Stoner shines in wet at Donnington
As Australia is gripped with the effects of a drought, it is interesting that the Australians competing in the 2007 MotoGP are reveling in the wet conditions that have been presented to them in the 2007 season.
Once again, Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) showed that they feel right at home in the wet conditions. In his 2007 debut race Anthony West (Kawasaki) showed that he can mix it with the front runners. Unfortunately for Ant he ran wide in a corner, and after a valiant fight to keep the bike moving and upright, had a small fall. He was in 5th position at the time, even overtaking Rossi to get there. He was able to salvage a credible 11th in the race.
After some thrilling races this year, this years Donnington round was a little more pedestrian. The Texan Tornado (Colin Edwards) on the Fiat M1 Yamaha, raced to an early lead, followed closely by the pack, including Dani Pedrosa on the factory Honda. Both Stoner and Rossi mysteriously dropped well back in the pack after lackluster starts.
Edwards held on to get a solid second place, and once again Vermeulen showed his class in the wet with a great 3rd place, in what is becoming a good championship season for him.
This race proved two things…
- Casey Stoner continues to defy his critics – I hope that this race finally puts to rest the opinion that he is only winning due to the horsepower advantage of the Ducati
- Valentino Rossi is human – This year (Donnington included) has seen Valentino make mistakes and suffer the consequences.
All through the beginning of this season pundits have expressed that Stoners victories have been simply due to the speed of the Ducati. It implies that he is not as good as the other riders in the field, but his recent strong performances in the wet and on the tighter European tracks show that it is not just the bike. The Kurri Kurri Kid has undeniable talent. The powers to be at Ducati must be rubbing there hands with glee after they literally ‘stole’ Casey’s signature late last year.
And yes Valentino is human. He has made many little mistakes this year. More often than not this has seen other riders take advantage of these mistakes. At Donnington he looked to make a wrong tyre choice. Whilst it performed well in the mid part of the race, he faded quickly towards the end. So much so that when Vermeulen out braked him to take 3rd place it showed the importance of getting the choice right especially with the new tyre rules in 2007.
Rossi is not making huge mistakes and is still only 26 point behind Stoner in the championship race, but what is doing is showing the other riders that he is beatable. Last year people put his loss in the championship down to Hayden down to equipment failure, this may be correct. Maybe it also planted the seed in his (Rossi’s) mind that he is not infallible. It has also planted the seed in other racers mind that he can be beaten.
Full race results where:
1. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team
2. Colin Edwards USA Fiat Yamaha Team
3. Chris Vermeulen AUS Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team
5. John Hopkins USA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
6. Randy de Puniet FRA Kawasaki Racing Team
7. Alex Barros BRA Pramac d’Antin MotoGP
8. Dani Pedrosa SPA Repsol Honda Team
9. Alex Hofmann GER Pramac d’Antin MotoGP
10. Marco Melandri ITA Gresini Honda
11. Anthony West AUS Kawasaki Racing Team
12. Toni Elias SPA Gresini Honda
13. Kurtis Roberts USA Team Roberts
14. Shinya Nakano JPN Konica Minolta Honda
15. Makoto Tamada JPN Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha
16. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Dunlop Tech 3 Yamaha
17. Nicky Hayden USA Repsol Honda Team
Stay tuned for my report on the next round…the Dutch TT next week
Entry filed under: MotoGP.