Hayden on podium again
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa blasted to an emphatic victory at the German Grand Prix on Sunday to record his first win of the season in front of a sell-out crowd at the Sachsenring circuit.
The Spaniard's huge margin of victory 13.166
seconds is the biggest gap between first and second place in the top class of Grand Prix racing in a dry race since Mick Doohan's Repsol Honda won the 1997 Czech Grand Prix by 14.858s from Luca Cadalora.
Pedrosa was joined on the podium by team-mate Nicky Hayden who put in an equally stunning performance to rocket from 14th on the grid to third at the flag.
Pedrosa and his Honda RC212V were peerless today. From second on the grid he made a perfect start, was first into Turn 1 and was never headed for the entire 30-lap race. His early pace was relentless as he held off and then steadily edged away from series leader and pole position man Casey Stoner, who at this stage lay in second place. On his way to victory Pedrosa set the fastest lap of the race, a time of 1m 23.082s which bettered the lap record he set here last year aboard the 990cc RC212V.
This was Pedrosa's third win of his MotoGP career and his first since taking victory at Donington Park last season. He remains in third place in the World Championship but has closed the gap to Valentino Rossi, who crashed out today, to twenty points.
While Pedrosa dominated at the front, team-mate Hayden was performing heroics as he battled through from his lowly grid position. A good start elevated the World Champion to tenth at the first corner and, despite early worries about an unusual noise coming from his machine, Hayden began picking off riders in spectacular fashion. By half distance he'd climbed to seventh and suddenly the impossible looked possible.
By now lapping at a similar pace to Pedrosa, the 25-year-old American soon dispensed with Randy de Puniet before catching and dispatching Colin Edwards and a slowing Casey Stoner on the same lap.
With Melandri overtaken a lap later Hayden crossed the line in third place to record his second podium in succession and create a welcome springboard for his home race, the U.S. Grand Prix which takes place at Laguna Seca in one week's time.
I'm very very happy with the result today. This is a victory I'd like to dedicate to the Repsol Honda Team and to HRC because they have been working really hard for a long time without getting the results and I'm very happy they've kept motivation and put in maximum effort at every race. Now they have some reward. Also I'm pleased for the fans because they've given me great support even when I wasn't winning. The race went very well obviously. I made a good start, pushed hard from the beginning and was able to open up a gap and control things from the front. The tyres were really good today and Michelin did a very good job, especially as some riders were having difficulties. Towards the end of the race the gap was big so I could take it relatively easy, which I was grateful for because it was very hot out there. The result closes the gap slightly in the championship which is good, but the really important thing about today is that we are winning again. Hopefully we can move on from this result and continue getting stronger.
It's great to be on the podium after what started as a really tough weekend. The team did a great job overnight and made some big improvements to the machine. I came out in the warm-up and it was a lot quicker so even though I was starting from 14th I still had some confidence for the race. I made a decent start not as good as the one at Assen but I made up a few places into the first corner. Then I heard a strange noise from the bike and slowed for a couple of laps trying to figure out if it was a problem. It didn't seem to make any difference though so I just got my head down and started picking up places. The tyres worked really well today, so a big thanks to Michelin. It's a good result ahead of Laguna but I need to put the whole weekend together on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We lost almost all of Friday with problems and Saturday didn't go much better which cost us a lot. Dani rode really well to win the race and two riders on the podium is a really good result for the Repsol Honda Team. Now I'm just going to go home to the U.S. GP, enjoy the race and try to have some fun at Laguna.
This is an excellent result for the Repsol Honda Team. It's been a demanding weekend because the conditions have changed a lot from session to session and in the end the temperatures just kept on rising which made the tyre choice very important. Dani's team did a great job of improving his package after a few problems in the warm-up and he was able to ride at the absolute maximum today and take a great win. Congratulations and thanks to him. Nicky also had a fantastic race after a very tough time in practice and qualifying. Again he showed his real fighting spirit and came from a low grid position to the podium. He's now had two podiums in two races and will go to his home race with a lot of confidence. We have to use this good result for the team as even more motivation to work harder and achieve more success in the coming races.