Motorcycling: Pedrosa dominates to close in on Hayden

Dani Pedrosa, the carpenter's son hailed as the next Valentino Rossi, yesterday moved a step closer to converting hype into reality when he won the GAS British MotoGP here on his factory Repsol Honda.

The 20-year-old Spaniard built a comfortable cushion over his pursuers, and shrank the 42-point gap between himself and the championship leader, his team-mate Nicky Hayden, to 26 points. With eight of 17 races remaining, Pedrosa has emerged as a title contender in only his first year on the 990cc MotoGP bikes.

Rossi, the reigning champion, started from the fourth row of the grid after suffering set-up problems with his Camel Yamaha during qualifying and pain from bones in the right wrist fractured in the Netherlands the previous weekend. But with the tenacity and track guile that characterises his riding, Rossi punted past his rivals and survived a last-lap tussle with his fellow Italian Marco Melandri to take second place. This reduced his deficit to Hayden to a manageable 35 points. Melandri was also carrying injuries, suffering pain from the collarbone he damaged two weeks ago when he fell from his Fortuna Honda in Barcelona.

Fans swarmed on to the track on the riders' slowing down lap, forming a narrow channel - Tour de France-style - to slap Rossi on the shoulders as he cruised back to the pits. Pedrosa's mature performance merited equal credit, however.

"This was almost a perfect weekend," he said. "We set the bike up well in qualifying, and at the end of the race I was able to slow down a little."

Rossi said, "We were struggling more with the bike than with my wrist," although he was clutching an ice-pack afterwards. "After I qualified in 12th place we decided to change a lot on the bike. It was a big [gamble], but we risked it."

Australia's Casey Stoner, another 20-year-old enjoying a stunning first season, finished fourth on his LCR Honda, in front of the American Kenny Roberts Jnr on the British-built Team KR211V, a fusion of Honda engine power and Midlands chassis craftsmanship.

Colin Edwards rode his Camel Yamaha into sixth place, ahead of Hayden, who suffered a dismal weekend trying to achieve a good set-up on his Repsol Honda, and then ran on to the grass at the chicane while trying to reach the leaders.

Loris Capirossi, who was leading the championship until he crashed at Barcelona two weeks ago, was, like Rossi and Melandri, unable to shrug off his injuries and brought his Marlboro Ducati into ninth.

The 15-year-old Oxfordshire schoolboy Bradley Smith scored his first world championship points, finishing 12th in the 125cc race for Repsol Honda.

Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003