News 26 Apr 2009


Dorna press release:

Jorge Lorenzo emerged victorious from a thrilling Polini Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, the second win of his MotoGP career and a result that retained his 100% podium record in the 2009 season.

The Fiat Yamaha rider took little time in taking the reigns of the race, having started from the front row and showed no fear when faced with the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi in front of him. However, despite a relatively comfortable advantage, Lorenzo was never quite able to pull clear of his rivals as the action heated up. He held on to cross the line with a gap of less than two seconds between him and second placed teammate Rossi.

Lorenzo moves up into first place in the overall classification, for the second time in his MotoGP career. The battle for second place in the race was MotoGP at its finest, as Repsol Honda man Pedrosa exchanged overtaking moves with Rossi in the middle third of the 24 laps. Pedrosa ultimately took third, having had a storming start from the fourth row of the grid.

Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner was unable to break away as he had done in Qatar, finishing fourth and keeping up the pressure in the general standings. Andrea Dovizioso completed a fine day for Repsol Honda in fifth, ahead of Marco Melandri, Loris Capirossi, Mika Kallio, James Toseland and Chris Vermeulen.

Home rider Yuki Takahashi crashed out of the race in a collision with Nicky Hayden on the second lap.

Mapfre Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista rode a masterful race to deny Hiroshi Aoyama home glory in the 250cc contest, taking his first win of the year.

Bautista heaped the pressure on Scot Racing rider Aoyama for ten tough laps before passing the two-time Motegi racewinner with six laps to go and creating a gap between the two.

Aoyama took second place for his first podium of the year, and now closely trails new series leader Bautista by one point in the overall standings. Team Toth’s Mattia Pasini completed the podium, bouncing back from a heavy Friday crash and claiming his first points of the year.

Reigning World Champion and 2008 racewinner Marco Simoncelli had poorer fortune in the race. The poleman was leading comfortably before bobbling on the chicane and puncturing his front tyre. He came into the pits for a change of rubber, but could only claim 17th as his rivals fought out the rest of the race at the front of the field.

Andrea Iannone took his second victory in as many races in the 125cc class, a result decided as much by tyre choice as by grid positions and bike performance.

Taking the lead from the second lap, Danny Webb valiantly held on at the front despite rapidly losing tyre life, as the trailing pack closed in. Eight laps before the chequered flag Julián Simón caught up with the Briton, and the race between the riders on slick tyres was on.

Ongetta Team I.S.P.A rider Iannone claimed full points this time around, and maintains the lead in the overall standings.

Simón once again played the bridesmaid, whilst Derbi rider Espargaró completed the podium in the second race of 2009.

The MotoGP paddock reconvenes in a week’s time for the Gran Premio de España, which takes place on May 3rd at the Circuito de Jerez.

MotoGP Race Classification

Pos. Rider Nation Team Total time
1 J. LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 43’47.238
2 V. ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team + 1.304
3 D. PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team + 3.763
4 C. STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team + 5.691
5 A. DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team + 9.207
6 M. MELANDRI ITA Hayate Racing Team + 30.555
7 L. CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 32.756
8 M. KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing + 39.416
9 J. TOSELAND GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 43.106
10 C. VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 43.245
11 R. DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP + 44.834
12 C. EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 46.540
13 A. DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini + 53.525
14 N. CANEPA ITA Pramac Racing + 1’21.804
15 T. ELIAS SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 1 Lap
Not classified
S. GIBERNAU SPA Grupo Francisco Hernando 7 Lap
Not finished 1st lap
N. HAYDEN USA Ducati Marlboro Team
Y. TAKAHASHI JPN Scot Racing Team MotoGP

World Championship

Pos. Rider Nation Team Points
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team 41
2 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 40
3 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 38
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team 22
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 21
6 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 17
7 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing 16
8 Chris VERMEULEN AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 15
9 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM San Carlo Honda Gresini 13
10 Marco MELANDRI ITA Hayate Racing Team 12
11 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 11
12 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 9
13 Toni ELIAS SPA San Carlo Honda Gresini 8
14 James TOSELAND GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 7
15 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Marlboro Team 4
16 Sete GIBERNAU SPA Grupo Francisco Hernando 3
17 Niccolo CANEPA ITA Pramac Racing 2
18 Yuki TAKAHASHI JPN Scot Racing Team MotoGP 1

Rizla Suzuki press release:

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP riders Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen raced their Suzuki GSV-R’s to seventh and 10th places respectively at today’s Japanese Grand Prix in Motegi, a result that could have been so much better but for an electrical fault that robbed Vermeulen of a higher place.

