Jorge Lorenzo won the race, Nicky Hayden took Ducati’s and his first podium of the season finishing in third place, and Dani Pedrosa brought his bike home in second place. Someone would ask, “Is that all what happened?”. I would say “not quite”.
Casey Stoner qualified on pole position, at Jerez, making it two in two on Honda machine. He looked set for another win since he was the fastest in the wet warmup session. Dani Pedrosa made it Honda one-two for the second round in succession, with Jorge Lorenzo qualifying in third place. Valentino Rossi only managed to qualify 12th on the grid, since he could not improve much on his lap time on the second bike, after his crash in the middle of qualifying session. However, he was second in the wet warmup session that would have given him some hope of securing a top-five position, provided he made a good start.
Rossi had not been able to ride the Duke to his liking so far and 12th place in qualifying on the track where he has been the most successful rider with 8 wins to his name, saddened me. However, since the race was going to be a wet race, and that Rossi had been second in the warmup session behind Casey, I thought he had a chance of securing a top-five finish, if not top-three.
Well, the lights went off, and Casey Stoner took the hole shot and had opened up 0.5 – 1 second gap between him and the chasing pack, which included Jorge, Nicky and Simoncelli. Rossi made a decent start and was eight or ninth by the end of lap one. Since the conditions were very tough and tricky, Jorge relied much on saving his tyres strategy and that eventually payed off at the end, I would say.
At the front, Macro Simoncelli lowered his lap times, and started overtaking riders in front of him, and after a couple of laps, he was leading the race. He kept his head down and opened up a gap back to Casey Stoner, riding in the 2nd place. By that time, Valentino Rossi had also climbed up to 3rd place ahead of his former teammate and current world champion; Jorge Lorenzo. It also gave me a thought that he could actually win his first race on the Duke that day, with one condition of staying on the bike.
Rossi closed up on Casey, and attempted to overtake him in a corner coming from a long way back, but he made a mistake under braking and lost the front. Moreover, he took Casey with him. Rossi managed to get his bike started with the help of marshals unlike Casey, so his race ended at that point.
Dani Pedrosa who was down in 10th at the start of the race, had climbed up to 4th place behind Nicky by half race distance. Simoncelli, crashed out when leading the race, so Jorge became the ultimate leader since Rossi and Casey crashed too. I knew he wouldn’t crash, and would go on to win the race. Spies also crashed out when it could have been Yamaha one-two finish. So, the positions changed dramatically, and Nicky Hayden found himself in the podium position. Rossi eventually finished fifth with Lorenzo making it two wins in successive years, with Dani finishing in second place.
When the race ended, Rossi went to Casey Stoner garage to apologize for the mistake he did that took him out. He took full responsibility of the incident, with Race Directions announcing to look into the incident on 28th of April, but will not affect the result of this race.
I was happy that Rossi picket up some useful points, and that he looked comfortable on Ducati but sad about the fact that he missed a golden opportunity of registering his first win on the Ducati. His lap times suggested that if he had not made that mistake, he could have won easily, but that’s racing, and incident like this happens. End result is that Jorge now leads the championship (the win at Jerez and a second place at Qatar) with 9 points over Dani Pedrosa.
You might want to check this video of Casey applauding Rossi after Jerez Drama.