Digital Edition Subscribers: Read Roadracing World Magazine Now >
Roadracing World.com - An Online Service of Roadracing World Magazine
SHARE:
Jun 25, 2005

Updated Post: Rossi Beats Melandri, Edwards To Win Dutch Grand Prix At Assen

Valentino Rossi (46) wheelies his Yamaha YZR-M1 at Assen. Photo courtesy of Gauloises Yamaha.
MotoGP Race Results From Assen:

1. Valentino ROSSI, Yamaha, 19 laps, 38:41.808
2. Marco MELANDRI, Honda, -1.583 seconds
3. Colin EDWARDS, Yamaha, -7.643 seconds
4. Nicky HAYDEN, Honda, -10.128 seconds
5. Sete GIBERNAU, Honda, -14.795 seconds
6. Max BIAGGI, Honda, -21.575 seconds
7. Alex BARROS, Honda, -22.725 seconds
8. Shinya NAKANO, Kawasaki, -26.477 seconds
9. Carlos CHECA, Ducati, -30.221 seconds
10. Loris CAPIROSSI, Ducati, -30.465 seconds
11. Troy BAYLISS, Honda, -43.802 seconds
12. Ruben XAUS, Yamaha, -49.864 seconds
13. John HOPKINS, Suzuki, -50.830 seconds
14. Makoto TAMADA, Honda, -53.370 seconds
15. David CHECA, Yamaha, -54.965 seconds
16. Kenny ROBERTS, Suzuki, -66.939 seconds
17. Shane BYRNE, Proton KR, -66.999 seconds
18. Roberto ROLFO, Ducati, -89.048 seconds
19. James ELLISON, Blata, -103.768 seconds
20. Franco BATTAINI, Blata, -1 lap
21. Alex HOFMANN, Kawasaki, -6 laps, DNF, mechanical



MotoGP World Championship Point Standings (after 7 of 17 races):

1. ROSSI, 170 points
2. MELANDRI, 107 points
3. BIAGGI, 87 points
4. GIBERNAU, 84 points
5. BARROS, 74 points
6. EDWARDS, 73 points
7. HAYDEN, 60 points
8. CAPIROSSI, 49 points
9. NAKANO, 48 points
10. Carlos CHECA, 40 points
11. BAYLISS, 37 points
12. XAUS, 28 points
13. Olivier JACQUE, 25 points
14. HOPKINS, 19 points
15. TAMADA, 18 points
16. ELIAS, 15 points
17. Jurgen vd GOORBERGH, 12 points
18. TIE, ROBERTS/HOFMANN, 9 points
20. ROLFO, 7 points
21. TIE, David CHECA/ELLISON, 4 points
23. Tohru UKAWA, 1 point



More, from a press release issued by Kawasaki Racing Team:

NAKANO EIGHTH IN HARD FOUGHT ASSEN RACE

Shinya Nakano delivered another classy top ten finish for Kawasaki, with a gritty ride into eighth place in today's Dutch TT at Assen.

It was a classy effort by the stylish Japanese rider, who deserved more after an exhausting effort on the power-hungry Circuit van Drenthe.

However, the TT proved to be a forgettable race for Nakano's teammate, Alex Hofmann, who was forced to retire his Ninja ZX-RR with mechanical problems on lap fourteen.

Nakano started the race superbly from fourth on the grid, and was in engaged in a breathtaking contest for the top positions in the opening laps with Honda riders Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden and Sete Gibernau.

However, despite carrying impressive corner speed, Nakano found he could not match the top end performance of the leading group as eventual race winner Valentino Rossi came past on lap three.

By mid-race Nakano was engaged in a stirring contest for eighth place with Ducati rival Loris Capirossi, as they battled to be the first rider home on Bridgestone tyres.

Nakano set his fastest lap of the race on lap 15 of 19, at the height of his battle with Capirossi, and he eventually pulled a four second gap over Bridgestone rivals Carlos Checa and Capirossi at the finish.

Meanwhile, Hofmann started the race on his back-up race bike after his first choice Ninja ZX-RR suffered a technical problem on the warm-up lap.

The 25-year-old German surged into eighth on the opening lap, and was matching Nakano's pace while holding ninth position ahead of Max Biaggi, John Hopkins and Checa on lap six, when transmission problems slowed his progress.

Although Hofmann smoothed his riding style to counter problems while downshifting through the gears, he was eventually forced to retire from a certain top ten result.

Today's race was watched by a huge crowd of 90,700 spectators, and run in warm and dry, but overcast conditions.

Shinya Nakano: #56 - Eighth
"I'm frustrated because for a few laps I could race with the top guys and it was very enjoyable. But then it was difficult to improve my lap times, even though I could carry good corner speed. I was being passed on the straights, and for sure, we need to find some more top end power. I used a slightly softer rear tyre and it stayed consistent, but I want to be up in the top five racing the other guys. I lost a lot of time in the battle with Capirossi, but I'm happy to be the first Bridgestone rider over the line."

