Old Man Rossi puts on a show


Rossi ahead of Lorenzo and Stoner

Valentino Rossi may be aging in Moto GP terms — hard to believe the guy is 30 now — but he’s just as much fun to watch and listen to as ever, and he certainly isn’t getting any slower with age.

In the series’ German appearance at the Sachsenring in the former East Germany, Rossi and his Yamaha M1 grabbed an early lead, but was caught and passed by first Ducati’s Casey Stoner and then FIAT Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The Maestro finally pulled off a breathtaking pass on Lorenzo on the second-last lap for a win by less than a tenth of a second.

Rossi said, "Halfway through the race I was able to overtake Casey, but then I saw that Jorge passed him straight away and I thought ‘oh no, another time!’ It’s always more difficult to fight with Jorge. I tried to push a lot, but he was able to overtake. I made my attack and knew that here it is very difficult to overtake, so I tried to stay in front. On the last lap I was fastest in the crucial points."

A not-so-excited Lorenzo commented, "Well, as in Montmelo, we lost the battle, but I think is not a problem. We must be happy, because we are always on the top and improving … maybe someday we can win."

With four riders, the three mentioned above plus Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, in the thick of things until the last couple of laps when the Yamaha boys broke away, it was perhaps the best Moto GP race of the season.

Fans of "nice guy racers" were pleased to see Nicky Hayden qualify fourth on the second factory Ducati, his best result so far this season after numerous and extensive changes to the bike. However, he got pushed wide on the first corner after the start and simply couldn’t get back in, re-entering about 12th and finally finishing eighth.

He wasn’t happy with the result, but was pleased with the bike and the way he and it are finally gelling. Podiums aren’t out of the question yet for The Kentucky Kid on the bike that so far only Casey Stoner seems able to ride.

The result gives Rossi a decent, but hardly insurmountable, lead in the Moto GP standings as the series takes its summer break, not reconvening until August 16 at Brno in the Czech Republic.

Top 10 after 9 of 17 races:

1. Valentino Rossi, Italy, FIAT Yamaha, 176 points; 2. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, FIAT Yamaha, 162; 3. Casey Stoner, Australia, Marlboro Ducati, 148; 4. Dani Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 108; 5. Colin Edwards, USA, Tech 3 Monster Yamaha, 83; 6. Marco Melandri, Italy, Hayate/Kawasaki, 70; 7. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda, 69; 8. Chris Vermeulen, Australia, Rizla Suzuki, 64; 9. Loris Capirossi, Italy, Rizla Suzuki, 61; 10. Randy de Puniet, France, Gresini San Carlo Honda, 58.


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