Motorcycling: Stoner's lack of experience lets Melandri steal victory
Monday 01 May 2006
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.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista sent to Paris to speed up move; Luis Suarez bid planned; Gunners eye Daniele Rugani
Chelsea vs Liverpool match report: Branislav Ivanovic seals classic semi-final with extra-time header to send Blues to Wembley
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Transfer news live: Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal CONFIRMED; Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea; Liverpool close in on £14m Ezequiel Lavezzi
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...