Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso had a frustrating Australian Grand Prix today and wasn't able to finish the race, pulling in on lap four and into retirement. The 24-year-old Italian completed an excellent first lap, climbing from his ninth place grid slot to fifth as the MotoGP
field crossed the line for the first time. Then, however, Dovizioso began to experience some stiffness with the steering of his RC212V which affected his ability to ride at full pace. He continued for another lap but at the end of lap three Dovizioso was forced to pull into the pits, after which the cause of the problem was found to be the steering damping mounting which had moved from its original position.
Casey Stoner won today's race with Jorge Lorenzo second and Valentino Rossi third. Scoring no points today, Dovizioso has lost some ground in his battle for third place in the championship, but the Italian will be back in action at the Grand Prix of Portugal in two weeks' time and will attempt to return to his excellent recent form. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa had elected not to race today after making a brave return to the MotoGP paddock this weekend following his recent injury. Despite his absence, Pedrosa retains second place in world championship with a 23-point lead over Casey Stoner. Pedrosa is also targeting a successful return in Estoril.
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO - retired - World Championship position 5th 179 points
"It's really a pity that I had to retire today because we had worked hard with team and, after two difficult days of practice, today we had the pace to fight for third position and a podium finish. I made a good start and I was able to recover some positions. On the first lap I did a 1m31.7s without pushing too hard and I was fifth across the line. In the first two laps though I felt the steering was stiff and on lap three this caused me to lose a lot of positions. I could control the bike but, although I completed another lap, it was too risky to keep riding and I had to come into the pits. There was a problem at the steering damper mounting - it had moved into an incorrect position, so now we will investigate the causes. I'm really disappointed because after two great races in Japan and Malaysia, it was important to make a good race here to fight for third position in the championship. Still, now we will look to get the best results possible in Estoril and Valencia."
TOSHIYUKI YAMAJI - REPSOL HONDA TEAM MANAGER
"This result is obviously disappointing for us because Andrea showed in the first two laps that he had a chance to fight for the podium today. Naturally he is frustrated with this problem and how the race turned out, and so are we all. We were hoping for much more from this weekend, but now our focus will be on the next race in Portugal where we are determined to bounce back with a strong result for all our Honda fans. We have proved recently that we have the speed and potential to compete for race wins and this is our target for the final two races of the season."