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GP Week : Issue 55
>>Moto GPGERMANY team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. It was by less than a tenth of a second. It was as good as a mile. A capacity crowd of more than 98,000 packed the short (3.671km) and tortuous Sachsenring circuit; treacherous weather held off for the length of a race that went all the way to the flag. Laguna winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) was third, losing D touch in the closing stages; while fourth-placed Casey Stoner (Marlboro Ducati) had a stronger ride than for weeks, leading for ten of the 30 laps, and only succumbing to his strength-sapping ailment in the closing stages. “It was another great race for all 30 laps, with the four top championship guys,”said a jubilant Rossi. His young rival Lorenzo had also led, for three laps as the chequered flag drew near. Rossi was obliged to dig deep to regain the lead on the penultimate lap, and then to ride tactically and fast for the last one. “When Lorenzo went in front he was so fast. It was hard to get ahead again. “But I knew that it is very difficult to overtake at this track, with only two or three possibilities. I made sure I was very fast at those crucial points on the last lap, so he didn’t have a chance,”he said. “I am a little bit disappointed, but when you are second it’s normal,”said Lorenzo. “I did a good race, but made some mistakes. The first was not to attack earlier. The second was with the number of laps. When I thought there were four laps left, there were only two,”he said. “We must be happy, because we are near the top, and we are improving. We are waiting, and one day we might win.” Pedrosa’s third proved his return to strength, and possibly also that Honda’s new engine has something more to offer – though he insisted it is too early to be sure. “I started well and was consistent, but after six or seven laps I had a big slide at the last corner and almost crashed, and dropped down from the group. After a while the feeling was coming back and I could push harder. I could pass Stoner, but it was too late to catch the Yamahas. “The best thing is we are coming back,”he said. Stoner, still battling a mysterious debilitating condition, was happy that fatigue had not struck until near the end of the race. “It felt good to be fighting up front instead of watching from behind. “With seven or eight laps to go, I had a slide at the bottom of the hill and nearly went down. It meant I lost touch, and I gave up trying to win … and as soon as I slowed down my body packed up. I realised it was the adrenaline that had been keeping me going,”he said. Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda) was a strong but lonely fifth, equalling his best of the year, and helped when second Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso dropped back rapidly after the early laps. His tyre was shot and he eventually retired … the team blaming “electrical problems”. By then he had dropped behind a big midfield battle, won by Toni Elias (San Carlo Honda) from Marco Melandri (Hayate Kawasaki), Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati) and Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha). Rossi’s fourth win stretched his title lead, now on 176 points to Lorenzo’s 162. Stoner has 148, Pedrosa 108, with Edwards a distant fifth on 83. EFENDING champion Valentino Rossi took another step towards what may be his toughest championship yet in Germany this weekend, with another narrow but assured defeat of Fiat Yamaha