Stoner wins wet British Grand Prix - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stoner wins wet British Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin 25/06/2007 05:57:36 AM Comments (0)

Australian Casey Stoner has won a wet British Grand Prix to chalk up his fifth victory in eight races and move 26 points clear of Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP championship.

Rossi, the former world champion, could not match the 21-year-old Ducati rider's speed on the slippery Donington circuit and finished off the podium in fourth place.

The Italian's Yamaha team mate Colin Edwards was second, 11.768 seconds behind Stoner, with Australian Chris Vermeulen third for Suzuki.

"I didn't really know what to expect at the start of the race, whether it was going to bucket down after we started and really soak the track or actually dry out like it did," said Stoner, who made his grand prix debut at Donington as a 125cc rider in 2001.

"So it was a bit of a gamble, I suppose," he said of his tyre choice.

"Then about half way through it started to really dry out and the bike started to spin a lot so I was just trying to smooth everything down so we didn't destroy the tyre before the end of the race. That was my biggest fear."

Texan Edwards had started on pole position and Stoner's success maintained a season-long jinx for any rider starting in the top slot, with the last winner from pole dating back to Japan last September.

Stoner, now on 165 points to Rossi's 139, recovered from a poor start that pushed him down to seventh at the end of the first lap at a circuit he had denounced earlier in the week as far too slippery.

The Australian, who hails from Kurri Kurri, New South Wales, slotted into second place after five of the 30 laps however and took the lead on the 16th when Edwards, the former World Superbike champion who has yet to win a MotoGP race, ran wide.

"I came into the chicane and braked and it kind of locked up a little bit," said the Texan.

"Then Casey came by me. I tried everything I could to stay with him.

"Hats off to Casey, congratulations to him. He's done an incredible job this year and I haven't really had much of a chance to race him. Today I got to see him and he has been doing a really good job."

Rossi's points made him the all-time top scorer in the premier category, overtaking Australian Mick Doohan, but he had little else to celebrate at a favourite circuit.

He went from second on the grid to eighth after four laps and, with a harder rear tyre than Edwards, was clearly wrestling with the bike's lack of grip.

Honda's world champion Nicky Hayden, who had spoken optimistically of a new beginning on Saturday after his best qualifying performance of the season, crashed out on the fifth lap after a good start.

Australian Anthony West, making his Kawasaki debut, also fell after running into the gravel but finished the race in 11th place.

In the 250cc class, Italy's Andrea Dovizioso won to revive his title hopes after Spain's overall leader Jorge Lorenzo crashed. Lorenzo saw his 36-point lead slashed to 11.

The Honda rider was gifted the victory when San Marino's Alex de Angelis, leading from pole position in a race that started with a downpour, fell with two laps remaining.

Italy's Mattia Pasini won the 125cc race for his first success of the season after starting in pole position for the fifth time in eight races.

The Aprilia rider had failed to finish on the podium in any of those starts from the top slot.

Japan's Tomoyoshi Koyama was second on a KTM with Spaniard Hector Faubel finishing third for Aprilia and taking the championship lead from Hungary's Gabor Talmacsi who retired with mechanical trouble.

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