Dani Pedrosa triumphed in a nail-biting climax to round eight of the MotoGP season to take his first victory of the year, and his and the Repsol Honda Team’s first victory on Bridgestone tyres.
Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi finished a close second followed by teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who battled back from fifth to finish third. The top four riders, including Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner, all opted for the hard compound front and rear Bridgestone slicks as the temperature at the Californian track reached 51 degrees Celsius.
In another race in which the leaders were in a flat out battle until the last corner of the last lap, Bridgestone’s slick tyres demonstrated good consistency and durability as Pedrosa’s winning time was almost three seconds faster than Valentino’s winning time last year, and the top nine riders all recorded faster total race times than did the top nine finishers last season.
Pedrosa’s fastest lap of the race came as he pushed hard to establish a comfortable lead that was 3.3 seconds at its peak. As the race unfolded the fight for the lead intensified as Rossi chased the Spaniard relentlessly, fighting his way from third position on lap eleven to finish just 0.344 seconds adrift of what would have been a consecutive hat-trick of wins for the Italian.
Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden was the top rider to use a medium compound front Bridgestone slick, securing his best result of the season with fifth position. Toni Elias was the highest placed rider to use Bridgestone’s softer option fronts and rears, also securing his best finish of the season with sixth for San Carlo Honda Gresini, just 0.378 seconds behind Hayden.
Hiroshi Yamada – Bridgestone Motorsport – Manager Motorcycle Sport Unit
“I want to congratulate Dani and the Repsol Honda Team for a great victory today, their first of the season and their first on Bridgestone tyres. Again we have seen a race that has only been decided on the last corner of the last lap, and Dani is the fourth rider to have won this season, so this is great for the competitive spectacle of the sport.”
Tohru Ubukata – Bridgestone Motorsport – Manager, Motorcycle Race Tyre Development
“I am pleased with the durability of our hard compound slicks today as this track is very demanding of them but they showed good consistency and the top three riders were all able to set a faster race time than last year’s winning time of 44m04.311s. This clearly demonstrates the steps forward in overall tyre performance we have made since then, and that the tyre options we brought this weekend work well at this circuit.”
Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
“It’s been a long tough year for me since last year here when I couldn’t race, but finally we have had a good race and a good result. I was able to find a better rhythm than in practice so I think this is what let me go away. I think maybe the only mistake was a too slow last lap as I thought I had more advantage. It’s been tough but I am happy to be back and win a race.”