2009-07-06 Pedrosa surprises at Laguna Seca - rider claims
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After a string of injuries and bad luck, Dani Pedrosa brought surprise to Laguna Seca, as he scored dominant victory in a race where he was not one of favorites. Pedrosa had one of his rocket starts and set pace that was too high for others, comfortably controlling race before relaxing too much at the last lap, that easily could cost him a victory. Valentino Rossi, man who was expected to win in Laguna Seca as other two main rivals were injured, rode solid race but was unable to catch Pedrosa. He was lucky to defend second place from Jorge Lorenzo, who rode injured but despite that looked stronger than his team-mate. Lorenzo eventually settled in 3rd place, in front of another title candidate, Casey Stoner. Stoner again had strong start but faded to 4th place as his mysterious illness stroke again. Another pleasant result came from Nicky Hayden, who managed to score 5th place on his home track, promissing improved performance on Ducati Desmosedici GP9. Read rider claims after the race.
Dani Pedrosa - 1st:
This is a fantastic win for us and itís a great feeling after such a long time without a victory. The start to the season has been really difficult and actually itís been tough since Sachsenring last year because Iíve had a lot of injuries and I havenít been able to ride at 100 per cent for a long time, or train properly. But my team and Honda never gave up and Iíd like to thank everyone whoís been working really hard to help me get back to this position. Iíd also like to thank the doctors who have treated me because there have been quite a few of them! I got a good start, I was able to get into a good rhythm straight away and my pace was a little better than in practice. Perhaps my only mistake here was to slow down too much on the last lap because I didnít realize how close Valentino was. Anyway, it was a great race, a great day and itís a great feeling. Now I just want to focus on each race and get the best results possible. Thereís a long way to go in the championship but thereís also a big gap to the leaders so Iím just going to take it one race at a time.
Valentino Rossi - 2nd:
The first half of the race was quite difficult because we werenít at 100% today. I didnít expect Dani to be so fast but he was very strong and there wasnít much I could do to go with him! The last ten laps were very exciting because Lorenzo was pushing me so hard that I had to really make another step and then Dani slowed down and suddenly he was right in front of me! I thought there was a chance to pass on the final corner but unfortunately I was just too far off and it was too much of a risk. Second is good today because we were not in perfect shape here, we missed something in the setting and this is always a hard track anyway, so we have to be happy with these twenty points. We have extended the championship lead so itís a good result for us and we have shown that we are still strong this year even when things are not perfect. This consistency is the most important thing for the championship. Now I am happy that we have some time to rest because these have been a hard two weeks and the next two races are very important because we are all so close!
Jorge Lorenzo - 3rd:
I always try to do my best and I think that is what I have done today, considering my physical condition. I am really proud and I think that this was one of my best races. My foot was okay but I had a lot of pain in my right shoulder, which meant I wasnít strong in my right hand and I had to over-compensate with my left; I am really tired now! I want to thank the Clinica Mobile because they made it possible for me to finish the race. After a while I started to forget about the pain a bit and I just wanted to do my best and I knew that it was possible to pass Valentino. Unfortunately I hit some bumps when I braked deep and my rear tyre moved a lot and I was lucky not to crash Ė maybe without this mistake, if I had been able to pass him, it would have been possible to win but anyway third is good in the circumstances and we have taken good points. Now we have some time to recover; I am fit and strong so I hope that by Sachsenring I will be back to my best.
Casey Stoner - 4th:
It has been a weekend to forget. I canít be happy with fourth place even if it has limited the damage to my championship chances. Today I didnít feel as bad at the end of the race as I have done in the last two but Iím still not right. I found it really difficult to keep my concentration over the last few laps and I was in a bit of a daze by the end. My left arm was feeling really tired by the end because of the fact there are so many left-handers here and my left wrist still doesnít have the full range of movement after my operation in the winter. Iím really disappointed because without all of these problems we could have done so much better. I want to thank the team for giving me a great bike and also Doctor Claudio Macchiagodena and our physiotherapist Freddie (Dente) for all their help. Now weíll focus on trying to find out the root of the problem because racing in this condition is not much fun.
Nicky Hayden Ė 5th:
I have won here twice and to say that fifth place feels just as good might sound strange but man, so much hard work has gone into getting us to this point and I want to savour this feeling. To be racing at home, to score a solid result and to have had fun out there is nice. I just want to say a huge Ďthank youí to my whole team, to Ducati and to everybody who has continued to believe in me during some difficult times this season. We have made progress over the last two races, we have kept the faith and it has paid off with this fifth place. Hopefully we can keep it going and score even better results as the season progresses.
Toni Elias - 6th:
It is not a bad result and we couldnít have done much more than that because my race pace was exactly the same as in practice. I was able to go quicker for a lap or two in practice but generally we knew this was what we would be capable of today in terms of my own performance. To be honest I was hoping the front guys would be a little slower than that and allow us to challenge them but the pace was very quick so compliments to them. In general this weekend has been much better than previous races and so was the result, but we always want more.
