“It's a very good result for us”
Repsol Honda's home star Dani Pedrosa guided his RC212V to second place in today's Grand Prix of Spain after leading for much of the race.
A crowd of over 123,000 sun-kissed spectators saw Pedrosa stretch his lead to 1.5s as he sought
to repeat of his victory here last year, but in the end he was beaten to the chequered flag by Valentino Rossi.
When the starting lights went out, Pedrosa made his customary lightning getaway from second on the grid and the 23-year-old led for the first seventeen laps. On lap two the Spanish favourite broke his own lap record set last year as he absorbed the pressure from Casey Stoner behind him. On lap six of the 27-lap race, Valentino Rossi took over the pursuit and he was eventually able to pass Pedrosa.
Though slightly disappointed not to have won, Pedrosa was pleased with his second podium finish in succession after missing out on testing time in a difficult pre-season. The result means the Repsol Honda rider has been on the podium at Jerez in every year since his MotoGP debut in 2006. He now stands fourth in the World Championship with 41 points after three races.
“I really wanted to win here but I knew it was going to be tough because Valentino has been very strong through the weekend and I knew he'd be fast in the race - and that's how it turned out”, said the Spaniard. “I got a good start, got out in front and then I just tried to concentrate on my race and see what would happen. Although of course I wanted to win here for me, the team and the fans, I'm actually very happy with the podium and surprised too. We struggled when we arrived on Friday and having missed so much testing in the winter - and the test here – it's a very good result for us. So I must say thanks to my team and everyone who's working with me. We're having quite a difficult time at the moment to get the machine performance to where we want it, so this podium is unbelievable."
Andrea Dovizioso also put in a spirited performance to fight back to eighth place after running off the track early in the race while in fifth position.
The Italian, in his first season with Repsol Honda, had made rapid progress from eighth on the grid and was looking set for another strong race before he lost the rear going into turn eight on the eighth lap, running through the gravel and rejoining the race in 16th.
The 23-year-old from Forli near Bologna displayed his never-say-die attitude by battling back up to 8th at the flag, but was left frustrated to have missed out on what he considered to be a possible fourth place today.
“I didn't make a great start but I was able to recover some places and I'm pretty sure I could have stayed with Lorenzo if I hadn't made the mistake. On the eighth lap while I was in fifth position, I lost the rear entering turn eight and I almost crashed. Fortunately I was able to rejoin the race and started to climb back up from 16th to eighth position”, he explained. “I wasn't as fast as I wanted today because we're still not at 100 per cent with the set-up of the bike. I'm disappointed about today's result because we didn't get the best out of the bike today. Dani had a great race today and I think he's getting the maximum possible from the package, so I want to say congratulations to him."
Casey Stoner climbed the final step of the podium and Randy de Puniet came home in fourth place on the LCR Honda. After back-to-back races in Japan and Spain, the MotoGP series now breaks for a weekend before reconvening at Le Mans for the French Grand Prix on Sunday May 17.