Alex Hofmann: #66 - DNF
"I've decided I need to be positive about this, despite my disappointment. I need to look forward to the next race in America, rather than dwelling on today's bad luck. After switching bikes before the start I was matching the pace of Shinya and the Ducatis for five laps, and the top eight was possible. From lap six the chain was jumping on the sprocket and it was difficult to downshift, and then the engine began misfiring. I was trying to be smooth, but it just got worse and I had to stop."

Ichiro Yoda: Technical Director
"Shinya was again the best Bridgestone rider, but two things are clear after this race. We have to speed up the pace of engine development, especially for the power circuits later in season, such as Brno. Also, we need to work closely with Bridgestone to improve the competitiveness of our bike and tyre package."

Harald Eckl: Team Manager
"A top eight finish is what I thought was possible today, and Shinya achieved that with another excellent performance, although he raced hard and probably deserved a better result. Shinya delivered a 110% effort. And Alex has every right to be very disappointed in missing what could have been a top ten position. He was racing strongly, catching Shinya and matching his times, when his bike stopped."



More, from a press release issued by Gauloises Yamaha:

ROSSI MAKES HISTORY AS GAULOISES YAMAHA CELEBRATE PODIUM DOUBLE

Valentino Rossi became the first Yamaha rider ever to win five consecutive premier-class races after another authoritarian performance in the 75th anniversary Gauloises Dutch TT, where he was joined on the podium by his Gauloises Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards. Rossi did not get the best of starts from pole position but worked his way up from fifth after the first lap to take the lead by the midway stage, taking over from Marco Melandri (Honda) on lap ten and gradually opening out a crucial advantage.

Edwards followed his team-mate through the opening few laps to make up some important positions from sixth on the grid, quickly settling into the excellent race pace he had found during practice and finally getting the opportunity to impose it on the front group. One lap after seeing Rossi take the lead, Edwards passed Sete Gibernau (Honda) for third place and did everything he could to catch Melandri for second, before deciding to settle for a podium finish.

As Melandri escaped from the American he also began to close the gap on his Italian compatriot at the front, but a stunning final lap of 2'00.991 from Rossi was the fastest of the race and sealed the win by 1.583 seconds.

VALENTINO ROSSI (1st; 38'41.808)
"Today was another hard battle, as it has been every race this season. At the start the grip was tricky because of the rain this morning and I lost some places and had to overtake Loris and Nakano to arrive behind the three Hondas. I knew I could go a bit faster and after I passed them all I made some good laps and it became easier to ride on the limit, as there was less fuel. Melandri was very strong today and he came back to fight until the end. I had to keep pushing at 100% and really concentrate, especially on the last lap, when I made no mistakes and the fastest lap of the race. It was incredible for everybody. My bike worked perfectly again, so thank you to Yamaha and my team for all the brilliant work they've done, and to Michelin because the tyres were really good. We have a great atmosphere in our team and this makes it very easy to relax and give 100% every time. It's a pleasure to try to win together. I can't believe that I am the first Yamaha rider to win five races in a row, when you look at the company I am in with Yamaha's former World Champions Agostini, Lawson, Roberts and Rainey, it's great."

COLIN EDWARDS (3rd; + 7.643)
"Of course it could still have been better, but it was a good race. We made a breakthrough with the bike set-up this week and it just felt really good, better than it's felt all season I think. I had a bad start, then I saw Valentino and realised his wasn't great either! The first corner I passed a couple and then on the back straight it was chaos with everyone trying to pass anywhere! I tried to follow Valentino through the traffic, then I got stuck behind Gibernau for a bit when he started to slow down. I got some time back when Marco made his big mistake and I saw red and really pushed hard to catch him! With four laps to go I was on the limit and lost the front really badly at turn two. When exactly the same thing happened on the next lap I decided it was safer to take it easy, get home on two wheels and make it onto the podium. I want to say a big thank you to my team and my Crew Chief Daniele Romagnoli, they've worked hard to find the right way forward and now I am going to Laguna in great shape."

DAVIDE BRIVIO
"It was a very good day and once again both riders are on the podium with Valentino taking victory. Every race is different and this time it was a great fight with Melandri and with Colin also in the fighting group. It was very exciting to watch such good racing. This also shows the big progress that Yamaha has made and in this sense our engineers and team crew are really working very well. I'm just very lucky to be a representative of such a fantastic team. It's also very encouraging to be going to Laguna Seca in this situation, when we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Yamaha."




