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GP Week : Issue 11
and a lesson to Edwards. “I’m a bit pissed off,” the American said. “I was quick all weekend, got a good start, and next thing Stoner and Pedrosa are in front. I thought ‘okay, let’s make quick work of them,’ but it was not so quick. With Stoner’s power I couldn’t get into position, and both were riding real well. Then Valentino comes by like a cowboy firing all his guns, I was left still trying to pass the same two guys.” Pedrosa was a disgruntled fourth, blaming front-end problems for his inability to attack. “When I passed Stoner, I almost crashed,” he said. Stoner had felt safe in third when it all went wrong … his Ducati first losing bottom end power and then all but stopping. He nursed it to the pits, pushing the last few hundred yards, to switch to his spare on wet tyres, but only so he could preserve his perfect Ducati finishing record. He was 16th, two laps down and out of the points. “With a two-stroke, you have an idea of what goes wrong, but I have no idea what the problem was. They’re still investigating,” he said. Chris Vermeulen managed to hang on to fifth from a charging Andrea Dovizioso, second Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi did the same to fast- starting Nicky Hayden, who had braking and handling problems all weekend. Randy de Puniet and Shinya Nakano completed the top 10. James Toseland crashed out unhurt after a collision with Dovizioso; John Hopkins was the only other retirement, pulling out after pushing through to eighth when his chain snapped. Rossi took the fastest lap, a record at the revised circuit, and heads the points table from Lorenzo and Pedrosa by 97 to 94. Stoner is 41 points adrift in fourth. M oto GP FRANCE >> 31