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GP Week : Issue 138
outdistance a fierce orange-on- orange battle between uneasy Repsol team-mates Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa, who are disputing third in the championship. Then the rain triggered a heart-stopping moment at the fast first corner, and Dovi was on him again. The factory rider was ahead as they started the final lap, but Simoncelli was not for surrender. “I was quite sure of my second, then it started to rain and Dovizioso arrived on me. On the last lap I thought I stayed ahead all the race, I can’t lose now.” He barged through again at MG hairpin, and held it to the end. Dovizioso was not too downcast. “I did not have enough corner speed in the last lap – but my target was to arrive in front of Dani and come back to the podium, so I am happy. We did a good job, this track is always difficult for me.” Pedrosa had fought back after Dovi passed him, but by the end had settled for a safe fourth. There was mayhem behind, after Rossi crashed out on lap 14, a split second after passing team-mate Nicky Hayden and then Bautista for fifth. The Suzuki had got clear of the Ducati when the rain came and he was the first to fall off. Hayden pitted for a bike change, along with Capirossi; in the process he handed a likely fifth to Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha), after a solid lone ride. De Puniet (Pramac Ducati) was sixth, sole survivor of a fierce four-bike battle that lasted most of the race. Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha) and Hiro Aoyama (San Carlo Honda) also hit the wet and crashed together, and also Karel Abraham (AB Cardion Ducati), who had played a prominent role. So Hayden claimed a distant seventh, in and out of the pits before the slow-coaches came by, with Toni Elias (LCR Honda) and Capirossi (Pramac Ducati) one lap down. Abraham secured tenth and six points after remounting, finishing two laps adrift. Stoner’s lead on 325 points is impregnable; Lorenzo’s 260 not quite safe in second. Third is Dovi, stretching to four points on 212 to Pedrosa’s 208. Non-starter Spies (156) is under threat for fifth from Simoncelli if not Rossi (both 139). MOTOGP AUSTRAliA >> Dovizioso was not too downcast. “I did not have enough corner speed in the last lap – but my target was to arrive in front of Dani and come back to the podium, so I am happy. We did a good job, this track is always difficult for me.” 41