More, from a press release issued by Dorna Communications:

Rossi celebrates historic date at Assen with another win

Valentino Rossi once again proved that he is the man for the big occasion as he took victory in the 75th anniversary of the Gauloises TT Assen in another exciting MotoGP race on Saturday. Rossi's sixth win from the opening seven rounds of the 2005 series was also his fifth in succession, the longest winning run by a Yamaha rider in the history of motorcycle racing's premier-class, and extended his lead to 63 points over Honda's Marco Melandri, who was second today. Two weeks ahead of their own 50th anniversary celebrations at Laguna Seca, Yamaha's joy was complete today as Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards also stepped up to the podium with third place.

"Today was another hard battle, as it has been all season," said Rossi. "Melandri was very strong today and he came back to fight until the end. I had to keep pushing at 100% and really concentrate, especially on the last lap, when I made no mistakes and the fastest lap of the race. It was incredible for everybody. I can't believe that I am the first Yamaha rider to win five races in a row, when you look at the company I am in with Yamaha's former World Champions Agostini, Lawson, Roberts and Rainey"¦ it's great!"

Sete Gibernau remains fourth in the championship behind Max Biaggi after losing out on fourth place in today's race to Nicky Hayden. Gibernau lapped behind Melandri as his young team-mate led in the early stages of the race but, having lost his Chief Mechanic Juan Martínez for the opening day of qualifying due to illness, he was unable to maintain the pace in the second half of the race and eventually dropped back to fifth.

Biaggi fought his way up to sixth place after a bad start that saw him down in eleventh after the first lap, winning a tight battle with former Dutch TT winner Alex Barros that went all the way to the final lap. Shinya Nakano made the most of a terrific start, when he briefly held third place after starting from fourth on the grid, to take another top ten finish in eighth on the constantly improving Kawasaki, although his team-mate Alex Hofmann was denied a similar result as he was forced to retire after six laps when battling for ninth.

The final top ten positions went to Ducati pair Carlos Checa and Loris Capirossi, who had an entertaining battle on the Italian machines, whilst Troy Bayliss called on the experience of his previous wins here in World Superbikes to hold off the challenge of Rubén Xaus, John Hopkins and Makoto Tamada. David Checa won the chase with former World Champion Kenny Roberts for the final point in just his third MotoGP appearance as a replacement for Toni Elías, who hopes to back in action for the eagerly awaited return of the USGP at Laguna Seca in two weeks' time.

Sebastián Porto clinched his first victory of the season in the 250cc race with a masterful ride that saw him take the lead form Jorge Lorenzo at the end of the penultimate lap before setting the quickest time of the race to hold off a late challenge from Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo had led the way throughout after starting from pole position and bravely hung on to third place despite riding with a titanium plate and seven screws in the collarbone he broke just thirteen days previously at Catalunya. With Casey Stoner struggling to sixth place and Andrea Dovizioso seventh, Pedrosa now leads the championship with an advantage of 37 and 41 points respectively over the Australian and the Italian.

Gabor Talmacsi shares the lead in the 125cc World Championship with Mattia Pasini after taking his second victory of the season in today's final race. The Hungarian escaped from a frenetic front group of up to nine riders when Marco Simoncelli and Thomas Lüthi collided on the last lap, with the Italian rider crashing and the Swiss youngster recovering to take tenth place. Talmacsi was joined on the podium by Héctor Faubel and Pasini, who recovered six places on the last six laps to cross the line in third and ensure a share of the series lead, with both riders on 100 points.




More, from a press release issued by Camel Honda:

ALEX AND TROY SEVENTH AND ELEVENTH IN ASSEN

The changeable weather conditions in Assen played a cruel joke on Alex Barros today, who chose a rear tyre less suited to the kind of track conditions experienced after the heavy rainfall which had been around until shortly before the MotoGP race. The Brazilian therefore had serious grip problems and was never able to ride at the kind of pace he
had found in practice. Troy Bayliss finished eleventh after a weekend in which he never had enough feeling with his Honda.

Sito Pons Camel Honda
"We certainly hoped for more today, especially with Alex after he was constantly amongst he quickest, even if not in absolute time, but in terms of pace at least, which is the most important thing for the race. After the start, when I saw it was hard work for him to get past riders in front of him, I understood that he had a problem or two. Troy took a
result more in line with what he showed in practice; he's still not completely comfortable with the bike and finds it hard to get results. We will continue to work hard and try and get the pair of them in the best possible shape as to show their real potential."

Alex Barros Camel Honda 7th
"Today's race was frankly terrible for me, because I was never able to ride as I would have liked and as I had done up to that point. Unfortunately the tyre I chose, and the one which went well yesterday, wasn't suited to the asphalt which was a lot colder after the overnight rain and the storms this morning. Instead, in the race I found myself
without grip on the rear tyre. I chose not to take the harder tyre that Rossi, Melandri and Edwards probably used, I think Hayden maybe too, because it didn't work for me in practice. This was an erroneous decision. I was hoping that with a few laps heating up it would have worked better, but instead I was never able to ride at the pace I did
on the first two days, not even when I managed to get past the first group of riders and had a clear track ahead of me."

