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GP Week : Issue 52
>>Moto GPASSEN my track!” this year. Not for the first time that day, the man in the way was Sete Gibernau. Stoner was happy to name the guilty men (see separate news story), and blast away also at Race Direction, which had given him a fine for a similar offence (against Pedrosa) back in 2006. No fines for anyone today, he fulminated. He is a frequent victim, because most of these incidents take place late in qualifying, when lesser riders cruise round waiting for a fast guy so they can cadge a tow. Trouble was, he explained, when these guys saw his Ducati looming they would start to speed up so as to be MICHAEL SCott MotoGP Editor able to slot in directly as he came by. That meant they were almost but not quite up to racing speed when he caught them up, and of necessity on the racing line. Often as not in his way. Like I said, the ire was understandable, on the count of the fast lap alone. But there is the bigger issue of safety. And final qualifying at Assen saw a number of other incidents in similar vein, with Capirossi a frequent offender. 250: Advantage Aoyama as Bautista spoils his day THIS race also came to an unexpected conclusion, giving Scot Honda’s Hiro Aoyama his second win of the year and extending his points. The Japanese rider won it fair and square, but was lucky to finish. As they came to the end of the second-last lap, his only remaining companion, Alvaro Bautista (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia) ran right into the back of him at the chicane, so hard that his front tyre came off the rim. With the greatest good luck, Aoyama not only stayed wheels down but was able to continue, seat flapping and one exhaust almost touching the ground, to win by better than four seconds. Earlier there had been four disputing the lead, held for the first half of the race and more by defending champion Marco Simoncelli (Metis Gilera). When he slowed towards the end with sliding tyres, Hector Barbera (Pepe World Aprilia) also lost touch with the front, although he had pulled out six seconds on Simoncelli by the finish. Alex Debon (Aeropuerto Castello Aprilia) and 125 champion Mike di Meglio (Mapfre Aspar Aprilia) had been with the front men, but first Debon dropped back and then, soon after half distance, di Meglio as well. The latter was slowing badly, but Debon was able to fight with the next group. Stoner was right about another thing too: there’s no point in trying to get the other riders wound up about it; they’re all busy covering their own backsides in case they need to get away with it in the future. There would, he gloomily prophesied, be a serious incident, and then Race Direction might be forced to take action. I and others tried at the front-row Press conference to get Rossi, Pedrosa and Lorenzo to match the Australian’s ire: to provoke a few more venomous quotes and a bit of finger-wagging. It was irritating, they agreed, and sometimes risky. But it was a normal part of racing, so … what can you do? Race Direction took a similar view, especially since Assen (narrow and fast) is a particularly one-line circuit. Although the Director himself, Paul Butler, did allow that it might be time to get the riders together for a few little reminders. None of this helped Stoner. Maybe he should look on the bright side: he was right to be angry, but his best results have often come when he’s angry. Angry can also be fast, to riders of a certain temperament. Which is another good reason for the slow-coaches to get the hell out of his way. Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 MotoGP| Round 7 DutCH tt # Rider 46 99 27 5 7 52 14 69 65 15 Valentino Rossi Jorge Lorenzo Casey Stoner Colin Edwards Chris Vermuelen James Toseland Randy de Puniet Nicky Hayden Loris Capirossi Alex de Angelis 33 Marco Melandri 24 59 88 72 41 Toni Elias Sete Gibernau Niccolo Canepa Yuki Takahashi Gabor Talmacsi DNF 36 Mika Kallio DNF 4 DNF 3 Andrea Dovizioso Dani Pedrosa Team Fiat Yamaha Team Fiat Yamaha Team Ducati Marlboro Team Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 LCR Honda MotoGP Ducati Marlboro Team Rizla Suzuki MotoGP San Carlo Honda Gresini Hayate Racing Team San Carlo Honda Gresini Grupo Francisco Hernando Pramac Racing Scot Racing Team MotoGP Scot Racing Team MotoGP Pramac Racing Ducati Repsol Honda Team Repsol Honda Team Time 42:14.611s +5.368s +23.113s +29.114s +33.605s +39.347s +39.543s +39.823s +40.673s +46.010 +57.777s +59.774s +1:05.366s +1:09.897s +1:09.930s +1:25.099s +1 Lap +16 Laps +22 Laps Points – MotoGP: Rossi 131, Lorenzo 126, Stoner 122, Dovizioso 69, Pedrosa 67, Edwards 67, Capirossi 56, Melandri 55, Vermeulen 53, de Puniet 51. 250cc: Hiroshi Aoyama 121, Alvaro Bautista 108, Hector Barbera 95, Marco Simoncelli 77, Mattia Pasini 64, Thomas Luthi 52, Raffaele de Rosa 51. 125cc: Julian Simon 104, Bradley Smith 98.5, Andrea Iannone 84.5, Sergio Gadea 84, Nicolas Terol 68.5, Marc Marquez 55, Jonas Folger 54. 1 opinion