MotoGP Race Report: Grand Prix Of Germany
After Dani Pedrosa’s thrilling victory Sunday, July 8 at the Grand Prix of Germany, the only certainty among the top three riders in MotoGP is uncertainty.
And that’s a very good thing for fans of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP next month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Pedrosa earned his first victory of the season on his Repsol Honda factory machine, beating Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha Factory Racing bike to the line by 14.996 seconds at the Sachsenring. Andrea Dovizioso finished third on his Tech 3 Yamaha satellite bike.
But Pedrosa’s margin of victory might be the most deceptive statistic of the 2012 season in MotoGP. His victory came after an epic duel with Repsol Honda teammate Casey Stoner for nearly the entire race, as they never were separated by more than a second during the second half of the 30-lap race.
Reigning World Champion Stoner fell on the second-to-last turn of the race while trying to pull even with Pedrosa for a last-gasp pass for victory after losing the lead to Pedrosa with 12 laps to go. Stoner’s Honda remained beached in the gravel trap, as he failed to finish a race for the first time since April 2011, ending a streak of 22 consecutive top-four finishes.
Pedrosa climbed to second in the World Championship, just 14 points behind Lorenzo, who entered the race tied with Stoner atop the standings. Stoner slipped to third after the shocking fall, six points behind Pedrosa and 20 behind Lorenzo.
“Well, things can change completely in one race,” Lorenzo said.
It was a stunning twist to an unpredictable two weeks in the World Championship. Lorenzo led Stoner by 25 points entering TT Assen on June 30, with Pedrosa in third, 39 points out of the lead.
“Casey had a superb race also and put a lot of pressure on me at the end, but I knew that I had the pace and that we both would need to fight for the victory until the last turn,” Pedrosa said. “I tried to brake hard, close all the doors and to take the win. Finally. It is a great feeling and sure will give us a lot of motivation for the next races. It’s also good for the championship, but we will not relax.”
Said Stoner, “I had planned to go for my ‘win or bin’ effort in the last corner, not that one!”
The three American riders produced solid results. Ben Spies finished fourth, tying a season best, on his Yamaha Factory Racing machine after starting third. It was his third consecutive top-five finish. Nicky Hayden was 10th on his Ducati, while Colin Edwards tied his best result of the season by finishing 12th on his NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW. He was the second-highest finishing Claiming Rule Teams rider.
Spies was embroiled in an all-Yamaha fight with Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow for fourth place for most of the race. Hayden also traded places often in a six-bike battle for sixth through 11th places throughout most of the second half of the scintillating race.
The next race is the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday, July 15 at Mugello. MotoGP comes to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the fifth Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19.
PODIUM FINISHER QUOTES
DANI PEDROSA (Winner, Repsol Honda Team): “I’m really very happy with this win. We finally made it happen, and it’s great not only for me but also for my team that never gave up, for my family and fans that have been pushing and supporting me all this time when we were taking second and third places but missing out on the victory. The podiums we had this season were very important, but I really wanted to give a victory to my team, and it arrived today at a circuit that I always enjoy. It's been a really hard day, though. Casey had a superb race also and put a lot of pressure on me at the end, but I knew that I had the pace and that we both would need to fight for the victory until the last turn. I tried to brake hard, close all the doors and to take the win. Finally. It is a great feeling and sure will give us a lot of motivation for the next races. It's also good for the championship, but we will not relax. Victory this season has not been easy for any of us, so we have to keep pushing as we do.”
JORGE LORENZO (Second, Yamaha Factory Racing): “Well, things can change completely in one race. In Holland, we had a 25-point advantage then suddenly zero, one engine less, and we were very disappointed. Then today we had some luck from Casey’s (Stoner) unfortunate crash. I would have been happy to have finished in third position because today the bike and the rear tire was not so good. The race was very tough; I always seem to finish second here. I would have preferred not to crash in Assen and for Casey not to crash here, but that is racing sometimes. We struggled a little all weekend with the changing weather, so we must be happy with the end result.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Third, Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “I am really happy to finish on the podium again, and it is a great feeling to do it here because this track has never been the best for me. It was the same in Assen last week, so to be on the podium there and also here at the Sachsenring shows the fantastic job that we are all doing in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team. Of course, we have to consider ourselves a little bit fortunate today to finish third because of Casey's (Stoner) crash. But it proved how crucial it was for me to remain at the front of the battle with Cal (Crutchlow) and Ben (Spies) for the whole race. If I had let them overtake me, then perhaps I would not have been third. I am happy because I rode an intelligent race today. Now I go to my home race in Mugello with a lot of confidence, and the goal will be to battle for the podium again.”
AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES
BEN SPIES (Fourth, Yamaha Factory Racing): “It was a frustrating race, but I guess we have to be happy with a top five. We had a lot more potential, but we did the best we could with the setup we had. We didn’t have enough edge grip and acceleration, so I had to sit behind Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and Cal (Crutchlow) and wait. I could see Cal was getting a little impatient and wanting to pass Dovi, so I was hoping he would and maybe clear a spot for me to get by. I had a good pace but not enough to out-brake them so had to play a waiting game.”
NICKY HAYDEN (10th, Ducati Team): “I’m really frustrated to have been in a big battle like that, only to arrive at the end of it. For the most part, I felt just as fast as the other riders in the group, and even faster in places, until about the last five laps. Then I think I was hurt by the combination of the tire going off and me trying too hard at the end. I really started to spin and lost the rear a couple times on entry. We had tried a couple of things in the warm-up, and considering the lack of dry time this weekend, the bike was decent. In parts of the track, I was fast. But I had troubles getting into and out of the last corner, as well as braking for Turn 1. To arrive 10th, when fifth was just over a second in front, is hard for a racer to take. I can’t be too happy with that one, but we’ll get another shot in a week at Mugello.”
COLIN EDWARDS (12th, NGM Mobile Forward Racing): “I had a great start. Got to the first corner, but (Hector) Barbera wouldn’t let me have it. So he comes up on the inside and pushes out, and a couple of others got me there. I put my head down and started putting laps together, tried not make any mistakes. We had a big problem in the beginning of the race with the traction control. Just steps too fast out, and it’s just not very friendly. I spent the next few laps playing with the traction control, trying to get something more to get it to be smoother. Then (Aleix) Espargaro was in front of me, and I saw that I was catching little by little on to him. I passed him, then he passed me and finally passed him again and made it stick. I could see (Randy) de Puniet was coming back little by little, but I just didn’t have enough time left.”
Riders: Jorge Lorenzo 160, Dani Pedrosa 146, Casey Stoner 140, Andrea Dovizioso 92, Cal Crutchlow 85, Valentino Rossi 71, Alvaro Bautista 67, Nicky Hayden 65, Stefan Bradl 62, Ben Spies 61, Hector Barbera 53, Randy de Puniet 24, Aleix Espargaro 23, Michele Pirro 16, Mattia Pasini 12, James Ellison 10, Danilo Petrucci 9, Colin Edwards 8, Yonny Hernandez 6, Ivan Silva 5, Karel Abraham 4.
Manufacturers: Honda 176, Yamaha 176, Ducati 85, ART 37, FTR 16, Ioda 9, BQR 9, Suter 8, BQR-FTR 2.