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Many battles developed Sunday at Sachsenring, Germany, for Round 9 of the 2011 MotoGP Championship.
The biggest battle was up front between Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, and Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.
But with 21 of 30 laps completed, Pedrosa took the lead, taking the victory. Stoner looked to have second, but Lorenzo stole it from the Australian on the last corner (13) at Sachsenring.
The win was Pedrosa’s second of the 2011 MotoGP season, and also his fifth at the Sachsenring MotoGP circuit.
The other big battle was for fourth between Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Spies, Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizoso and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli. In this battle, Dovi took fourth, followed by Spies and Simoncelli.
For a full report of Sunday’s MotoGP in Germany, click here.
Here’s what the riders were saying following Germany MotoGP:
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “It’s an incredible feeling to be back and win a race so early; I didn’t expect it, but this circuit has been always very good for me and I made it happen. I was already surprised yesterday with second position in qualifying and to finish the weekend in this way is amazing, a huge relief for me after a very hard time with injuries.
“Here I suffered less than in Mugello because of the layout, but in the race today I had a strange feeling, something I’ve never had before. At the beginning of the race I wasn’t feeling great on the bike, I was fourth but I didn’t get nervous or worried because I’m still not mathematically out of the Championship battle, but I know it’s almost impossible.
“So, I just let the laps pass and in the middle of the race, with less fuel in the tank and when the tires started sliding, I decided to step it up a little and it worked perfectly. I’m very happy with this victory, I’ve been suffering a lot even though this race track is not physically demanding, because I’m still weak.
“A big thanks to my family and doctors that helped me to be back here because they all know how hard it has been. Also to my team and to all my fans that never gave up, they deserve it also.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “It was a tough race because this circuit is small and difficult. Our target was the podium so I’m a little disappointed with fourth position, but if we look at today’s race in a bigger perspective, we took a big step forward in terms of race pace compared to my previous records at this circuit.
“We had a good start and tried to stay with the front riders. It was a good battle with Simoncelli and Spies for fourth position and I’m happy we won this battle! We were consistently fast during the whole weekend and even though today we were struggling, we finished fourth.
“We confirm that we are there and we have retained third position in the Championship, even if we aimed to gain more points on Lorenzo and Casey. My congratulations go to Dani, Casey and Jorge for a great race.”
Casey Stoner (Respol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “We knew today would be a hard race, we found a good set up yesterday in qualifying but we had an issue with the rear tire and the temperatures getting too high, with it spinning too much. We took it easy in the early part of the race and thought we’d try to preserve the tire and warm it up slower than we did in Mugello.
“After a few laps I decided to make a move to the front to see what we could do and we were able to pull a small advantage, but too small compared to the effort we were putting in so I backed off on my pace a little and tried to stay as smooth as possible and see what happens.
They came past me and Dani was riding so strong and was able to get past Jorge before I got there, he built a small advantage and by the time I got past Jorge and I struggled to chase him down.
“I made a few small mistakes and that left just Jorge and I for the last few laps.
I tried everything I could, riding the cleanest lap possible and trying to block my line, but Jorge came up on the dirty part of the track and I thought it would be too high a risk but he made it stick and I have to settle for third place. I’m still leading the Championship and I’m thankful for the points here today.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m very happy! It has been a fantastic race today. From the middle of the race I got very tired in my left hand so I didn’t know where I could find the force to push and keep pushing to the end.
“Then Casey stopped the bike a lot two corners from the end so I took profit from it, opened full throttle and in the last corner I went for it. It was a miracle pass! This race is very important so we are very proud and happy with the result. I have to thank my Yamaha crew who worked very hard to give me a fast bike all weekend, they have been fantastic.”
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Unfortunately I got to the front group a little too late but I tried as hard as I could. I just lacked some rear grip in the beginning, I tried to be consistent and hope they came back to me because I couldn’t run the pace they were running in the beginning.
“Lap time wise it was probably the most consistent I’ve ever done in a race. We caught up to them with three laps to go and then all hell broke loose. Simoncelli started trying to find a way past Dovizioso and every time I tried to look to go past one of them was on one side of the track and the other on the other side.
“It was fair play, they were racing each other but it kind of messed up my game plan! Simoncelli ran wide at the end so I got him again in the last corner. I wish we could have got Dovizioso because we had the pace, we just ran out of laps.”
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “That was a difficult race because it was one of those where you can see a few places up for grabs in front of you but you can’t do anything to try move forward. I was with Valentino, Nicky and Alvaro for pretty much the whole race but it didn’t matter what I did or tried, I couldn’t get close enough to try and pass them. One tenth round this track feels like a million because it is so short but it felt like I was on a bungee rope the whole time.
“Each time we started going through the series of lefts from Turn 4 onwards, they just seem to have more traction than me. They’d pull a few bike lengths on me but then I’d gain it all back in the hard braking for Turn 12 at the bottom of the hill and hard braking for the last corner. My bike was really stable on the brakes but the bike lengths I’d catch up I’d lose again on the next lap and the process would start all over again.
