A damp British Grand Prix at Donington Park saw both Fiat Yamaha riders crash out of the lead in slippery conditions, although Valentino Rossi was able to remount and finished a brilliant fifth, extending his championship lead in the process. Jorge Lorenzo was less lucky and was unable to continue, meaning he had to watch the rest of the race from the pits after sliding out on lap nine. Yamaha kept up its 100% podium record for the season however as a superb ride from Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards sealed second place behind winner Andrea Dovizioso.
Rossi held onto the lead from pole into turn one but a frenetic first lap saw a shake-up between several riders and it was Toni Elias who led across the line for the first time, followed by Lorenzo and Rossi. There were more changes of position between the top five over the next few laps before Lorenzo took the lead at the start of lap five, with Rossi passing Dani Pedrosa and eventual race-winner Dovizioso next time around to move into second behind his team-mate. At that point the race looked like it was developing into another Fiat Yamaha duel but unfortunately on lap nine Lorenzo touched the white line in the last corner and went down. He was unhurt and ran to his bike to remount but it was damaged and lodged under the air fence and the Spaniard was forced to return to the garage.
The race was now between Rossi and Dovizioso, who were over ten seconds clear of the chasing pack by this time. The pair were pushing hard but light rain meant the track was becoming slippery in places and on lap 20 Rossi, too, made a rare mistake and slid out. The Italian was more fortunate than his team-mate however and was able to rejoin the race in 11th place. As the rain became heavier a few riders pitted to change bikes but Rossi decided to take a chance and stay out, making up several places before a last-lap move on James Toseland landed him a creditable fifth.
With Rossi’s other close rivals Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner also having less than perfect days, the reigning World Champion leaves the UK having stretched his lead to 25 points from his team-mate, with Stoner a further 12 points back. The MotoGP paddock now has a three-week summer break before Round 11 at Brno on 16th August.
Position: 5th Time: +21.622
“Once Jorge had crashed I was riding to win, as is always my style. In hindsight maybe I should have let Dovizioso pass me for a while but it was difficult to judge in such strange conditions. Riding in the rain with slick tyres is always a risk and it was quite slippery, the turns on the left were all wet which made the left side of the tyre cold and that’s why I crashed. Luckily it was a slow fall and my bike wasn’t hurt much. In fact, my bike was ‘bravissima’ today, both before and after the crash! After that we made a great recovery, I chose to remain with slick tyres despite the rain and the result was eleven points, which are like gold dust for us because we have extended the lead despite what happened here and we’re going on holiday with a good advantage over our rivals. Finally I want to say well done to Dovi but especially to Colin, who rode like a devil today!”
Position: DNF Time: Lap 9
“I got a good start and the first few laps went well, I was feeling quite comfortable in the lead. Unfortunately on the final corner of the ninth lap I made a small mistake, got my line wrong and touched the white line and there was nothing I could do; it was very slippery. I was okay and wanted to carry on but my bike was too badly damaged. Of course I’m sad and disappointed but this is racing and these feelings don’t help, you just have to learn from a mistake like this and look forwards. Valentino was lucky that he could continue after his crash, but it wasn’t our day. I am going to enjoy the break now despite this and take the chance to do plenty of training so we can come back at full strength in Brno.”
“We missed an opportunity today but we’ve come out of it well so we have to be thankful! They were very difficult conditions and it was easy to make a mistake but at the end of the day we have to look at the championship and consider that in those terms today was more positive than negative for us. We now have a one-race lead which is an important barrier and we’ve got a bit of a holiday now before we come back and resume the fight.”
“What a crazy day! We missed a great chance to get some points and a good result but unfortunately Jorge just touched the line and he had no chance to save it. It was also unlucky that the bike was stuck under the fence because there was no chance for him to continue. It’s a pity of course because the team did a great job this weekend and we were competitive in the wet and the dry, but Jorge will learn from this and will be stronger next time. We’ve got a small break, not really enough for a holiday but enough to recharge the batteries a bit after a busy two months
Colin Edwards produced one of his greatest MotoGP performances to bid farewell to the British Grand Prix at Donington Park with a stunning second place this afternoon.
And making it double delight for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team, James Toseland fought superbly in treacherous conditions to equal his best MotoGP result with sixth position.
