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GP Week : Issue 16
T HE championship had become a two-horse race over the preceding rounds – Rossi versus Pedrosa. Casey Stoner’s runaway win from pole position at Donington suggested that the story might be different from now on. It was only the Marlboro Ducati rider’s second win of the season, but accomplished in ominously convincing style. Casey was fastest throughout practice and qualifying, wet and dry, and was never headed in the race. The battle for second was absorbing. Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) held the position almost throughout, but had to fight off a sustained attack from Pedrosa from one third until after half distance. The pair changed places several times, with Pedrosa faster in the tight final section of the track and into the first corner, and Rossi making it up through the rhythmical sweeps. Stoner spoke of a difficult race, held in dry but very windy conditions: “One lap the wind would help you round the corner, next lap it was the other way.” But it was only conditions rather than other riders he had to fight against. It was different for Rossi, who had to elbow fast starter Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Honda) out of the way to secure his position on lap one. Like everybody, after only one dry practice day, he was short of set-up time, and still making changes after morning warm-up. “We made the bike faster for the race … but not fast enough. I wanted to follow Casey, but it was impossible. “Then I saw Dani was coming, and because he started on the third row I thought he must be very fast. I was better on some parts than him, and I could always get back in front, and at the end the bike had a good feeling, and I could keep pushing.” Pedrosa was in pain after a second high- side crash on Friday – the first was in testing after the last round, and said that in the 36