Vermeulen made a great start and was in a podium position in the early part of the race, but an electrical fault relating to gear shifting caused Suzuki’s Australian star to drop back through the field as he struggled to come to grips with difficulties in selecting gear. As the race progressed he managed to adapt to the problem and challenge for a higher finish. Vermeulen passed James Toseland for ninth on the final lap, but the gear-change issue meant he was unable to hold the position and missed out on the line by a little over a tenth-of-a-second.

Capirossi got boxed in at the start of the race and was relegated back to 11th position on the first lap. He set about battling his way through the field and consistently set personal fastest laps during the early part of the race. Capirossi made it up to seventh place, but by then the lead pack was too far away and he settled into a solitary race to bring his machine home for his first points of the season.

Today’s weather was very changeable again as torrential rain in the morning threatened the day’s proceedings, but the storm clouds gave way to blue skies and bright sunshine in time for the race. This presented a number of problems for all the riders, with so little dry practice being available over the weekend. Jorge Lorenzo took victory on his Yamaha in front of over 41,000 fans at trackside, a result that also lifts him to the top of the riders’ championship.

Rizla Suzuki now travels straight back to Europe for the third round of the season at Jerez in Spain next weekend, when both riders will certainly be looking for a change of fortune in their favour.

Chris Vermeulen:

“I’m really disappointed today, because I got a good start, the bike felt good and I thought a decent result would be possible. We used the hard rear tyre for the race and that was a bit scary on the first lap as I was worried about what it was going to do! I pushed as hard as I could and tried to hang on to the back of Valentino. From about the second or third lap I started to have a problem shifting gear heading into the turns and it made it difficult to stay consistent. I felt like I’d got it under control, but then the problem got worse from about lap six as I lost all shifting up and down without having to shut the throttle or use the clutch – so it was quite difficult! Other than that the bike worked really well and I felt like I could have challenged somewhere close to the front, but that’s all ifs, buts and maybes and we now have to make sure what caused the problem today never happens again! If we can keep the speed we’ve had recently we will go to Jerez in a positive frame of mind and if we can iron-out all the little things, then I am sure we can start to challenge for podiums!”

Loris Capirossi:

“I am disappointed with seventh, because this is not our proper position as we have a better potential than that. This winter we went very well because we had enough time at tests to work on the bike, but here this weekend we did one dry practice and everything else in the wet. We never found the best setting and we started the race with one we hadn’t tried here. The bike was not too bad, but I never really found a good rhythm and feel from the tyres. I want to say that I am really sorry to all my team and everybody that has been working so hard this weekend. We need to go better than that and this weekend we just didn’t perform well enough!”

Paul Denning – Team Manager:

“Chris and Loris both made a big effort today, but the results weren’t what we were hoping for at Suzuki’s home Grand Prix. The race was run at a relatively slow pace and everybody was suffering from the same lack of grip, but the settings gamble we took to improve things for Loris just didn’t work out. Having said that, at least we now have some points on the board – and a finish under our belts – for Loris.

“The race was particularly disappointing for Chris when the technical problem made the bike very difficult to ride. It took him a few laps to adapt and get back to a reasonable lap-time. A competitive result looked on the cards and I was pleased to see that Chris was angry – as well as disappointed – at the end of the race, because he knows the potential was much better than today’s result. He has performed well all weekend – in every condition – and deserved more today!

“We haven’t got long to wait to put things right. Both the guys went well at Jerez earlier in the year and we’re looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible.”

Fiat Yamaha press release:

After it looked at one point on race-day as if the Grand Prix of Japan would be a complete washout, the sun broke through the dark clouds and streamed onto the Motegi circuit as the Fiat Yamaha team enjoyed a clean sweep of the top two spots. With qualifying having been cancelled yesterday due to the heavy rain, both riders started the race from the front row of the grid according to their times from Friday’s free practice. Following a stunning race, Jorge Lorenzo took the glory of standing on the top step of the podium, after coming through a brilliant scrap with his team-mate Valentino Rossi, who finished a close second.