Troy Bayliss Camel Honda 11th
"What can I say about this race, it was average considering recent races, and despite giving everything once more I was unable to ride as well as I can. I'm obviously not happy, because there's not much difference for me between eleventh and twentieth, but there's not much else I can do apart from continuing to work hard with my head down and
bring and end to this situation. I'm happy to be going to Laguna Seca now, a track I really like, and where I hope we can make some much-needed steps forward."




More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

DUCATI MARLBORO MEN SCORE DOUBLE TOP TEN AT ASSEN

Ducati Marlboro Team riders Loris Capirossi and Carlos Checa brought their Desmosedici GP5s home for top-ten finishes at Assen this afternoon. After a scorching two days of practice and qualifying, conditions were much cooler today, following overnight rain and thunder. Track temperature was down from yesterday's 52 degrees to 32 degrees.

"The change in track temperature was definitely good for us, it helped a little our tyre performance," said Ducati MotoGP project manager Livio Suppo. "The early stages of the race were exciting because Loris was running with the lead group, but unfortunately he couldn't maintain that pace. Carlos had a very different race - he didn't get a great start but after half-distance he was able to run a reasonable pace. If only we could combine our good first half and our good second half for one better result! It's been a difficult weekend, but thanks as always to Bridgestone for their work and also to our other technical partners, like Shell Advance."

CHECA MOVES FORWARD TO TAKE NINTH

Carlos Checa came through from a slow start to score a ninth-place result at overcast Assen today. The Spaniard ran 12th for much of the race but began moving forward during the last seven laps as his Desmosedici became lighter and easier to handle.

"My biggest problem was after the start," said the Ducati Marlboro Team man who had qualified 13th. "This track is so twisty that it's really difficult to overtake or even keep your position if you're right in the middle of the pack. Eventually I was able to pass a few riders, then my lap times weren't so bad. As the fuel load lessened, the bike felt better, so I had more confidence in the corner entries. Then I was able to catch and pass a few more riders, until the grip went down and the bike started moving around, which seemed to happen to everyone. Today this was the best we could do. All I can say is that I hope that the information I give to the team will help us improve for the next few races."

CAPIROSSI TENTH AFTER FAST START

Loris Capirossi enjoyed his first few laps around MotoGP's fastest track today, running right with the lead group, but then slipped backwards as he struggled to stay on terms with the front runners. The Ducati Marlboro Team man finished tenth to hold eighth place overall as the 2005 World Championship approaches half-distance.

"Some riders are used to finishing well back and are okay with that, but I'm neither used to this nor happy about it," said the Italian. "This was a bad race - the first few laps were okay but then the fun finished and the risk began. I don't want to accuse anyone, the bike is okay and the team is working so hard. Also, I see that Bridgestone are working very hard. We use different tyres from the others, because our bike has different demands, but I'm not happy with tenth place."




More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki:

Battling Hopkins suffers a cruel blow

Team SUZUKI MotoGP racer John Hopkins looked odds-on for a hard fought top 10 position at today's Gauloises TT in Assen, but a gearshift control failure towards the end of the race, in addition to a significant reduction in tyre performance, cost him dearly.

Hopkins made a strong start and was consistently the fastest Bridgestone-shod rider during the middle of the race. He initially had a good battle with Max Biaggi, which pulled him up into contention early on, enabling him to record the ninth quickest lap-time of the race.

Hopkins was obviously disappointed to lose out late on. He said: "The luck just hasn't been running with us in the last few races. It was always going to be difficult from the fourth row but I held onto my qualifying position in the early laps. I caught the group and enjoyed being tucked in with Biaggi and that helped drag me up to the Kawasakis and Capirossi. I really felt a strong finish was on the cards, I was riding hard and the bike was working as well as it had done all weekend - the team did a great job with improving the settings.

"It then looked like I would have to settle for 11th - an improvement on qualifying - but the problem on the last three laps put paid to that. I'm obviously very disappointed but I'm full of fight for Laguna Seca. I'll be over this tomorrow and focusing everything on my efforts there."

Today's race was held in dry, overcast conditions and was watched by a huge Dutch crowd of 90,742. Current Championship leader and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi won the race - his sixth win from the seven races so far this season.

Kenny Roberts Jr has had a difficult weekend at Assen but was looking forward to improvements for America. He said: "The character of this circuit and the base of our machine meant that it was a struggle all weekend and the race results reflect our situation.

"Hopefully we have a bunch of new stuff coming for America and that's supposed to help in the areas we are struggling in now."

Team Manager Paul Denning said: "John stated before the race that he would be happy if he could equal or better his qualifying position of 12th . It looked like he would do better than that and in the middle of the race John was the fastest Bridgestone runner but he unfortunately had problems and lost two places in the closing stages.

