Having spent the majority of the race with only Repsol Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa for company, Casey Stoner was looking at leaving Germany with a lead at the top of the Championship with three corners left to go and rival Jorge Lorenzo more than ten seconds back. But with just two left handers left on the circuit, the Australian’s season took a turn for the worse.
In an attempt to get by Pedrosa, Stoner lined up his Spanish team mate down the Waterfall section of the Sachsenring circuit but lost the front end of the bike and ended up in the gravel. Having seen Lorenzo taken out of the race the week before, Stoner went level at the top of the standings and was set to pull out a lead, but the crash has seen the initiative handed back to Jorge, who has now moved 14 points clear at the top, ahead of Pedrosa whose first win of the season moved him above Stoner.
Andrea Dovizioso also benefitted from Stoner’s crash. The Italian was rewarded for winning his race-long battle with satellite Yamaha team mate Cal Crutchlow and factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies with a place on the podium, and home rider Stefan Bradl followed Spies across the line with a creditable fifth place finish.
Valentino Rossi managed to bide his time in the middle of a pack of six riders pushing for sixth, coming through in the final stages to take it ahead of Alvaro Bautista, Crutchlow, Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera.
This weekend’s race at Mugello is a circuit where both Honda riders and Lorenzo have been fast previously, and all have won. Of course, there will be one man who receives the greatest ovation of all, a certain V. Rossi at his home track, but the attentions will be on a rider who, unfortunately, is no longer with us.
The race would also have been a home Grand Prix for Marco Simoncelli who tragically lost his life last year, so expect there to be plenty of tributes to ‘Super Sic’ this weekend too.