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Rossi defeats Lorenzo in Germany
19 July 2009
Valentino Rossi beat team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo by just 0.099sec to win Sunday's German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring, equaling Giacomo Agostini's all-time record of 159 podium finishes in the process.
After wet weather in two of the four track sessions prior to the race, the main event took place in dry but windy conditions, and with Rossi holding pole into an early lead at turn one.
By the end of the first lap the top four riders in the world championship - each of whom have at least one win to their credit this season - were occupying the top four places, with Rossi being followed by Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Lorenzo.
Stoner was the early man on the move, passing Pedrosa for second on lap 5 of 30 and then seizing the lead from Rossi under braking at the bottom of the hill on lap 7. But the Ducati star couldn't shake off his rivals and was re-passed by Rossi on lap 17, then lost second to Lorenzo a few turns later.
The Fiat Yamahas then began to edge out a few vital tenths with Lorenzo, riding with shoulder and foot injuries from his Laguna Seca qualifying accident, locked on Rossi's rear wheel until five laps to go, when he dived ahead at turn one.
Rossi, using a softer rear tyre than Lorenzo, followed the 22-year-old Spaniard until the start of the penultimate lap, when he outbraked the #99 at the same turn.
The last lap began with Lorenzo certain to attempt a victory pass, but Rossi went defensive into turn one then withstood everything Lorenzo had to offer to win his fourth race of the season, and the 101st of his grand prix career, by a whisker.
Joining the M1 riders on the podium was Pedrosa, who had overtaken Stoner at turn one with 5 laps to go but was just out of reach of the victory fight and - with Stoner running wide after apparent tyre problems - settled for a safe third, seven seconds ahead of the Australian.
In the world championship, Rossi is now 14 points ahead of Lorenzo with Stoner 28 points - over one race distance - from the top.
Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso featured in the lead group in the early stages, but dropped back with front tyre problems, which eventually forced his retirement - Dovizioso's third DNF in a row.
Alex de Angelis converted his second row start into a season best fifth for San Carlo Honda Gresini, eleven seconds from Stoner and ten in front of team-mate Toni Elias, who stole sixth from Hayate's Marco Melandri after a close battle.
Fourth on the grid Nicky Hayden ran wide at turn one, costing him any chance of a strong result. He brought his factory Ducati home within half a second of Melandri while Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders Colin Edwards and James Toseland were a closely matched ninth and tenth.
A disappointing weekend fir Rizla Suzuki ended with Loris Capirossi eleventh and Chris Vermeulen 13th, despite the tight Sachsenring looking like a favourable track for the comparatively underpowered GSV-R.
Having survived a spectacular take-out by Hayden in qualifying, Niccolo Canepa was rewarded with a twelfth place finish - as the top rookie - with Pramac Ducati team-mate Mika Kallio dropping back to 14th.
15th and last was fellow rookie Gabor Talmacsi, who claimed his first MotoGP point and the first premier-class point by a Hungarian since Arpad Juhos finished ninth at the East German GP in 1972
Joining Dovizioso on the DNF list was Randy de Puniet, who rose from sixth to third on the opening lap, only to suffer a huge highside from his LCR Honda at the top of the hill later in the lap. The incident marked de Puniet's first race crash of the season.
The MotoGP grid has been reduced to 17 permanent riders following the departure of the Grupo Francisco Hernando team, which had been running Sete Gibernau.
Round ten of the 2009 world championship, the British Grand Prix at Donington Park, takes place next weekend, after which the summer break begins.German Grand Prix:
5. de Angelis