Starting from third on the grid Lorenzo briefly lost a position on the first lap, but was soon back up to his starting spot as they crossed the line for the first time. With a superior pace to his compatriot Pedrosa it seemed as though the Mallorcan was being held up, and sure enough on lap three the Spaniard edged into second place. Once there he had the unenviable task of closing a two-second gap to his team-mate Rossi, but gradually edged nearer his colleague. The two enjoyed a good head-to-head fight, swapping positions at the V-corner before Lorenzo finally found a way past Rossi. From that point there was no looking back, and as Rossi was entangled in the battle with Pedrosa behind, Lorenzo sealed a glorious second victory in MotoGP.

Leading from the first corner, Rossi had opened up the gap on the Spaniards in the early stages, but once Lorenzo had found a way past, it was Pedrosa who caused the champion most problems. With Pedrosa attacking on several occasions, the Italian was forced to keep his wits about him, but always seemed to have enough edge to keep ahead. The killer move come heading into the tunnel at turn five, and the race was decided as Rossi pulled away from Pedrosa in the latter stages.

With Lorenzo leading the championship on 40 points, one ahead of Rossi, the MotoGP World Championship moves on to his home race at Jerez in just a week’s time.

Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 43’47.238
“First of all I just want to thank my team, my Mum, Dad and whole family, my friends and all the team workers. Also Yamaha, as it is their home race, it was a difficult race because I didn’t really get a very good start, I think I even finished the first lap in third or fourth. After that I began to catch up the pace. I passed Valentino and opened up a little gap, about a second and a half, and he was following me very hard. I had to ride the best I can to get the victory.”

Valentino Rossi – Position: 2ndTime: + 1.304
“It was a great race, long, very difficult and also physical. I got a really good start from the front row, but there was a part of the race that I wasn’t quite able to ride like I wanted, there was some kind of problem and I wasn’t fast enough to pull away. I lost time from Jorge and then was involved in a battle with Dani and then in the last part of the race I was able to step up my pace and pick my lines, setting some good lap times. I tried to come back but unfortunately Lorenzo was too far away. It’s a good race, second place is not a victory but it’s still twenty points for the championship. I think the championship will become very interesting now because we have four riders ready to battle for wins at the end.”

Daniele Romagnoli – Team Manager
“I’m really happy about today’s result, we didn’t expect a victory, maybe we were just thinking about the podium, so I’m extremely happy. We did a great job on Friday and I think that was the key because we worked a lot around the harder tyre and in the end that was the good one. With the information and the data we collected, today we just had to do some fine-tuning to the bike and it has brought us this special victory, and we are able to show the world how strong Yamaha is. Jerez will be a great battle, like today it will be a big show and so i am looking forward to that event.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“First of all, congratulations to Jorge, who rode very well, and congratulations to Yamaha, because this result confirms the great job we have done in the last months. We are always very fast and for the second time this year we have two riders on the podium. Night or day, we are always there! Valentino took a very important second place, because our target is to be always there. Now we are looking forward to going back to Europe for a very important phase of the championship and it is crucial to start this time on top”.

Monster Tech 3 Yamaha press release:

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team duo James Toseland and Colin Edwards secured hard fought points-scoring finishes in Yamaha’s home race at the Twin Ring Motegi today.

British rider Toseland gave himself a welcome confidence boost with a determined ride to ninth place in the 24-lap encounter, which took place in windy but dry conditions after another weekend dominated by rain. Opting to run the softer compound Bridgestone tyre, Toseland made a storming start from the fourth row of the grid, crossing the line at the end of the first lap in seventh place. The 28-year-old secured his first top ten finish of the campaign with a superb attacking display in the final stages, holding off the persistent challenge of Chris Vermeulen and Randy de Puniet. American Edwards encountered a small problem in the early stages of the race but once he was able to demonstrate his true potential, the 35-year-old reeled off some blistering lap times. At times he ran the same pace as the top five as he fought his way through the field to a highly commendable 12th, setting the sixth fastest time in the race to miss out on a top ten finish by three seconds.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team now heads to Jerez next weekend for the start of the European leg of the MotoGP world championship.

