Scintillating Shanghai battle ends with second place for Rossi

06.05.2007: Scintillating Shanghai battle ends with second place for Rossi

Fiat Yamaha Team rider Valentino Rossi fought a race-long battle with Casey Stoner during the Grand Prix of China today, the pair providing a thrilling spectacle until the 16th lap when Rossi was forced to concede victory to the Australian after a small mistake. Despite starting from the front row alongside pole-sitter Rossi, Colin Edwards had a less successful day as he suffered tyre problems from the start and dropped steadily down the order, eventually finishing a disappointing 11th.

John Hopkins took the lead into turn one but Rossi passed him on the first lap to cross the line in front. Edwards however had already slipped down to sixth and was unable to make up anymore ground from then on. By lap three Rossi had dropped behind both Stoner and Marco Melandri but before long Rossi had despatched his fellow countryman and set off after Stoner, eliciting a thrilling game of cat-and-mouse which kept everyone on the edge of their seats.

Rossi's M1 worked perfectly throughout and the Italian was never more than a few tenths down on Stoner, exploiting the agility and corner speed of his Yamaha in the earlier sections to close the gap and often pass Stoner, but relinquishing ground down the long back straight where the Ducati had the advantage.

The pair kept up a blistering pace and only Hopkins could stay with them, closing the gap to half a second at one point in pursuit of his first podium. With seven laps to go and Rossi doing everything in his powers to find a way to make a pass stick on Stoner, the Yamaha rider made a mistake braking into the hairpin at the end of the back straight and ran off the track, letting Hopkins through.

Rossi kept fighting and was able to pass the American back again to consolidate second place, but Stoner was too far ahead and took the flag three seconds in front. Edwards, meanwhile, had a difficult race as his package failed to work today and he was una ble to use the potential of his Yamaha, crossing the line 35 seconds behind the winner.

Valentino Rossi

Position: 2ndTime: +3.036

"I enjoyed today a lot, it was a great race, a really exciting battle and my Yamaha was fantastic to the end. We knew that this track would be difficult for us so to be able to fight with Stoner at 100% for the entire race was a great feeling. Of course it's not a win, but I think second place is a very good result for us here. I didn't want to give up and just ride for second, I wanted to try to pass him and I made some good overtaking manoeuvres but wasn't able to stay in front down the straight. Then I made a mistake when I hit a bump when braking, had to release the brake and ran off track.

It was a pity, but when you're riding on the limit lap after lap then things like this can happen; that's racing! Anyway I knew I couldn't give up, I had a nice battle with John and then was able to take second. I think these twenty points are really important and we're still second in the championship. I'm really more sad for what happened in Turkey because if we hadn't had the problem there then I might have been level with Stoner in the championship now.

But the season is long and now we have several races in Europe at some of my favourite tracks and I think we're in good shape for them!"

 

Colin Edwards

Position: 11thTime: +35.053

"I don't have much positive stuff to say about today's race! I had hoped that I would be able to try for a podium but right from the start I didn't have any rear grip and it was all I could do to keep it upright throughout the race. I genuinely believe that our bike is the best on the grid and I've never felt happier with it, but unfortunately the package as a whole isn't working for me at the moment and we need to understand why.

I had a slightly different tyre to Valentino but he really showed his class again today. I just want to forget about this race and look forward to Le Mans, where I've always gone well."

 

Davide Brivio - Team Director

"If you had told us before we got here that we would take second place, we would have been happy with that. Then of course on Friday and Saturday we realised that we could in fact battle for the victory! Valentino was perfect today and he couldn't have done anything better. His mistake was due to his fighting spirit, his refusal to give up and his will to fight until the end; this is the mark of a champion.

We showed we have huge potential, we lack a little bit of top speed and we must improve the performance of the engine so this is what we will be working on in the next few weeks. Colin showed with his performance yesterday that he has the ability to do well this season, but he used a different tyre and a different set-up to Valentino and unfortunately it didn't work for him today.

Valentino and Yamaha are in perfect shape and Colin has proved that he too can do great things when everything's working well for him. The championship is still young and we will keep on fighting like we did today."

 

 

Season best result for Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team

The Yamaha Tech 3 Team scored its best result of the year to date as Sylvain Guintoli finished in 13th position at the Grand Prix of China held in Shanghai. The result for the team could have been a lot better but unfortunately, his team mate Makoto Tamada was involved in an accident on the fourth lap of the race with fellow Japanese rider Shinya Nakano which forced his retirement. Among the positives that the team will take to the next Grand Prix is the fact that Sylvain was able to stay with defending world champion, Nicky Hayden, for several laps.