A dramatic race started slowly for Edwards as the American rode tentatively in the opening stages while he assessed tricky track conditions and soft compound front tyre he was using for the first time this weekend. With light rain falling on sections of the Leicestershire track throughout, Edwards dropped back to 15th and at the end of lap seven he was only in 13th.
The 35-year-old then commenced a breathtaking charge through the field to move into fifth position on lap 20, with Edwards producing an exhibition of riding in mixed conditions.
He was comfortably the fastest rider on the track when he moved into third on lap 23 with a pass on Dani Pedrosa to set up a thrilling finale to the 30-lap race. Having trailed Randy de Puniet by over ten seconds at the halfway point, Edwards exchanged overtakes with the French rider in the closing stages before securing his fifth MotoGP second place on the last lap. He was just 1.360s away from race winner Andrea Dovizioso at the chequered flag to secure his 11th MotoGP rostrum.
Toseland gave the huge 89,977-strong home crowd plenty to cheer about too, the British rider constantly posing a threat for the top six as he was locked in an exciting fight with Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri and Mika Kallio for much of the race.
The 28-year-old looked on course for a career best fifth place on the last lap until he came under a late attack from reigning world champion Valentino Rossi, the Italian pushing Toseland back to sixth with an overtake at the penultimate corner.
Colin Edwards 2nd
“That was a pretty intense 48 minutes but at the start there was no way I thought I was going to be on the podium. I’m not sure what happened at the start but I just had guys coming by everywhere. I was using a front tyre I’d not used all weekend and it took me a while to get a feel for it. Once I got some momentum going and I started to understand how the front tyre was feeling I started pushing my way through. But with about seven or eight laps to go I started having some big moments because it was hard to know where it was raining and where it wasn’t. And all the time you’re trying to figure out where there’s grip and where there isn’t. It was easy to mistake and the left side of the rear tyre was pretty cold and that just helped make it even more mentally draining because you need to concentrate so hard. I could see I was catching Randy really quick and we got into a good battle. He was faster than me in some parts and I was better in others but luckily I passed him on the last lap and made it stick. By that time though Andrea was too far ahead to think about pushing on for that first win, but second is a great way to finish at Donington. I’ve got to say a big thanks to my guys at Tech 3 because they always give me great support. Yamaha and Bridgestone too were just awesome today, so I’m really happy.”
James Toseland 6th – 55 points
“I don’t know where to start after a race like that. It was so difficult for the entire race to gauge how much rain was falling and where it was falling and it took incredible concentration. I got my head down and was fifth on the first lap but just after halfway I was back in tenth because I was struggling for temperature in the left side of the tyre. I was wondering whether to pull in or not and change for the rain tyres at one point but I carried on and kept my lap times as consistent as I could because it was so easy to make a mistake. With some of the other guys stopping to switch bikes, I made up a few places and was fifth for the final few laps and thinking I was going to get my best ever MotoGP result. That would have been amazing to do that in front of my home crowd, who were absolutely magnificent with their support today. But at the end Valentino (Rossi) came through so strong on the last lap. He passed me at The Esses but I managed to dive back under him, bu t he was phenomenal on the brakes at the Melbourne Loop. I wasn’t going to try and do anything that might take us both out but it’s another sixth place and it definitely makes amends for the big disappointment of last year. Congratulations to Colin too because he rode a great race and deserved a podium.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“That was an incredibly dramatic race and an unbelievable performance from Colin. It was a really difficult race in those conditions and I think Colin made the right decision not to come into the pits and switch for the rain tyres. He coped brilliantly in tough conditions on the slick tyres and at stages in the race his lap times were very impressive. For several laps he was easily the fastest rider on track and the way he came through the field provided a great spectacle for the British fans. I am so happy for him and everybody at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 for all their hard work this season. Colin might be one of the oldest guys on the grid but he proved again today that you don’t have to be young in MotoGP to be fast. Honestly though it is hard not to have a little bit of regret when you finish so close to the victory but we can only be happy. I also want to say congratulations to James because he also produced a tremendous performance. He was under a lot of pressure in front of his crowd after the disappointment of last year but today we saw he can handle it in really difficult conditions. It would have been great for him to have held off Valentino for his best MotoGP result because he deserved it for the way he rode. But I have nothing but praise for both of them today.”