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Pedrosa wins in Catalunya

8 June 2008

Dani Pedrosa has taken his second MotoGP victory of the 2008 season - and maintained his perfect home Spanish record - by slaughtering his rivals during Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix.

A classic Pedrosa victory saw the Repsol Honda rider snatch the lead at turn one, then set off like rocket to build a two second lead over pole sitter Casey Stoner by lap 2 of 25.

Whilst his rivals squabbled, Pedrosa simply disappeared into the distance. The 2007 MotoGP World Championship runner-up held a 6.3secs advantage by lap 9, when a slow starting Valentino Rossi - ninth on the grid and only eighth at the end of lap one - finally reached the runner-up spot, but even the Italian could do nothing about Pedrosa.

Instead, Rossi spent the remainder of the race battling furiously with fellow Bridgestone rider Stoner, whose Ducati slipstreamed back past the Fiat Yamaha star with nine laps to go.

The young Australian was still fighting off the #46 on the penultimate lap, when Rossi dived inside to retake second on the brakes, then pushed his M1 to the limit - his inside foot waving on the brakes - as he attempted to find some breathing room for the final lap.

It worked and Rossi punched his fist with delight as he took second place by half a second. But by then Pedrosa was already celebrating his sixth premier-class victory.

Dani's advantage reached a peak of 8secs - the length of the entire back straight - before relaxing his pace to win by 2.806 secs at the chequered flag. An unusually emotional Pedrosa then returned to parc ferme to the sound of 'Dani, Dani' from the huge grandstand opposite.

Pedrosa has thus cut Rossi's world championship lead from 12 to 7 points heading into round eight at Donington Park on June 22, with Stoner now 50 points from the Repsol rider - but just two from Jorge Lorenzo, who missed Sunday's race after a hard knock to the head in Friday practice.

Lorenzo's fellow rookie Andrea Dovizioso propelled himself from seventh to second at turn one, and was still battling Rossi and Stoner for a debut MotoGP podium by the halfway stage. The JiR Team Scot rider couldn't keep pace with the title contenders in the closing stages but still equalled his best yet MotoGP finish of fourth by a comfortable five seconds over Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards.

Like Edwards, team-mate James Toseland finished where he started in sixth, but the Englishman's first ever race at the Circuit de Catalunya was more eventful than it might appear. The #52 seemed to lose his rhythm after Rossi made a tight pass for sixth at turn one on the second lap, and eventually slipped back to eleventh, before climbing back up the order to finish a fraction in front of Rizla Suzuki's Chris Vermeulen.

Vermeulen's team-mate Loris Capirossi and San Carlo Honda Gresini rookie Alex de Angelis looked to have tangled as they retired just before the half way stage, whilst Randy de Puniet dropped out of sixth for LCR Honda a lap later.

Toni Elias was the fourth non-finisher, the Spaniard failed to spot that he had been served with a jump start penalty and was subsequently black flagged.

Front row qualifier Nicky Hayden was once again unable to replicate Pedrosa's form on the factory RC212V and faded back to eighth position, with Shinya Nakano and a sore John Hopkins completing the top ten.

Retirements ahead helped Ducati's Marco Melandri - who made a great start - and Kawasaki's Anthony West secure eleventh and twelfth, but only Alice's Sylvain Guintoli finished behind the troubled factory duo.


Race results:

1. Pedrosa
2. Rossi
3. Stoner
4. Dovizioso
5. Edwards
6. Toseland
7. Vermeulen
8. Hayden
9. Nakano
10. Hopkins
11. Melandri
12. West
13. Guintoli


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