"Again he gave a huge effort and I'm very pleased with that. It looked at one point that we could have been on for a top-ten but the necessity for John to be so aggressive at the start to achieve the lap times meant that he probably used up our Bridgestones quicker than the other runners, and our durability wasn't as good.

"We're now stripping off the Team SUZUKI MotoGP bodywork and building the all-new Red Bull Suzukis for shipping to California. They say Red Bull `Gives You Wings', let's hope it gives us some better fortune at the USGP."

Team SUZUKI MotoGP now travels to Laguna Seca in America for round eight of the MotoGP World Championship. This is the first time in 10 years that the US has staged a motorcycle Grand Prix. Team SUZUKI MotoGP will become Red Bull Suzuki for this event due to a one -off partnership with the leading energy drinks company. The race will be held on Sunday 10th July.



More, from a press release issued by Fortuna Yamaha:

FLYING DEBRIS DAMAGES FORTUNA YAMAHA HOPES

The FORTUNA YAMAHA riders both completed the Dutch GP at Assen with performances that got stronger and stronger, typifying their display over the whole weekend. RUBEN XAUS, who did not get a good start, finished the race in 12th and with the bodywork on his M-1 badly damaged after being hit by a stone that had been thrown up by the bike of the Japanese rider Tamada who was in front of him. Xaus posted his best lap three laps from the end and his rhythm got stronger as the race progressed. On the last lap he produced a fine finish and even managed to edge past Hopkins just a few metres from the line. The same incident with Tamada also had an impact on the other Fortuna Yamaha rider, David Checa. The Spaniard was hit on his right arm by the debris just five laps in and it caused severe bruising that impeded him throughout the race. Checa managed to finish the race in fifth position and produced arguable his best display in the three races that he has been standing in for Toni Elias. Thus, both riders managed to score in what has proved a very tough weekend. For the next GP, which takes place in the US on July 10, Toni Elias will be ready to return to action.


Ruben Xaus (11):
Race: 12th + 49.864, VR: 15th 2.03.642 16/19
World Championship: 12th, 28 puntos
"I made a mistake at the start and I did not feel comfortable for the first few laps, I did not have the right feeling. When Tamada passed me, it took me a while to get back in front of him because I had been struggling for a while. Then I battled with Bayliss, Roberts and Hopkins and improved my rhythm and the bike began to get lighter by the halway point. I have to learn to improve my rhythm in the first five laps of the race because in the last few races it's only been on the last few laps that I felt like I could challenge for the top eight. I have to improve a lot in that respect."

David Checa (94):
Race: 15th + 54.965, VR: 17th 2.03.997 4/19
World Championship: 21st, 4 puntos.
"I felt very comfortable at the beginning. I was able to get away quite well and even got in front of Tamada and Ruben. But when the Japanese rider went back past me he threw up a stone at me in the chicane that upset me a lot. I kept going as best I could, but it hurt a lot and over the final laps I was not able to accelerate and brake as I wanted which meant I had to be cautious. Anyway, I am happy because I believe I rode a good race. It's a shame my time with the team has come to an end."

Hervé Poncharal, FORTUNA YAMAHA team manager:
Both FORTUNA YAMAHA riders rode a good race today and clearly progressed again. It's a shame about the stones thrown by Tamada which damaged us a lot. Without that incident I am convinced they would have finished much higher up. We are happy with the team's work this weekend and we are delighted that Toni Elias will be back for the next race in America."



More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing Information:

MELANDRI MAKES ROSSI WORK HARD FOR HIS WIN

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) won his sixth race of the season when he fended off a strong challenge from second-placed Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda RC211V). Colin Edwards (Yamaha) was third.

In warm, but overcast conditions, after heavy overnight and early morning rain after two days of beating heat, the 19-lap MotoGP race got underway with Melandri leading the pack into turn one from his team-mate Gibernau with Shinya Nakano (Kawasaki) showing well early in third.

Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC211V) was looking good as he moved up from fourth on lap one to second by lap two and he shared an early fastest lap time of the race with Melandri as he tried to establish himself with the pace-setters.

A crowd of 90,000 watched as Melandri tried to break clear of his rivals setting a fastest lap on lap three as he tried to shake Hayden off. But Hayden dropped off the pace as Gibernau forced his way past the American when he ran wide at the Horseshoe turn.

Rossi was up to second place by lap eight having displaced Gibernau and it wasn't long before Melandri and Rossi had separated themselves from Gibernau, who was now under pressure from Edwards for third.

On lap ten Rossi passed Melandri into the Horseshoe and immediately upped the pace. But Marco hung onto him as the pair pulled further clear of Gibernau who was about to be caught and passed by Edwards. By lap 12 Rossi and Melandri were 1.4 seconds clear of the Texan rider.

