Motorcycling: Stoner's lack of experience lets Melandri steal victory

The 20-year-old Australian Casey Stoner, riding in his third MotoGP event, yesterday came close to becoming the joint youngest winner in motorcycle racing's premier class.

Stoner grabbed the lead in the Turkish Grand Prix on lap 18 of 22 on the 3.3-mile Istanbul circuit. He still has pitifully little experience of his LCR Honda, but he looked confident as he held off Italy's Marco Melandri.

However Melandri, a veteran of 50 MotoGP starts at 23, coolly slid his Fortuna Honda under his rival's bike and sprinted to the line to win the third MotoGP race of his career.

"I tried to close the door on him, but I was struggling with my brake markers," Stoner said. "These bikes are so unstable, everyone is cutting and changing lines, and you can't pick the bikes up in the corners very easily."

If Stoner had won he would have tied with the American Freddie Spencer, who won in Belgium in 1982 at the age of 20 years and 196 days.

The Turkish race was a dramatic event that shattered the hopes of the Bridgestone-shod Ducati and Suzuki teams that had dominated qualifying.

Sete Gibernau was the early leader on his Marlboro Ducati but slumped to 11th place, while his team-mate Loris Capirossi, the points leader before Turkey, came in sixth. Chris Vermeulen dropped from pole to seventh on his Rizla Suzuki.

Others were luckier. A tyre warmer melted on to the front disc brake of Nicky Hayden's Repsol Honda on the start line, but the 24-year-old American battled into third. His reward was the championship lead, by one point from Capirossi.

Valentino Rossi started from the fourth row, ran off the track and dropped to 14th place. Characteristically, he fought back to fourth. Spain's Dani Pedrosa crashed out of third place on the final lap.

* Airwaves Ducati's Leon Haslam will start from pole for the fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park today. The 22-year-old Derbyshire rider beat HM Plant Honda's Karl Harris and championship leader Gregorio Lavilla, on an Airwaves Ducati, in yesterday's qualifying in Cheshire.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk