Valentino Rossi took the runner-up spot in the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring today and moved back to the top of the championship, after Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead on lap five. Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was another victim of the first fully wet race of the season, sliding out of the race on the third lap.
This morning’s practice was run on a damp track but the weather worsened through the middle part of the day and the MotoGP race began in heavy rain. Rossi, starting from seventh on the grid, was caught up in the first lap confusion and lost some time but then made up two places on the second lap, before being elevated to fourth when Pedrosa went down. In the next few laps the Italian passed first fellow Yamaha rider Colin Edwards and then Andrea Dovizioso, which left him in second behind Casey Stoner. Rossi did his best to close the gap to the Australian but with the pair clocking similar lap times he was unable to make any headway into a deficit of more than three seconds, settling for second place and 20 points. Chris Vermeulen loomed behind him at mid-race distance but Rossi’s M1 and his Bridgestone tyres were working well in the wet and he was able to step up the pace somewhat, eventually crossed the line 3.708 seconds behind Stoner and more than 14 ahead of third-placed Vermeulen.
Today’s result sees Rossi back at the top of the standings, 16 points clear of Pedrosa and 20 ahead of Stoner, whilst Lorenzo holds on to fourth despite taking no points today. The MotoGP paddock now packs up and makes the transatlantic trip to California for the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in a week’s time.