Rossi now put the pressure on Melandri by upping the pace. The reigning World Champion set a fastest lap on lap 13 as he attempted to drop the challenger. He established a 1.16 second gap before Melandri responded by reducing it to just 0.54 seconds with two laps to go.

But Rossi finally broke Melandri's ambition with a fastest lap of 2m 0.991 seconds on the final lap of the race to finish 1.583 seconds clear at the flag. Edwards came in a distant third while Nicky took fourth place ahead of Sete, Max Biaggi (Repsol Honda RC211V) and then Alex Barros (Camel Honda RC211V) in seventh.

Melandri said, "I got a good start and fought with Sete for the first few laps. I had some problems in the last part of the track and I tried to follow Valentino to learn from him. I almost fell off halfway through the race, then got my confidence back again and tried to catch him. Then my tyre started to spin up too much so I settled for second."

Nicky's fourth place was not enough for him, "It's been a tough weekend. This morning the track was so different we had to gamble with settings. The tyre I chose was really good for the first few laps and I was able to make a few passes. The Rossi and Edwards came by and I had to regroup a little. In the end I got past Gibernau for a pretty lonely fourth."

Fifth-placed Sete said, "This has been one of the worst. I didn't have any grip and nearly fell a couple of times in the race. I can't deny that I'm really upset with the way things are going, but as ever I'll be riding hard to change this at Laguna Seca in two weeks."

Max knows his sixth place isn't good enough. "I had no grip," he said. "I couldn't get into the turns and open the throttle like I wanted to. I could only fight for the lower positions. This is not the level that we should be working at. We can do better because we have to."

Alex, in seventh, said, "Today's race was frankly terrible for me, because I was never able to ride as I would have liked. Unfortunately the tyre I chose didn't suit the colder conditions after the overnight rain and the storms this morning. I chose not to take the harder tyre that Rossi, Melandri and Edwards probably used, I think Hayden maybe too, because it didn't work for me in practice. This was a mistake."

Troy Bayliss (Camel Honda RC211V) finished 11th and said, "What can I say about this race, it was average considering recent races, and despite giving everything once more I was unable to ride as well as I can. I'm obviously not happy, because there's not much difference for me between eleventh and twentieth, but there's not much else I can do apart from continuing to work hard."

Makoto Tamada (Konica Minolta Honda RC211V) finished 14th and said, "After having analyzed this afternoon lap times, I couldn't believe my fastest lap was three seconds slower than the race fastest lap. I never found the right feeling to be able to push the bike to its limit. And the pain in my right forearm didn't help me out. This has been the darkest day of my MotoGP career. Now we have to evaluate what to do."

The World Championship points table now shows Rossi with 170 points, Melandri on 107, Biaggi with 87 and Sete in fourth with 84.

Sebastian Porto (Aprilia) won the 250cc race from Dani Pedrosa (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) with Jorge Lorenzo (Fortuna Honda RS250RW) third. Lorenzo led all but the last lap after starting from pole but when Porto and Pedrosa passed him on the penultimate lap he had nothing in reserve.

An eight-rider group separated from the rest of the field as early as lap five and it wasn't until just after mid-race distance in this 18-lap contest that the three front men left their pursuers to fight it out among themselves.

As they increased the gap on Andrea Dovizioso (Scot Racing Team Honda RS250RW), the man holding fourth place, in the closing laps, it was Pedrosa who made the first move on Porto who then moved up the inside of both Lorenzo and Pedrosa with a lap to go.

Pedrosa, now second to Porto, was expected to execute his usual last lap pass to take the flag but he had no answer to Porto's speed and composure and the Argentine looked comfortable as he crossed the line for his first win of the year.

Hiroshi Aoyama (Team Movistar Honda RS250RW) won the fight for fourth place while Dovi eventually finished seventh.

Hector Barbera (Fortuna Honda RS250RW), who was running as high as fifth on lap six, was among the top ten finishers in ninth place.

Dani said, "I had a difficult race because when those guys were in front they pushed really hard and I had a lot of ground to make up in the early laps. I had a few slides from the front tyre and in the last part of the track I was losing a few tenths, so it could have been a lot worse."

Lorenzo, who had surgery on a broken collarbone less than two weeks ago, said, "That was a little bit disappointing. I made a little mistake on the last lap and lost ground. But I really should be happy with this after being injured and managing to get onto the podium."

The World Championship points table looks like this: Pedrosa 143, Stoner, who finished sixth today 106, Dovi 102.

Gabor Talmacsi (KTM) won a thrilling 125cc race from second-placed Hector Faubel and third-placed finisher Mattia Pasini (both Aprilia). Alvaro Bautista (Seedorf Racing Honda RS125RW) was fourth - his best finish so far this season.

Talmacsi and his team-mate Mika Kallio made the best of their front row starts to lead the pack into turn one with Thomas Luthi (Elit Grand Prix Honda RS125R) right up with them. Only by lap four did the order of the front-runners establish itself - with a nine-rider train at the front!

