MotoGP: Donington Park Does Not Go Gently into the Night – Brings Surprise Finishes & Crashes

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MotoGP was in Donington Park this weekend for the British GP, and what will be the MotoGP Championship’s last stop at the Midlands track for the foreseeable future. Donington proved that not only would this be a finale GP, but also a memorable one. Weather forecasts for the day proved to be accurate with drizzles occurring during racing. Teams gambled on tires, and early ride reports indicated that the British track was very slippery when wet (shocking, we know). The end result was crashes, cold tires, and a podium line-up we’re guessing no one expected. Bangers and mash anyone?

It’s almost easier to start this article with who didn’t win. Starting with the usual suspects, both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both found their way to gravel traps, making it a tough weekend for Fiat-Yamaha. With eleven laps remaining, Rossi found the Fogarty Esses to be too slippery for his tire selection. Despite his crash, Rossi was able to get his bike moving again, and was still able to finish the day with a 5th place, actually extending is lead over Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner in the overall standings.

Jorge Lorenzo was not as fortunate, as the young Spaniard crashed early into the race, and could not get his bike going again. Lorenzo would join Tony Elias being the races resident DNF’s for the day. But, they were also the first riders to get back into the paddock where it was warm and dry. With a race like today’s, they might be the real winners.

Casey Stoner and teammate Nicky Hayden easily faired the worse out of the riders who managed to stay upright on the track’s surface. With Ducati making the gamble on weather conditions, the two riders left the paddock on full wets tires, which proved to be next to useless without the heavy rain they required to work properly. The dynamic duo were lapped by the race leaders two laps before the halfway point of the race, their gamble definitively failing to pay off.

So who did win the day? If you said Dani Pedrosa, you’d be wrong…but close. Dani finished a middle of the pack, 9th place. However, it was his teammate Andrea Dovizioso who finished the day on the top step, and relatively uncontested after Rossi’s crash. After an ecstatic podium ceremony, the MotoGP sophomore said:

“This race was very difficult. With these conditions the temperature of the tires was too low, and the light rainfall for the whole race meant that it was probably the worst scenario for riding on this tire. We couldn’t change the bikes either, so it was really difficult to manage.”

Dovi was followed by Colin Edwards who battled Randy DePuniet all the way to the finish. Edwards proved to be the better man, taking the lead from DePuniet on the last hairpin turn of the race. They finished a second and a half behind Dovi. “I wouldn’t wish that kind of race on anybody. Have I raced in tougher conditions? Maybe… only when there has been oil on the track or something like that,” said Edwards after his first podium of the 2009 season.

Race Results from MotoGP at Donington Park, UK:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 48’26.267
2 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 48’27.627 1.360
3 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 48’27.867 1.600
4 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 48’35.225 8.958
5 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 48’47.889 21.622
6 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 48’48.732 22.465
7 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 49’01.551 35.284
8 88 Niccolo CANEPA DUCATI 49’05.036 38.769
9 3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 49’08.379 42.112
10 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 49’12.112 45.845
11 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 49’19.457 53.190
12 41 Gabor TALMACSI HONDA 49’38.582 1’12.315
13 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 49’46.665 1’20.398
14 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 49’25.241 1 lap
15 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 49’43.835 1 lap
Not Classified
99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 12’33.642 22 laps
24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 11’02.391 23 laps