Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi held off a furious last-lap charge from teammate Jorge Lorenzo to win his fourth race of the season, today's victory coming before nearly 100,000 fans at the Sachsenring in the former East Germany.The race at the front was waged among Rossi and Lorenzo, with Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa more of a threat in the first half than the second.Rossi led until lap seven when Stoner came through in turn 13. But it was Rossi back in front with a pass in the same corner on the 17th lap. Lorenzo took second place in turn one on lap 18 while Stoner soon had to fend off a late charge from Pedrosa.Pedrosa set the fastest lap of the race on the 25th and came through on Stoner in turn one. A lap later Stoner ran wide in turn 13, losing two seconds and third and fourth were set.Pedrosa said at the beginning he thought he had the pace to win, but those hopes faded "because after like seven or eight laps I lost the front in the last corner. I almost crashed and then I was back in fourth place. I couldn't ride my bike at the maximum. I was all the time scary about the front. So as I get slower on my lap times, the front feeling starts to be better."And at the end I start to push again, I passed Casey [Stoner], but as soon as I start to push hard again I start to lose a lot the front. So I think I could do a better race, but finally third place is not so bad, because it looks like my teammate had a really big problem with the front tire, so to be on the podium is good, but I'm a little bit not happy because I didn't ride at the maximum."Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso slowed throughout the race with front tire problems and pitted with five laps to go.Starting the 26th lap Lorenzo took the lead in turn one. Rossi waited until the 29th lap to make another pass in turn one on the 29th lap. Lorenzo tried Rossi on the outside in turn one on the final lap, but failed. And when Lorenzo thought about moving inside Rossi in the popular turn 13 passing area, Rossi defended it.They raced to the line, both setting their personal best lap times, with Rossi winning by .099 of a second. Pedrosa was third, 2.899 seconds behind, with Stoner finishing 10 seconids behind Rossi."So, first of all another fantastic race I think, because another great battle before with [Casey] Stoner and after especially with Jorge [Lorenzo] to the last lap," Rossi said. "All the people in front of the championship are very close for all the race, so was fun, but very tough, because have some overtaking. This time the top drivers' choice was different in the tires, so different behavior of all the bikes."And after half race I was able to overtake Casey and I was faster, but I see that Jorge overtake Casey straight away, so I say, ‘Wow, another time.' Is always more difficult fight with Jorge. And in the last laps I try to push a lot, but he was able to overtake. And we arrive to the end; I make my attack. After that I know that in this racetrack is very difficult to overtake, so I try to stay in front and the last lap I was very fast in the crucial point, so is another victory, so important, fourth in the season and another small advantage in the championship, so I'm so happy and I have to thank you Yamaha and all the team because they do a great, great job."Said Lorenzo, "Well, as in Montmelo, we lost the battle, but I think is not a problem. We must be happy, because we are always on the top and improving, is the important thing, no. We are waiting and maybe someday we can win."Rossi now has 176 points to 162 for Lorenzo. Stoner's third with 148 - 40 more than Pedrosa.San Carlo Honda Gresini's Alex De Angelis finished fifth, where he'd spent most of the race alone, with teammate Toni Elias taking sixth from Hayate Racing's Marco Melandri on the last lap to give the Gresini team their best 1-2 finish of the year.Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden finished an eventful day and weekend eighth. Hayden crashed again in practice - he'd also fallen in qualifying - and didn't want to tear up any equipment. His fourth-place starting spot was wasted when he ran into turn one too quickly and got hung out on the outside of the pack, falling almost to the back of the field. He finished the first lap ninth, and, cognizant of his two falls, he was cautious."I knew I needed to get a good start and try to do something," he said. "I got in hot and everybody came up the inside. It was a first turn deal. I lost a lot of positions and a lot of time."Having crashed twice, Hayden said he was "a little tight in the race. I didn't want to destroy another bike and throw away everything we've gained and learned this weekend."He didn't want to apologize for trying too hard."Nonetheless we're on our way. I really believe we've got some good results coming our way soon."Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards was ninth, one better than teammate James Toseland.

MotoGP:

1. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)

2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

3. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

4. Casey Stoner (Ducati)

5. Alex De Angelis (Honda)

6. Toni Elias (Honda)

7. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki)

8. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

10. James Toseland (Yamaha)

11. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki)

12. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati)

13. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki)

14. Mika Kallio (Ducati)

15. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda)

MotoGP Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

Comments