James Toseland – Position: 9th Time:
“I needed to be back in the top ten, so today was the step I’ve been looking for. We made a big step with the front-end setting on Friday in just the 45 minutes of dry track time we had this weekend and it helped me a lot. The comfort on the braking was much better and I was able to pass a couple of guys on the brakes today, which was good. I went for the soft rear tyre just because that’s what I’d run most on Friday. We knew the soft one would go the distance, but it wouldn’t be as strong in the latter stages of the race with the temperature being hotter today. But I didn’t want to take any risks by running the harder compound, particularly as we knew it would take a couple of laps to get to temperature. In the early part of the race I had quite a bit more grip than some of the guys and I might have been able to pass (Casey) Stoner and (Loris) Capirossi) if I was more comfortable with the bike on a full fuel load. That would have pushed me a bit further up earlier in the race when I had an advantage with the softer tyre. It was a good battle on the last lap with Vermeulen. He passed me briefly at the end of the back straight, but I managed to keep him at bay. I’m happy for my team because they’ve stood behind me and everybody has kept their morale up, and now we’ve got a result we can build on.”

Colin Edwards – Position: 12th Time:
“That was not at all what I expected but I can’t turn the clock back. I wish I could because I believe I could have fought for the podium. We had a small issue at the start of the race and I simply couldn’t ride how I wanted to. I kept my head down and persevered throughout and perhaps a few more laps I could have chased down the guys in front for a top ten. I couldn’t have ridden any harder today and I did my absolute best for Yamaha. I was really confident going into the race because I was one of the few guys who had done a lot of laps on the harder compound tyre in the dry on Friday. So with the track temperature coming up a lot compared to how cool it was on Friday, I felt that experience we gained would really help. When I got going in the race my lap times were as quick as the top five, so it’s a case of wondering what might have been today. We’ll look to bounce back in Jerez next weekend because I feel like I’m riding really well.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“We obviously had higher expectations but I’m pleased that both James and Colin showed their determination throughout the race. It was good to see James fighting strongly in the top ten and this result will have given his confidence a big boost. He has had a difficult winter and first race, but he’s remained incredibly focused and this is a good platform for him to build on for the rest of the season. I’d also like to thank Colin for his efforts today in difficult circumstances. He had a problem before the start and we are still investigating the cause with Yamaha. But his pace in the second half of the race was very impressive, so we know that Colin is in very good form heading into Europe. I’d like to say big congratulations to Yamaha for its one-two in front of the Japanese fans. It shows the YZR-M1 is a very strong package and that Yamaha is the brand to beat again in 2009.”

Ducati Marlboro press release:

Casey Stoner took a solid fourth place finish in the Grand Prix of Japan today, adding a precious 13 points to his championship tally despite the data acquisition showing that he suffered a strong vibration through his front brake throughout the race. With the sun finally shining through after a wet warm-up this morning, the former World Champion once again showed his maturity and knack for riding around problems with an exemplary exhibition of damage limitation. Nicky Hayden’s desperately unlucky start to the season continued when he was clumsily knocked out of the race on the opening lap by home rookie Yuki Takahashi. The American suffered another heavy blow to the back injury he suffered in Qatar but luckily he escaped without any further damage.

Starting from the front row, Stoner dropped to sixth on the first lap and then lost another position. However, the Ducati Marlboro Team riderAustralian showed his trademark determination with an inspired fightback that took him back past Melandri two laps later, before immediately picking off Chris Vermeulen and then hunting down and despatching of Andrea Dovizioso two laps from the end. Stoner is now third in the championship standings after two rounds, three points behind today’s race winner Jorge Lorenzo.

CASEY STONER (Ducati Marlboro Team)  4th
“We have had the same issues as everybody else, I suppose, in that we haven’t had time to set the bike up but all in all I think we were capable of at least matching the lap times of the front guys – we just lost too much time at the start. On the warm-up lap I felt I a lot of chatter from the front brakes, they weren’t smooth and I wasn’t confident over the first five or six laps. I really didn’t know what to do, I wasn’t able to brake where I wanted to and I wasn’t confident. Maybe I could have gone faster but I don’t know how safe that would have been. Anyway, I lost a lot of positions at the beginning of the race and I spent too much time battling to get past. When I got closer to the front it was a bit too late, unfortunately. I tried to stay as consistent as I could and when I got closer to Andrea I rode a bit harder because I saw it was possible to pass him. So the race was not completely lost, we didn’t lose that many points and this is a much better start to the season than last year, so we can definitely feel positive going into the next one.”

