Motorcycling: Pedrosa's bubble rises amid drama of Rossi burst tyre

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The Independent Online

Dani Pedrosa won his first MotoGP in only his fourth race while defending champion Valentino Rossi failed to finish because of a tyre problem in China yesterday.

The Spaniard, the reigning 250cc world champion, came in 1.5 seconds ahead of his American team-mate at Repsol Honda, Nicky Hayden. But the drama surrounded Rossi, who had battled his way up from 13th on the grid to fifth when he was forced to retire his Camel Yamaha.

Rossi was closing in on the battle for third place between his team-mate Colin Edwards and the Texan's fellow American John Hopkins on the Rizla Suzuki when disaster struck. Rossi pitted his Yamaha due to a tyre problem but his crew changed the rear Michelin instead of the front.

Only when Rossi was leaving the pit lane did one of his crew notice that a large piece of the front tyre had broken away and Rossi was forced to quit with five of the 22 laps to go. Rossi lies sixth in the championship standings, 32 points behind the leader Hayden.

The Cumbrian James Ellison lies 17th in the table after finishing 16th, one place outside adding to his points tally of three.

Spain's Hector Barbera recorded his first 250cc race win on the Fortuna Aprilia, with the Italian Andrea Dovizioso second on the Humangest Honda and Hiroshi Ayoama third for Red Bull KTM. Herefordshire's Chaz Davies was 17th on the Campetella Aprilia.

Finland's Mika Kallio won the 125cc race on the Red Bull KTM, but the Oxfordshire 15-year-old Bradley Smith is still searching for his first point after his 22nd place on the Repsol Honda.