For Ducati fans the first podium for Nicky Hayden was the major news from the running of the 12th round of the MotoGP World Championship at Indianapolis. The American took advantage of a rare occasion where both pole sitter Dani Pedrosa and Championship leader Valentino Rossi fell early in the race. Nicky wasn’t the only rider to capitalize with Jorge Lorenzo taking the win and closing back to within 25 points of Rossi, whilst Alex De Angelis took his first ever MotoGP podium with 2nd place.
Pedrosa set off at the lights as everyone expected. The Honda man had looked unbeatable in every session including the rain. Rossi and Lorenzo gave chase only for Pedorsa to crash out early in the 4th lap in a bizarre event that saw him lose the front just on the exit of a right hander as he tried to lift the bike up and over to set up for the following tight left.
Rossi was the next to go just 5 laps later just after Lorenzo had passed him for the lead. Rossi ran a bit wide entering turn one and found himself a little wide setting up for turn 2 and lost the front on the brakes. His throttle was damaged enough to make it impossible to continue.
Lorenzo was left to take a 9.5 second victory over de Angelis who scored his first ever podium, which should help the fortunes of the San Marino rider who is currently without a seat in MotoGP for 2010.
Hayden rode brilliantly to take third holding off a late charge from Andrea Dovizioso on the second of the factory Honda’s. Colin Edwards took 5th from his teammate who had been battling with Marco Melandri on the Kawaaki before the Italian crash late in the race. Pedrosa rode well to recover from the back of the field to finish 10th and score 5 points.
Although Hayden benefitted from two riders crashing he beat Colin Edwards for the second race in a row showing that he is making progress on the Ducati, albeit a long way from being up with the fabulous four. The fact that Ducati have not announced that they are exercising their option to retain his services for 2010 and the fact his factory Marlboro Ducati seat has been shopped around to at least Lorenzo, Capirossi and Pedrosa shows how critical the great result at Indy may be for his future. Ducati must exercise it’s option over Hayden by Tuesday September 1st. Mika Kallio finished a respectable 8th for his first finish on factory machinery after crashing out in an altercation with Melandi at Brno. For the other Ducati riders the race was mixed. Niccolo Canepa retired his Pramac Ducati with a mechanical fault but temporary team-mate Aleix Espargaro took 13th place on his MotoGP debut.
Nicky Hayden 3rd:-«It is great to be on the podium. I am really happy. Everybody knows what a hard season it has been and to be honest it has been the biggest challenge of my life. We have hung in there and caught a couple of breaks today, and I was able to get on the podium again.»
Alex De Angelis 2nd:-«It is a fantastic result but it is no fluke because we have been in great form over the last five races. It is a long time since I was on the podium back in the 250cc class and I had almost forgotten what a great feeling it was. Now I want to enjoy it and celebrate with another good performance at my home race next weekend.»
Jorge Lorenzo 1st:-Having celebrated the victory in front of the Indy fans in his special edition Captain America helmet, Lorenzo commented, «What a day! In the World Championship if you want to win you have to be on the limit. In the last two races I was on the limit, trying to win, and I crashed, so it was a big disappointment. Today the situation has changed completely and now it has happened to Valentino and Dani unfortunately for them. However, for me, the situation is good.»
Indianapolis MotoGP Results
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), 28 laps,
2. Alex De Angelis (Honda), -9.435 seconds
3. Nicky Hayden (Ducati), -12.947
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda), -13.478
5. Colin Edwards (Yamaha), -26.254
6. James Toseland (Yamaha), -32.408
7. Loris Capirossi (Suzuki), -34.400
8. Mika Kallio (Ducati), -34.856
9. Toni Elias (Honda), -45.005
10. Dani Pedrosa (Honda), -45.377, crash
11. Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki), -45.478
12. Randy De Puniet (Honda), -52.294
13. Aleix Espargaro (Ducati), -63.552
14. Gabor Talmacsi (Honda), -75.086
15. Marco Melandri (Kawasaki), -3 laps, DNF, crash
16. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati), -4 laps, DNF, mechanical
17. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), -19 laps, DNF, crash
Rossi now has a 25 point lead over Lorenzo in the championship with 5 rounds remaining, whilst absent Stoner is still 3rd, 9 points ahead of Pedrosa. The next round is the San Marino GP in Misano to be held next weekend on September 6th.