With five different makes of bike in the top six positions, you’d have to say that the Moto GP season continues to impress with its competitiveness.
While Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took a large margin of victory, 7.8 seconds over Honda runner-up Dani Pedrosa and Ducati’s Casey Stoner in third, earlier on the three had an excellent battle, with Rossi clawing his way past first the Ducati and then Pedrosa’s Honda. It was only in the final 10 laps that Rossi edged away from his Spanish rival.
Rossi had been very unhappy with his bike during qualifying, but team manager Jeremy Burgess accomplished his usual magic overnight, Rossi saying after the race, "…lap by lap I was able to improve my pace, to stay very constant and especially my bike today work very well, the setting is OK. I’m so fast with the sliding tire."
In spite of the disappointment of not winning in front of his home crowd, Pedrosa’s form was particularly impressive since he’s still not 100% after wrist and knee surgeries just before the season started.
Also impressive was Marco Melandri, a remarkable fifth on the Hayate ( the bike that used to be a Kawasaki).
Considering that the factory has officially washed its hands of the entire Moto GP scene and only reluctantly provided a bike under threat of legal action from the series organizers, the top 10 results that Melandri and the small team are achieving are absolutely remarkable.
Loris Capirossi again got the best Suzuki result, the veteran Italian coming sixth behind countryman Melandri despite a last-minute panic on the grid when the team had to change his rear tire, which slowed him for the first few laps. Once he got going, he caught up to Melandri and Colin Edwards on one of the Tech 3 Yamahas, those three having a great race, with the outcome in doubt right to the end.
Pole-sitter Jorge Lorenzo, on the other Fiat Yamaha, had a difficult day. Higher track temperatures changed the traction he could find, and he had a relatively lonely run in fourth, finally crashing four laps from the end to let Stoner onto the podium. Both riders were having considerable trouble with front-end traction, and Stoner commented that he’d just decided to slow down and let Lorenzo go when the Mallorcan fell.
Once again, Stoner showed that apparently he’s the only guy on earth who can ride the Ducati. The Pramac team of Mika Kallio and Nicolo Canepa were nowhere (to be fair, Kallio suffered a brake problem), while Nicky Hayden, still very sore from his two big crashes in the previous two races, had a painful run to a lowly 15th for the final point of the race.
Top 10 results from Jerez are: 1. Valentino Rossi, Italy, Fiat Yamaha; 2. Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda; 3. Casey Stoner, Australia, Marlboro Ducati; 4. Randy de Puniet, France, LCR Honda; 5. Marco Melandri, Italy, Hayate/Kawasaki; 6. Loris Capirossi, Italy, Rizla Suzuki; 7. Colin Edwards, U.S.A., Tech 3/Monster Yamaha; 8. Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda; 9. Tony Elias, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda; 10. Chris Vermeulen, Australia, Rizla Suzuki.
The top five in the series after Jerez are Rossi, Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa tied, and then Pedrosa’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso. The next race is May 17 at the Le Mans track in France.