Colin Edwards 7th:
It's great to score my 100th points finish in front of my home fans and doing it for Monster, Yamaha and Tech 3 who have given me great support. But I expect more than finishing seventh. I'm pretty tired now and it was a really physical race because I couldn't get the bike to turn. Each time I threw it on its side it just went straight out to the kerb. I was using a lot of effort to get the bike to turn and it felt like the front forks were sitting between my legs. When I braked the front didn't feel like it was coming back up. It felt like the front was buried in the ground and just pushed me out to the edge of the track. I ride over the front a lot but today it felt like I was crawling all over it, almost like I was sitting on top of the tank. It wasn't super special and we've got to go back to the drawing board I think for Germany. My pace was consistent and I was doing between 22.9 or 23.1 the whole race, but that just wasn't fast enough.
Chris Vermeulen - 8th:
It was a difficult race and we didn't end up where we wanted to be. I got quite a good start but then got boxed in on turn one and lost a few positions. I was battling with Loris and Colin and got caught up with them and came out of it the worse, and ended up in about 14th place. We also struggled a bit with tyre performance today and didn't get the ultimate performance out of the bike. From about lap 15 and right to the end my times were quite quick and when everybody's tyre dropped down - including mine - it was a lot easier to ride the bike. We just didn't really have the performance with the new tyres and it's something that has affected us before this year and is certainly something we will have to look at. The plus is that I stayed upright all day today - which was good - and although we didn't have the best package out there we still managed to score some decent points and now we need to move forward in Germany.
Randy De Puniet - 9th:
I am quite satisfied as it was hard to expect a better result starting from the fourth row on this ďup-and-downĒ track. I struggled with grip problems since Friday and we tried to adjust our issues but at the end the bike was not at 100%. My start was not brilliant and found some traffic in the first laps but after that my rhythm was good enough to pass a few riders. We decided to go for a softer rear tyre which was a good choice for the beginning of the race but grip from the rear tyre dropped at ten laps to go. This is another productive result for me and the Team as I am holding the 9th place in the championship
Alex De Angelis - 11th:
We made some changes to the bike for today but with the conditions being so much cooler for the warm-up this morning than they were for the race in the afternoon, we hadnít really tested them. I was really struggling over the first few laps and the bike was moving around a lot but the problem eased in the second half of the race and I was able to push harder. I honestly thought I could run with Vermeulen today and that would have been a battle for eighth place so itís a shame we suffered this setback. Anyway, at least we picked up a few points.
Andrea Dovizioso - DNF:
We were in good shape, Iíd got into a fast rhythm and Iím sure we could have had good result today, so Iím very disappointed. Unfortunately I made a mistake and I have spoiled this opportunity. During the first laps, I was behind Valentino, I wanted to overtake him and I was very close at the end of the straight. Itís a blind point and I was so close that I didnít see the plastic poles that separate the track from the pit lane. I hit a few of them and in the impact the clutch lever bent, and from that moment on I couldnít control the engine braking. It was my mistake as my line was too far to the left but after that it was tough to ride and change gear properly. Nevertheless, I tried to stay up with the leaders. Then I lost the front and crashed after having had a couple of warnings. Iím really disappointed because we are getting closer to front-running pace at every race and here we could have done well. Still, I believe in myself, in the machine and in my team, and I really hope to get a good result soon.
James Toseland - DNF:
There's not much I can say really other than it was a tough weekend. I feel like the jump start was pretty harsh. I knew it was close but I didn't think I'd jumped the start and that early in a 32-lap race I'm not looking at my pitboard. I was just concentrating on catching the guy in front and the first thing I realised that I'd been penalised was when I saw the black flag and my number. Obviously if I'd known I'd jumped the start then I would have come in but I've watched the TV replay and you can't see anything. I didn't gain any places either so in my opinion it's pretty harsh. It's a setback but I've just got to get on with it and bounce back in Germany.
Gabor Talmacsi - DNF:
I had a very good feeling with the bike, and a good start. Then suddenly, when I was 15th, I lost the front. I cannot say why. I'm fine, but it is really a pity because I was in a condition to get a good result. I stay confident for the next race.
Loris Capirossi - DNF:
I am really upset about today, because we have worked so hard this weekend to find the best solution and we thought we would be ok with the setting today. I started quite well and was really aggressive in the first couple of laps, but in turn six I lost the front on the second lap and then on the next lap I did the same in the same place, but this time I crashed. I am really sorry for the whole team because they have worked so hard this week. The truth is this has been a terrible weekend for me as we never really found a good solution. Fortunately we have another nine races in front of us and we will keep working really hard to get some good results.
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