The pattern was set until those nine became eight and then when Kallio crashed out on lap 14 of the 17-lap race, a seven-rider contest ensued with Marco Simoncelli (Aprilia) leading the final laps with Talmacsi, Luthi, Bautista, Mattia Pasini, Hector Faubel (both Aprilia) and the in-form Alexis Masbou (Ajo Motorsport Honda RS125R) in the group.

But Simoncelli crashed out on the final lap when Luthi touched his rear wheel, forcing Luthi onto the grass to avoid him. This allowed Talmacsi a clear run to the flag to take the win. Talmacsi now shares the World Championship points lead with Pasini, both with 100 points apiece. Luthi lies third with 89 after getting back on track to take 10th place.

Bautista said, "That was lots of fun. I got a good start and then there was a lot of barging and it was impossible to push alone - so I had to stay in the group. I should have made the podium, but I had to back off a bit when Simoncelli crashed."

Luthi said, "That was a typical 125 race. Simoncelli was very fast and I had to outbrake him to get past. But he braked so late that I just touched his rear wheel. I apologised to him immediately after the race and he accepted it in a good way."


HONDA RIDERS QUOTES:

MotoGP:

Marco Melandri, Movistar Honda MotoGP: 2nd: "I'm really happy because this is my best result in MotoGP and to have done it at this circuit is very important. It was a very tough race. At the start I was able to take the lead and stay there until halfway through the race, when I was passed by Valentino. I stayed just behind him and set a good pace but made a small mistake that cost me around eight tenths and I had to try and recover. At the end when I saw Rossi pushing so hard I decided not to risk more than necessary and took a second place which is brilliant for everybody. I want to say thanks to the team, Honda and Michelin for the great job they have done."

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda, 4th: "Its been a tough weekend really especially with the weather. This morning the track was so different so in the race we had to gamble a little. We changed the fork springs and it all felt pretty good at the start. The tyre really came in over the first few laps and I was able to make some passes. Then Rossi and Edwards came by and I had to regroup a little and in the end I got past Gibernau for a pretty lonely fourth. I know it's the best finish this season but I really want to move on the next group - and for the whole race, not just a bit of it. I am really looking forward to putting on a good show for all the fans at Laguna in the next race."

Sete Gibernau, Movistar Honda MotoGP: 5th: "That was one of the worst races we've had recently. We didn't do badly in practice despite the way the weekend started but I couldn't do any more than that in the race. I almost crashed on several occassions and, luckily, we were able to finish but I can't hide that I am tremendously dissatisfied. I hope to turn the situation around in Laguna Seca".

Max Biaggi, Repsol Honda, 6th: " I had no grip since the start of the race and couldn't really get into the turns and open the throttle like I wanted to. I lost immediately too much ground and could only fight for the lower positions. We need to work harder and we need a result soon - hopefully by the next race because we have the potential to express ourselves. This is not the level that I or the team should be working at. We can do much
better because we have to.

Alex Barros, Camel Honda, 7th: "Today's race was frankly terrible for me, because I was never able to ride as I would have liked and as I had done up to that point. Unfortunately the tyre I chose, and the one which went well yesterday, wasn't suited to the asphalt which was a lot colder after the overnight rain and the storms this morning. Instead, in the race I found myself without grip on the rear tyre. I chose not to take the harder tyre that Rossi, Melandri and Edwards probably used, I think Hayden maybe too,
because it didn't work for me in practice. This was an erroneous decision. I was hoping that with a few laps heating up it would have worked better, but instead I was never able to ride at the pace I did on the first two days, not even when I managed to get past the first group of riders and had a clear track ahead of me."

Troy Bayliss, Camel Honda, 11th: "What can I say about this race, it was average considering recent races, and despite giving everything once more I was unable to ride as well as I can. I'm obviously not happy, because there's not much difference for me between eleventh and twentieth, but there's not much else I can do apart from continuing to work hard with my head down and bring and end to this situation. I'm happy to be going to Laguna Seca now, a track I really like, and where I hope we can make some much-needed steps forward."

Makoto Tamada, Konica Minolta Honda, 14th: "After having analyzed this afternoon lap times, I couldn't believe that I have ridden my fastest lap in 2'04, three seconds slower than the race fastest lap. From the first laps I never found the right confidence with the tyres. It seemed like the tyres never warmed up, and the first few laps I have risked to fall in a few occasions. Then things got a little better, but without a doubt I never
found the right feeling to be able to push the bike to its limit. In addition, the pain in my right forearm didn't surely help me out. I can admit that this has been the darkest day for my MotoGP career. Now we have to evaluate what to do. I surely want to be back at my best conditions, because I know I can give much more."