“With a few laps to go I was in Turn 2, off throttle and the rear came round. From that point on I had less grip and a bit of vibration and I couldn’t stay with them and I was making more mistakes trying to keep their pace.
“So I just took 10th place, which is not where I want to finish, but I’ve never gone great at this track and I’ve gone faster than I’ve ever run here. Usually it’s a disaster here, so I’m actually happy with my race and going to Laguna Seca now to race in front of my home fans, I feel really good and confident.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “I tried to go with that group in front of me off the start, but about the second or third lap I had a pretty big moment over the bumps in Turn 1 and they took off. From there I had a big battle with Bautista and Vale.
“It was fun, with a lot of overtaking, but battling for seventh place, 27 seconds back is hard for me to take at a track that I love and where I’ve been on the podium several times. I got to seventh toward the end and did my best lap, but they came with me.
“Bautista got me on my last lap, at the bottom of the hill. I re-passed him in the last corner, but he squared it up and nipped me to the line. It’s easy to say now, but I wish I raced the soft tyre. Thanks to the team and everybody that worked hard, but we had better hopes for today, going into Laguna.”
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “Today went a little better. This morning in the warm-up we made a change to the setup that helped me to slightly improve the feeling compared to the very, very difficult practice sessions.
“After the opening laps, I realized that my pace was the same as that of Nicky and Bautista’s group, maybe even a little faster, but I had small glitches with the gearbox in the second half of the race. It was mainly hurting me in the last corner, when I changed to third, because the bike wheelied and it took me half the straightaway before I could put it back down.
“At the end of the race, I wanted to pass Nicky on the brakes into the first corner, where I was pretty strong, but instead even Bautista passed me on the straight. Anyway, that’s not where we want to be. We definitely improved today compared to Saturday, but we’re still too far back. We find the race setup late, and that makes everything more difficult, but in order to improve we have to try many things, which makes it easy to lose our direction.
“It’s understandable, because we don’t know this bike well and I think we have to take chances and try everything. Now we’ll analyze the data from this weekend and decide what to do for Laguna Seca.”
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “Obviously I can’t be happy to have finished 14th because I believe I should be fighting inside the top ten. But taking the positives out of a difficult race, I was able to fight for the whole race with riders that are a lot more experienced than me, and who have much more knowledge of this track.
“I really wanted to finish 11th but when I ran wide with a few laps remaining, it was always going to be an uphill battle to get back three places on a track like this that is tight and twisty. But I didn’t give up and I pushed as hard as I could right to the end and nearly recovered a couple of places.
“I just didn’t have enough grip from the front or the rear and it was difficult. I didn’t feel I could push any harder and it strange because we made a lot of big changes to the bike this weekend without ever really finding an improvement. We’ve learned a few things that will help in the future and now I’m looking forward to getting to Laguna Seca where I’ll be aiming to get back inside the top ten.”
Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “Yesterday we thought we made a good step forward and I was hoping for a better result. But at the beginning of the race with the full load of fuel when the bike was heavier I have struggled very much to control it.
“Suddenly our usual problems came back again and I have started to lose the front in the braking and no confidence in the rear. I managed to cross the line in 16th position but obviously I am very frustrated. By the way I do not want to lose my motivation and my concentration and we’ll see what is going to happen in Laguna.”
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MooGP) says: “I am happy with today’s result because it was a fun race and I am quite pleased with where we finished. At the beginning I had to try and get a good start, because in the first corner you have to be very careful with other riders. I got a decent start and was in a good position just behind the top riders, but I was a bit too far away from them, and my rhythm wasn’t quite as quick, so I couldn’t quite stay with them. I got involved with the two Ducati guys and really enjoyed the race with them.
“At the end it was very difficult to overtake Valentino and Nicky because they brake very hard and very late, making it tough to get past. On the last lap I overtook Valentino at the end of the main straight. I then followed Nicky and waited for the last two corners because I knew I had an opportunity there to get him. I had to brake with everything I had to get past him on corner 12, but I ran a bit wide and lost some speed, Nicky overtook me on the last corner, but he entered too quickly and he went out, so I got past him on the exit of the corner.
“I am very happy that we are the first finisher after the top six because they are on a different level at the moment. For the next race I hope to continue with this way of working and get closer to the top.”
Randy De Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: “I’m not satisfied about my thirteenth place. I was able to start from the third row, having lost all those seconds in the first lap has affected the whole race.
“I have lost the group in front of me, the one composed by Hayden, Rossi, Edwards and Barbera and I was no longer able to shorten the distance. Halfway through the race, then, I had problems with the front: I could not close the gap, and I lost more positions. I tried to finish the race, I could not do better. We will try to improve in next weekend.”
Sylvai Guintoli (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: “It was a great experience for me. In these two days my goal was to understand the bike. I’ve done it: today, lap after lap, I improved my bests lap times, and the best one has arrived at the end of the race. I would like to thanks Pramac Racing Team for giving me this opportunity and, of course, my Superbike team which allowed me to be here. MotoGP is always a good test.”