. Getting past Stoner and Melandri was fine but I couldn't quite get back to Hayden which was a pity. A podium would have been nice but, after yesterday's qualifying, I'm pretty happy with fourth; it's my best ever finish here by miles. It was an exhausting race and you don't realise till you cross the finish line how much strain thirty laps around here puts on the left side of your body - my shoulder's pretty sore now! I want to say a big thank you to Michelin, my team and Yamaha because they've had to work really hard this weekend to find a way to make things come together and they did a great job. We knew this morning that we'd found a good package and to finish fourth after starting thirteenth is great. We're heading for Laguna on a high!"
« Unfortunately I made a mistake today and I want to say sorry to everyone - my team, Yamaha and of course all my fans. I lost some places at the start and had to wait a lap before I could start to push, but everything was feeling very good. Getting past de Puniet was hard because in the part of the track where it's best to overtake he was very fast. Finally I made my move and I made a great pass but I made a mistake and lost the front. I'm so disappointed because today our package was working very well and we missed the chance to make up a lot of points on Stoner. We know from Pedrosa and Colin's performance that the Michelin tyres worked well until the end and I'm sad that we weren't there to fight. Luckily Stoner was only fifth so the points situation is not as bad as it could have been. I'm very glad we only have seven da ys until the next race because right now I'm feeling quite bad, but very determined for America!”
"Congratulations to Colin, it's a great result for him and it gives him and his team a lot of encouragement and confidence for his home race in Laguna Seca. Michelin did a good job this weekend and our tyres worked very well until the end. On the other side, it's a great disappointment with Valentino because we lost the chance to recover some points. However this is racing and we know that our package is working very well now and we will get the chance to try again in just one week's time. Today gives us double motivation for Laguna."