Sunday, August 31, 2008

MotoGP Misano: Rossi Wins It, Stoner Bins It

Valentino Rossi equalled Giacomo Agostini's record of 68 wins in the top Grand Prix class as he led his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo home in the San Marino round of the MotoGP championship at Misano. Casey Stoner kept up his recent run of form by crashing out of the race while leading.

As he had done for the last few races, Casey Stoner had taken pole position easily on his Marlboro Ducati. The reigning world champion was in pain from an old injury to his left wrist, but this had no apparent effect except for a few winces in the pit garage. FIAT Yamaha team mates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo took the next two spots on the front row, proving that for the first time since Assen, there was nothing to choose between the Bridgestone and Michelin tyres. This immediately caused everybody to denounce the proposed one tyre rule, despite the fact that Michelin tyres were a joke in the previous three rounds.

When the red lights went out, Casey Stoner left the grid like a missile. Dani Pedrosa had his usual good start to snatch second place. Valentino Rossi was desperate to get at Stoner, but was bottled up behind the tiny Spaniard, and launched himself well out of the seat as he tried to exit a corner faster than the Repsol Honda. All the time, Stoner was ominously extending his lead.

Randy de Puniet had qualified brilliantly on the second row, but to the amazement of absolutely nobody, he was the first man to have a spectacular crash. As the field rounded the last corner, de Puniet's LCR Honda slammed him into the ground. He was able to stumble away, having had plenty of practise in the previous 30-odd crashes he has had this year. In two years, he still hasn't completed a single race lap at Misano, but at least he didn't take anybody with him this time...

Read the rest of my Misano MotoGP race report at MotorbikeSport.

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