With second place in 200th Grand Prix
Valentino Rossi finished a worthy runner-up at Donington Park today, unable to catch Casey Stoner on this occasion but surviving a mid-race battle with Dani Pedrosa to extend his lead at the top of the championship. Today was Rossi's
200th Grand Prix and this his 142nd podium since he opened his account with a third place at the 1996 Austrian GP in the 125cc class. It was also a good day for Rossi's team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who put his recent injuries and yesterday's poor qualifying behind him to come through from 17th on the grid to take sixth.
Rossi's recent work in testing on improving his starts paid off today and the Italian held onto his second place at the off. He tried to stay with Stoner but the Australian was too quick in some parts of the track today and Rossi knew that second was going to be as good as it got. Midway through the 30-lap race Pedrosa loomed and twice passed Rossi into turn one, but both times the multiple-champion took him back and over the final stages he was able to create a safe cushion from the Spaniard, crossing the line just under six seconds behind Stoner and 2.558 ahead of Pedrosa, who is his closest championship rival.
Valentino Rossi : "I am quite happy about this result, although of course I would have preferred to have been fighting with Stoner for the win! I got a good start today and I tried to stay with Casey, but in some corners he was faster than me and it was impossible to keep up with his pace as the race went on. I knew that second place was important because of the points so I had to win my fight with Pedrosa in the middle of the race! Luckily we took second and now I have extended my lead by four points, which is very important for our championship.
Unfortunately this weekend we made some mistakes when it was dry on Friday, and then because of the wet yesterday we weren't able to work on them until today, when it was too late to make things perfect.
Anyway we did the best we could so thanks to all my guys. We are leading the championship but Stoner showed his potential today so I think that this hard battle between us all is going to continue race by race. I am glad we only have a few days to Assen and I am looking forward to doing better there."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager : "Today it was difficult to do better than this but if you think about the championship it has been a very important result and we have increased our lead on Pedrosa by four points. We're not quite at the half-way point of the championship yet - one more week - but we're pretty happy with our season so far and the important thing is that we're leading the championship. We have no time to rest before Assen but we will be going there with the aim of getting back to the top step of the podium."