More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Assen June 25th, 2005 Dutch TT

Shinya shines in practice and finishes eighth

Shinya Nakano shone with a fantastic practice performance at the Dutch TT in Assen, The 27-year-old Japanese Kawasaki star pushed his Ninja ZX-RR to an early lead in hot and humid conditions, and topped the qualifying list for almost half an hour. After dropping back to ninth for a while, Nakano bounced back on his final run, improved his previous best time by a massive 0,6 seconds, and earned the applause of his team with fourth position and a second row start. Race day turned out to be a little more difficult for Nakano as he held his fourth place for the two opening laps, but then dropped back behind Loris Capirossi, and got caught in a long battle with Ducati's Italian star. After mid-race, Nakano managed to squeeze past Capirossi again and to take eighth position. But by then, the next group ahead was too far away for another attack. Loris Capirossi, who ran into wheelspin problems as the race went on, lost a final battle with team-mate Carlos Checa, and finished the race in tenth position. Nakano's team-mate Alex Hofmann, a local hero to many of the 90000 fans on the grandstands, was forced to retire with a transmission problem. Suzuki rider John Hopkins, finished in 13th with his teammate Kenny Roberts following just out of the points in 16th.

Shinya Nakano Kawasaki Racing Team 8th position
"After our good practice performance, I was of course aiming higher than for eighth place in the race. My start and the opening laps were good, and I was really enjoying myself on the bike. It was great to see that as far as the engine goes, our acceleration was good on this track, and I could follow the Honda guys quite easily. But I lost some positions on the straight, and when I dropped back behind Loris Capirossi, it took me too long to find a way of overtaking him again. But never mind, our team and Bridgestone are improving all the time, and the gap to the front runners isn't that big any more. We just need to find a little bit more top speed, and a little bit more traction, then we should be fully competitive!"

Sugio Fukuoka Vice President and Officer - Bridgestone Corporation
"Today's morning thunderstorm was incredible, but It was good that we all got to see a dry race in the end. Our partners all did excellent jobs adjusting from the morning's wet conditions to the afternoon dry, and Nakano-san especially rode an excellent race finishing as our top rider. Many thanks to him and Kawasaki Racing Team for a job well done. Our overall tyre performance here could have been better so we have some work to do, but looking at the rest of the season in total, the direction we are heading is the correct one. Next race in Laguna Seca is already one to look forward to and I wish all our teams and riders the best of luck in MotoGP's return to the United States."

Bridgestone Results: 8. Shinya Nakano (JPN) Kawasaki, 39.08,285, 9. Carlos Checa (SPA) Ducati, 39.12,029, 10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Ducati, 39.12,273, 13. John Hopkins (USA) Suzuki, 39.32,638, 16. Kenny Roberts (USA) Suzuki, 39.48,747

Temperature Track Air Weather Afternoon 30 C 23 C Dry




More, from a press release issued by Telefonica Movistar Honda:

Marco records his best result in MotoGP with second place at The Cathedral as Sete
Gibernau finishes fifth

DUTCH TT. MOTOGP RACE

The historic Assen circuit today celebrated its 75th birthday with another spectacular MotoGP race, with Marco Melandri one of the main stars of the show.

The Italian Movistar rider clinched second place to ensure his best result so far in the premier class at the circuit where he celebrated his first ever victory in the 125cc class in 1998.

Marco Melandri started from the front row and led for the opening nine laps, improving his pace when he was passed by Valentino Rossi. Marco never lost contact with the leader and celebrated second place on the podium as if it were a victory. The result means he remains second in the MotoGP World Championship on 107 points.

Sete Gibernau made a good start but began to lose positions and eventually had to settle for fifth place in the seventh round of the season. The team were unable to find the ideal setting for a Grand Prix that began with a health scare for his Chief Mechanic Juan Martínez. Sete was unable to repeat his pace from qualifying in the race and remains fourth in the championship standings.

MARCO MELANDRI (2nd): "I'm really happy because this is my best result in MotoGP and to have done it at this circuit is very important. It was a very tough race. At the start I was able to take the lead and stay there until halfway through the race, when I was passed by Valentino. I stayed just behind him and set a good pace but made a small mistake that cost me around eight tenths and I had to try and recover. At the end when I saw Rossi pushing so hard I decided not to risk more than necessary and took a second place which is brilliant for everybody. I want to say thanks to the team, Honda and Michelin for the great job they have done."

SETE GIBERNAU (5th): "That was one of the worst races we've had recently. We didn't do badly in practice despite the way the weekend started but I couldn't do any more than that in the race. I almost crashed on several occassions and, luckily, we were able to finish but I can't hide that I am tremendously dissatisfied. I hope to turn the situation around in Laguna Seca".

FAUSTO GRESINI (Team manager): "It was a bittersweet Grand Prix for the team. Marco had his best race of the season, fighting with Valentino until the end and showing how much he has grown. It was a shame for Sete that he wasn't able to have a race in line with his true level."

Top 5 This Week