Monday, May 15, 2006

Pedrosa takes brilliant first win

Shanghai : Repsol Honda - Race
The Repsol Honda team celebrated a brilliant one-two in today's Grand Prix of China as new signing Dani Pedrosa scorched to his first premier-class victory in only his fourth MotoGP race.

The Spaniard's faultless performance in the 22-lap race made him the equal second- youngest winner ever in the premier class. Pedrosa's team-mate Nicky Hayden pushed him all the way, finishing a close second and extending his lead of the riders' world championship.

In a gripping race Pedrosa slipped back from his pole position start to lie fifth at the end of the first lap, but soon began moving up through the field, reeling in the leaders with a series of fastest laps. By lap nine he passed John Hopkins' Suzuki for second place and a lap later overtook the early leader Colin Edwards on the Yamaha.

Hayden shadowed Pedrosa for the whole race, with the gap hovering at one second as the Repsol Honda pair traded fastest laps. The American tried to apply pressure to his team- mate but the reigning 250 World Champion didn't crack, finishing the race 1.5s clear of Hayden, to score the first Repsol Honda one-two since the 2002 Catalunya Grand Prix. Colin Edwards took third and the final step of the podium.

Pedrosa also secured the fastest lap at the 5.281km (3.280 miles) Shanghai circuit – with a new lap record of 1m 59.318s - and completed the clean sweep of pole position, race win and fastest lap.

Not to be out-done, Hayden extended his lead in the world championship to 13 points as his nearest rivals struggled, displaying speed to match his impressive consistency on the evolution RC211V. This second place was his eight podium finish in succession. Pedrosa moves up to third in the championship, 15 points behind.

Dani Pedrosa - 1st
“This is a perfect result for me and it was a fantastic race for the whole Repsol Honda team. They have been working really hard and it was a great result for both riders – so I'm really happy. The race was hard and the pace was high, but the conditions today were very good and I was able to get into a good rhythm. The tyres worked very well today and so I have to thank Michelin for that. I did a good start this time but I left the braking a little bit late for the first corner and I went slightly wide so I was not able to keep a tight line and lost a few places. But I was able to pick off the positions one by one. Once in the lead I was always looking at the pit board and seeing zero point something. I was trying to maintain the gap but it was not easy because Nicky was pushing more and more and the tyres were losing a little grip. Winning is always very special but the level in MotoGP is higher, so this is extra special for me.”
Nicky Hayden - 2nd
“I tried to go a little bit faster every lap and put some heat on Dani, but that dude just wouldn't crack! So I definitely give Dani credit because he rode a really strong race. I felt good when I upped the pace, but it just wasn't enough and when I got close to him I didn't want to do anything silly. Congratulations to the team, and not just my guys but all the guys involved in Repsol Honda, they deserve it. I'm trying to be consistent in every race and every session, and while getting the points and podiums is good, I really want to win. I like to think the that win's not far away. It's nice to pull out a little gap in championship but it's early days. Honda's fighting hard for this championship so I'm looking forward to getting to Le Mans next weekend.”

Makoto Tanaka - Repsol Honda Team Manager
“There is nothing to say except that this is a perfect result for the Repsol Honda team today. I want to say thank you for your hard work to all our team members. Dani and Nicky both rode faultlessly, maintaining near-qualifying pace until end of the race. We will be working to keep this level of performance so that we're battling for the podium positions at every race. But the rivals are closing in so we have to keep pushing as we head for the European rounds. Anyway, thanks to our riders, team members, Michelin tyres, Honda R&D and all the team's partners.”


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