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GP Week : Issue 14
better-handling Yamaha suffered less on the straight than the Ducati in the corners, and Rossi took a valuable second by a close but clear half-second. He was glowing. It had been “quite a good race … a long time since we had a good fight for the top positions. I had a lot of fun today.” He too had changed settings overnight, and was tantalised by losing the chance of fighting with Pedrosa. “It’s impossible to say if I could have gone with him. He was very strong today. As it was, we were penalised by our grid position.” Consolation was having lost only five points, in the increasingly tense championship battle. Dovizioso and Edwards were spaced out behind; but there was another big battle for sixth, win by a brawling Toseland, in his first time at the track. Old Superbike rival Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) was almost alongside, the Hondas of Hayden and Shinya Nakano. Factory man Hayden was bemoaning “something in our setup that punishes the tyres” after yet another disappointing result. With Lorenzo missing, there were only 13 finishers, with injured Hopkins (Kawasaki) a lonely tenth, then Melandri, West and Guintoli (Ducati, Kawasaki, Ducati) bringing up the rear. Other absentees were Toni Elias (Ducati), black-flagged after missing a jump-start penalty, and crashers de Puniet, who did it by himself; plus de Angelis (Honda) and Capirossi (Suzuki). De Angelis was guilty of over-enthusiasm; Capirossi suffered hand injuries that could prove costly. The championship is gaining tension but losing candidates race by race. Rossi still leads despite his run of wins having been terminated. But Pedrosa is only seven away, and both are former runaway Donington winners. There is a yawning gulf of almost 50 points to Lorenzo and Stoner. M oto GP SPAIN >> Pedrosa led into the first corner, but eventual runner-up Rossi was swamped – his pink-kneed leathers can be seen well back, top left ... 41