Round 10 of the Moto GP world championship took place under the sweltering summer sun in Germany at the Sachsenring track on the 15th July. Many feared that tyres would be a deciding factor as the excessive heat might cause the tyres to break up over the 30 lap race.
On pole started the Australian chamipionship leading Ducati rider Casey Stoner out to prove that being on pole is not cursed as many fear and the only way he could do that was to win. Starting in a very good 2nd position on the grid was Dani Pedrosa on his Repsol Honda and alongside him closing out the front row was Marco Melandri on his Gresini Honda. Randy de Puniet started in 4th place on his Kawasaki, lining up next to him was the American John Hopkins on his Rizla Suzuki and aside him the ever-threatening Valentino Rossi on his Fiat Yamaha. Following these top 6 riders from qualifying was, in order, Loris Capirossi, Alex Barros, Sylvain Guintoli, Shinya Nakano closing out the top 10 and Chris Vermeulen started in 11th. Nicky Hayden started way down in 14th place, his team having already apologised to the Texas Tornado for not providing him with a decent bike for the weekend as he had struggled with various problems since Friday.
Dani Pedrosa got off to a good start and led into turn one, Casey Stoner in 2nd place and bringing up 3rd was Marco Melandri, coming out in 4th after the 1st corner was John Hopkins. On lap 2 Marco Melandri got passed Stoner who didn’t seem to put up too much of a fight. Casey Stoner re-passed Melandri at the end of lap 2 and then got passed Dani Pedrosa as well, but only for a few metres as Pedrosa came straight back at him to re-take the lead of the German Moto GP. With 3 laps gone Carlos Checa went down but was able to eventually get his bike back up and into the pits. There his team changed his gear lever which had broken and he went back out onto the track with his race obviously over.
Valentino Rossi found himself stuck behind the green Kawasaki of Randy de Puniet and not being able to find a way past the Frenchman. Chris Vermeulen’s race was effectively over as it was announced that he needed to serve a “driver-through” penalty for jumping the start of the race. Frenchman Sylvain Guintoli’s race came to an early end as he crashed out with 26 laps to go.
Then came one of the most important parts of the race. Valentino Rossi pushed too hard into a corner trying to pass on the inside of Randy de Puniet and he and his bike went down sliding across the asphalt and into the gravel trap. Rossi struggled with his bike to try and get back into the race but simply couldn’t; his handlebars were broken in the fall.
With a full 22 laps left in the race Dani Pedrosa was already starting to pull away from Casey Stoner and his Ducati with his lead being extended to slightly more than 0.8 seconds. On lap 10 Alex Barros crashed out on his Ducati, his race over immediately while he clutched his injured right hand tightly to his chest to avoid further injury to it. With 14 laps to go Nicky Hayden passes fellow American Colin Edwards while the gap from Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda to Aussie Stoner’s Ducati had grown to as much as over 2.5 seconds. With 12 laps left of the race not only was Stoner falling further and further back from away from the Spaniard Pedrosa, who was now lapping the German track 2 seconds faster than the Australian, but he was now comeing into the clutches of the chasing Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi. Into corner one of the Sachsenring gp track Stoner became the center of a Capirossi and Melandri sandwich as they both tried to pass him, Melandri taking the outside line and Capirossi the inside. Melandri ran wide though and had to abort the pass while Capirossi went through and up into 2nd place.
While Dani Pedrosa rode unchallenged at front heading to his first win in over a year, the rest of the pack were fighting for the final positions and points. With 9 laps left in the race Marco Melandri managed to pass the defending Stoner who was clearly just trying to hang on with his tyres having fallen away drastically by now. He now was in damage limitation mode with both Nicky Hayden and John Hopkins closing in on the current championship leader. On lap 23 the flying Texas Tornado was able to get passed both John Hopkins and Casey Stoner, Hayden’s compatriot Colin Edwards was also able to pass the other American John Hopkins. With 6 laps to go Nicky Hayden even managed to pass Marco Melandri for the final podium spot, having started way down in 14th place. With 4 laps left Casey Stoner passed Marco Melandri for 5th position.
So, the top 7 race positions:
1) Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda)
2) Loris Capirossi (Ducati)
3) Nikcy Hayden (Repsol Honda)
4) Colin Edwards
5) Casey Stoner
6) Marco Melandri
7) John Hopkins