Sylvain Guintoli

Position: 13thTime: +50.705

I'm very happy with the race and the weekend. It was a good boost for me to be so close to Nicky for so long after he was caught up in that first lap incident and I had a lot of fun racing with him. Unfortunately I made a little mistake towards the end of the race that allowed the gap to open up. Anyway, I am satisfied as the weekend didn't start very well as we had a lot more trouble than Jerez and Turkey to get the right tyre but we worked hard and managed to find a good tyre for the race.

At the end of the day it is my best result in MotoGP, I was able to follow Rossi for a couple of laps during practice learning a few things and I managed to stay with the world champion for half the race so this has given me a good boost of confidence for my home Grand Prix in Le Mans in two weeks time.

I am really looking forward to that and after testing with Dunlop and the Yamaha Tech 3 Team last year feel that the tyres should work well there and it a track I particularly like so hopefully I can score some more good points in front of my home crowd.

Makoto Tamada

Position: DNF

It was a shame my race only lasted three laps as I had a very good feeling with the bike and the tyres. I felt that this was going to be the best race of the year for me so far I am very disappointed that I crashed as we had good speed but I am also sorry for Shinya. I wasn't expecting to be going to pass him then but he was going a lot slower than I thought.

I tried to avoid him by diving for the inside to take the corner but unfortunately we hit and we both went down and my bike was too badly damaged to continue The tyres are also getting better so I am feeling better on the bike everytime I ride it. Hopefully we can continue the progress at the next race and I can get a good result for myself and the team.

 

Herve Poncharal - Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 Team Director

It wasn't such a bad weekend for us but firstly I would like to say that we have to qualify better because during the entire weekend, apart for the last 30 minutes of the qualifying session, we were always quicker than a few riders who eventually qualified in front of us. Once we get to the race we go back to the same pace we had during the practices.

Makoto was catching and passing a few guys and doing very well. He had a great start, was very aggressive but wasn't involved in the first lap crash. He was up to 11th as he was able to catch and pass a few riders but unfortunately - and we apologise to Shinya Nakano and his team - he was caught a bit by surprise as he was a lot faster but he didn't expect Shinya to brake so early at the end of the back straight and hit him from behind.

It's a pity because when we see what Sylvain has done it was possible to have both riders score some good points. For myself personally, the best part of the weekend was Sylvain as he managed to stay right behind the world champion, Nicky Hayden for over 10 laps turning in the same lap times and this will be excellent for his confidence. He showed to many in the MotoGP paddock that he can race with anyone.

The work we did at Istanbul is paying off so I hope that we will have many people come and support us at our home Grand Prix at Le Mans in two weeks time.

Circuit Length: 5451
Temp: 23
Weather: Dry

 

2007 MotoGP China - Shanghai 06/05/2007 Race 1 - 22 Laps

1 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 44'12.891
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 0'3.036
3 John Hopkins Suzuki USA 0'6.663
4 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0'14.090
5 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 0'17.276
6 Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 0'26.256
7 Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 0'26.591
8 Randy De Puniet Kawasaki FRA 0'27.025
9 Alex Hofmann Ducati GER 0'28.108
10 Carlos Checa Honda ESP 0'32.957
11 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0'35.053
12 Nicky Hayden Honda USA 0'37.327
13 Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha FRA 0'50.705
14 Alex Barros Ducati BRA 0'55.264
15 Kenny Roberts KR212V USA 0'57.736
Best Lap Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 1'59.857 
 
 

Rider Standings 06/05/2007

1. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 86
2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 71
3. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 49
4. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 41
5. John Hopkins Suzuki USA 39
6. Toni Elias Honda ESP 35
7. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 31
8. Nicky Hayden Honda USA 30
9. Loris Capirossi Ducati ITA 30
10. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki AUS 30
11. Alex Barros Ducati BRA 27
12. Carlos Checa Honda ESP 20
13. Randy De Puniet Kawasaki FRA 19
14. Alex Hofmann Ducati GER 19
15. Shinya Nakano Honda JPN 15
16. Sylvain Guintoli Yamaha FRA 6
17. Makoto Tamada Yamaha JPN 4  

 

Team Standings 06/05/2007

1. Ducati Marlboro Team 116
2. FIAT Yamaha Team 102
3. Repsol Honda Team 79
4. Honda Gresini 76
5. Rizla Suzuki 69
6. Pramac D'Antin 46
7. Kawasaki Racing Team 23
8. Honda LCR 20
9. Konica Minolta Honda 15
10. Tech3 Yamaha 10
11. Team Roberts 4  

 

Manufacturer Standings 06/05/2007

1. Ducati 86
2. Yamaha 71
3. Honda 69
4. Suzuki 46
5. Kawasaki 23
6. KR212V 4

 

- Yamaha Racing , Amsterdam -

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06.05.2007 / MaP

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