Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rossi closes on Stoner after Dutch win

Former world champion Valentino Rossi narrowed the gap to overall MotoGP leader Casey Stoner after his Dutch Grand Prix victory on Saturday.

Rossi, who cut Australian Stoner's advantage in the world championship standings by five points to 21, took the lead three laps before the end after moving up from 11th place.

Yamaha MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi of Italy celebrates on his motorcycle after winning the Dutch Motorcycling Grand Prix at the TT circuit in Assen, eastern Netherlands June 30, 2007.

In dry but windy conditions Rossi finished in 42 minutes 37.149 seconds ahead of Stoner and Honda's American rider Nicky Hayden, who snatched his first podium position this season.

"It was my best race this year for sure," Rossi told Dutch RTL television. "It was a great, great battle with Casey and an important victory," he said.

"At the end of the race the tires' grip was better but before then we were struggling with the grip and could not get the bike to feel good," Stoner said after the race.

"Also with the faring in the wind I was losing the front several times. I think we were lucky today," said the Ducati rider who crashed earlier on Saturday during the warm-up.

Australia's Chris Vermeulen, who started from pole position for the third time in his career, came 16th after a crash with France's Randy de Puniet with 15 laps to go.

"It was good to start from pole position, and we made big steps in this morning's warm-up," Vermeulen said on the MotoGP Web site (

"Then all of a sudden I was hit from the rear and ended up in the gravel. I didn't know the other rider was there and certainly don't think there was room for him," the Suzuki rider commented on his unexpected crash.

None of the MotoGP races this year have been won from pole.

In the 250cc class, Spain's world champion Jorge Lorenzo won his sixth victory this year. The Aprilia rider began on pole and completed a wire-to-wire victory in 40 minutes 25.904 seconds.

Italian Alex de Angelis was second ahead of another Spaniard, Alvaro Bautista, as Aprilia swept the top three places after a similar achievement in the 125cc earlier on Saturday.

"I was struggling hard to widen the gap with Alex, because Alex was absolutely very fast," Lorenzo told RTL television.

De Angelis has finished in the top four in every race this year and took his fifth podium place of the season on Saturday.

Italy's Mattia Pasini won the 125cc category, his second win in six days. The Aprilia rider began on pole position for the sixth time this season and completed a wire-to-wire victory in 38 minutes 58.171 seconds.

Championship leader Hector Faubel of Spain edged out Hungary's Gabor Talmacsi for second as Aprilia swept the top three places.



Kunal said...
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