With runaway victory
Dani Pedrosa sent Spanish fans home on a high at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España, taking a runaway home victory and, as a consequence, the leadership of the MotoGP World Championship.
The Repsol Honda rider was starting from second on the
grid, and after snatching the holeshot from poleman Jorge Lorenzo he never looked back.
A new lap record on the second lap confirmed Pedrosa´s intentions of breaking away, and he built upon his lead to win by nearly three seconds. The win was the 22 year-old´s second victory on home soil –after last year´s race at Valencia- and makes him the first local racewinner in Jerez since Sete Gibernau in 2004. It also echoes the only blue riband category win of his mentor, Alberto Puig.
Achieving his first podium of the season, Fiat Yamaha´s Valentino Rossi reached the milestone of 100 rostrum finishes with second place behind Pedrosa. The Italian had a late mix-up at the start of the final lap, when he thought that the race was over on the home straight. Slowing down and gesticulating to his pit crew, Rossi then realised that he still had one more lap remaining, although luckily for the five-time MotoGP World Champion he did not lose positions as a result of his error.
After six races without a victory, Rossi is now on his longest winless streak in the premier class since his maiden triumph in 2000.
Team-mate Lorenzo was unable to benefit from Rossi´s mistake, but had a creditable battle for second place with the Italian. Lorenzo now has two podiums in as many races in his rookie season, and lies in second place in the overall standings.
On the way up to the podium, King Joan Carlos I attempted to end the hostilities between Lorenzo and Pedrosa, the two rivals for the affections of the Spanish fans, by making them shake hands.
Despite a token extension of the olive branch, there are sure to be plenty more battles between the two this season.
2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden finished fourth onboard his Repsol Honda RC212V, whilst Loris Capirossi emerged from the battle between himself, Tech 3 Yamaha rider James Toseland and JiR Team Scot´s Andrea Dovizioso to take fifth.
The top ten was completed by San Carlo Gresini Honda´s Shinya Nakano and Rizla Suzuki star Chris Vermeulen, with reigning World Champion Casey Stoner outside the top ten for the first time in over a season. The Australian twice ran off track during the race, on the second and twenty-second laps, and now drops down to fourth in the classification.
Retirements came from Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet, the former starting from the front row of the grid for the second consecutive race.
DORNA / CAPSIS International