NICKY HAYDEN – (Ducati Marlboro Team) DNF
“That was exactly what we didn’t need. I got a decent start and I think I was up a couple of positions but just going down into the hairpin, which is a slow hard-braking corner, I was on my line and Takahashi just took me down. There was no warning – I didn’t even hear anything! I don’t want to say much about that, I don’t want to look like a cry-baby but, you know, it was the first lap… luckily I feel okay. I actually landed in the same place on my back as the crash in Qatar and my leathers and helmet have got exactly the same marks. It’s a shame because this weekend I honestly felt we were making some progress. I felt we had better communication going on and we worked more comfortably from the first day. I know we were never looking at a great result but I felt I could have been competitive today. Anyway, we have to move forward and to look to the next race.”

“It has been a strange weekend and the weather definitely hasn’t helped but it has been the same for everybody. Casey produced a great performance, showing once again his ability to ride around problems and bringing home some important points. There are no words to describe how unlucky Nicky has been here… he was knocked to the ground in the fourth corner… Unfortunately these things happen in racing and the most important thing is that he wasn’t injured.”

Honda Racing press release:

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) celebrated 50 years of Honda excellence in the World Championships by taking a hard-fought third place, from eleventh on the grid, in the company’s home race on the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, while Jorge Lorenzo (Fiat Yamaha) held off teammate Valentino Rossi for the victory.

Pedrosa’s teammate Andrea Dovizioso battled for a podium spot until the final few laps when he fell back to finish a close fifth to the fourth place finisher, Casey Stoner (Ducati Marlboro).

The race may prove to be one of the most difficult of the season for the riders, who went into the second grand prix of the season with a number of questions. The only dry session was Friday, when the temperature was 10C colder than on race day. Saturday’s practice was held in a steady rain and qualifying was rained out. Which meant the teams had to make educated guesses on everything from suspension to tires, and some of those guesses were proven wrong.

Rossi was away at the start, with Pedrosa in hot pursuit after making a bullet start from 11th on the grid. The Spaniard forced the action in the early going, despite still having limited mobility in his left knee.

On the third lap Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo came past, while Dovizioso chased Pedrosa.

Now came the heart of the race, with the Yamaha riders being chased by the Honda riders and both teams fighting among themselves for bragging rights. Lorenzo made a pass of Rossi on the ninth lap, but wasn’t able to break away. It was only when Rossi had a slight problem just past the mid-point in the 24-lap race that Lorenzo was able to put a second on his teammate.

A few laps later and it was Pedrosa Rossi had to contend with. The world champion hung tough until the 15th lap when Rossi made a mistake that cost him a second and dropped him closer to the clutches of Pedrosa.

Pedrosa made his first move up in the inside in turn one on lap 17, but Rossi immediately struck back. Pedrosa tried him again in turn five, but couldn’t make a clean pass. It was on the run down the back straight that Pedrosa snuck by into the 90 degree right that leads into the tunnel.

Rossi fought back on the 19th lap, taking Pedrosa in turn five before the first tunnel. From there he was able to hold onto second, but finished 1.304 secs. back of Lorenzo, who won by 1.304s.

Dovizioso chased Pedrosa closely in the first half before his pace slowed slightly in the second half. It was then that Stoner made a run after struggling with front brake problems in the beginning. Stoner passed Dovizioso for fourth in turn three on the 23rd of 24 laps.

LCR Honda’s Randy De Puniet finished 11th in the midst of a four-rider battle for ninth that went to James Toseland (Monster Energy Yamaha Tech 3).

San Carlo Honda Gresini’s De Angelis, starting his 150th GP, finished two spots behind in 13th . More than most riders, De Angelis was handicapped by the lack of dry practice. The settings he chose for the race clearly didn’t work and he did his best to keep the group in front of him in sight, only to fade at the end.

Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda Gresini) had worked his way up to eighth place before what he described as a “stupid crash” put him to the back of the field. Despite losing valuable time, the Spaniard remounted to score the final point in 15th place.

Scot Racing Team MotoGP’s Yuki Takahashi failed to finish his home race. The Japanese rider crashed among a tight pack of riders in turn five on the first lap.

It was 50 years ago this June that Naomi Taniguchi scored Honda’s first World Championship point at the Isle of Man. Naomi Taniguchi, a spry and lively 73, paraded a replica of his RC142 prior to the MotoGP race. He was joined by Kunimitsu Takahashi, 69, the first Japanese rider to win a World Championship Grand Prix on a Honda. Takahashi rode the RC164 that Jim Redman rode to the 1963 250cc World Championship. Freddie Spencer, a three-time world champion for Honda, rode the radical 1984 NSR500 that featured the famous “upside-down” design, with the exhaust chamber above the engine and the fuel tank below it.

Dani said: “I’m very happy with this result. I’ve had injury problems for a long time – since last October – and so to be on the podium in the second race of the season is fantastic for me, and really we didn’t expect this so soon. I got a good start – the start was really the key part of my race – and I was able to get away with the front group. I couldn’t really believe it when I stayed with them because I was expecting to drop back after maybe one or two laps. But then it was lap five or six and I was still there and I was thinking, ‘this is unbelievable’. In the end I was near the front for the whole race, had a good battle for second, and finished on the podium so this is great. We still have to sort out some issues on the machine, but it’s a very positive result going in to the Jerez, and I’d like to say big thanks to the team and the fans.”

Andrea Dovizioso who finished 4th said: “I’m pretty happy after this race because, considering that we struggled a lot during all the practice sessions, we were able to stay near the front for 24 laps. I was pushing really hard for a podium finish for the whole race but in the end I couldn’t make it. It was a tough race and this is a very demanding track, with many hard braking zones so we struggled a lot physically to achieve this result. I think me and Dani just gritted our teeth and got on with it today. It’s promising because we’ve reduced the gap to the guys in the front. I was 27 seconds behind the winner in Qatar and only 9 seconds behind here, so this is a good step forward. But we must keep on working hard. I have to give my compliments to Dani – he did a great race. I made a good start and was able to maintain a good pace during the race, but we still have to fine-tune the machine so that we can be really competitive.”

De Puniet in 11th said: “It was a very hard race starting from the last row and I lost some time behind Sete (Gibernau). After six laps I finally passed him and started to set my pace getting the ninth place. At that time (Mika) Kallio was behind me but he overtook me on lap 14th. After that I tried to catch (James) Toseland but my rear traction was not very good as we had only 18 laps in the dry on Friday and the machine was not as we expected. I struggled in the left corners entries and I probably made a small mistake changing gear in two last laps and (Chris) Vermeulen easily passed me. It’s a pretty positive result considering my position on the grid and I am looking forward to racing in Jerez to improve my machine set up in the dry”.

Alex De Angelis finished 13th and said: “We had some problems on Friday and missed our only opportunity to get the bike set up for dry conditions, which was an unfortunate circumstance that we paid the price for today. I went for a hard front and rear tyre but it clearly didn’t work with the set-up we had and I had no feeling from the tyres or the suspension today. There was a group of four riders fighting in front of me and I was desperate to get involved in the battle but I lost the rear a couple of times so finally decided to give up the chase. Three points isn’t much but it’s better than nothing.”

Toni Elias finished 15th today and said: “I’m very disappointed. I was struggling a little over the opening couple of laps but by lap three I started to feel good and I was able to start making up positions. I caught the group that Melandri and Vermeulen were in but just when I had done all the hard work I had a stupid crash. I got on the dirty part on the outside of the track and lost grip on the front and rear under braking. That’s the most disappointing thing because I had the opportunity to pick up some important points and I threw it away. Looking at the positives, I finished the race and picked up a point, which is something, and we have improved the bike here, which should help us in future races.”

Yuki Takahashi, who didn’t finish the race, said: “Out at the very beginning of the race… what a pity. Not only for the race itself, but especially because I need making laps to learn and improve. The crash occurred at the turn number five. I was in a group of riders, more or less all of us at the same speed, then the collision under braking. I’m really sorry.”