Australian MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner romped to his second win in a week at the Dutch Grand Prix on Saturday while Spain’s Dani Pedrosa seized the overall lead from Valentino Rossi.
Ducati’s Stoner, runaway winner at Donington Park in Britain last Sunday, was again in a race of his own at the Assen circuit as he powered from pole position to his third victory of the season.
Pedrosa was second on a Honda, 11,310 seconds behind, to leapfrog Rossi in the overall standings after the Italian fell on the opening lap.
After nine of the 18 races, Pedrosa has 171 points, Rossi 167 and Stoner 142.
”I really didn’t want to make any mistakes today. I didn’t want to have the weather in the mix, maybe throwing a few spits and spots here and there,” the Australian told a news conference.
”But it managed to stay clear for the race so I’m pretty happy about that.
”As for Valentino crashing, it’s very unfortunate. I don’t want to catch up in points that way but I’ve had my run of bad luck as well from the beginning of the season. So it’s time that we started to have some decent results.”
Rossi, winner at Assen last year, fell and took out Frenchman Randy de Puniet’s Honda on the first lap as the machine slid away from underneath him.
The Italian rejoined in 14th place in a damage-limiting chase for points and finished 11th while Stoner proceeded to pulverise the race lap record before taking the chequered flag in complete isolation.
Pedrosa had led into the first corner but Stoner was back out in front by the end of the first lap and never looked back.
”I made a mistake … I have to say sorry to De Puniet,” Rossi told Eurosport television.
”We have some positive things because today the bike was a lot better than yesterday so maybe it is possible to try to fight for the victory [at the next race in Germany],” he continued.
American Colin Edwards, on a Yamaha, snatched third place from compatriot Nicky Hayden at the last corner of the last lap when the Honda ran out of fuel and coasted to the line.
”I had a good race going but it didn’t run right from the start,” said Hayden. ”We were going to change a setting on the grid, possibly change bikes.
”The team deserved a podium and I think I deserved one today, but that’s racing.”
Rossi was making his 201st successive grand prix start in all classes, equalling a record set by compatriot Max Biaggi between 1992 and 2005.
Spain’s Alvaro Bautista won the 250cc race from pole position on his Aprilia while Hungary’s world champion Gabor Talmacsi took the 125cc victory in a five lap sprint after the original race was stopped due to rain.
Finland’s Mika Kallio, on a KTM, kept his overall 250cc lead by a single point from Italy’s Marco Simoncelli while France’s Mike di Meglio leads the 125cc standings by 16 points from Italian Simone Corsi. – Reuters