After a race long duel with Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa raced to victory at the Grande Premio de Portugal. Pedrosa who only recently had surgery on his injured shoulder, had been seemingly pacing himself behind the leader, Lorenzo, until the final three laps, when the Repsol Honda rider, passed the Yamaha down the straight and then delivered a succession of fastest laps to pass the chequered flag first. Pedrosa finished just over three seconds ahead of the reigning MotoGP World Champion and closed the gap on Lorenzo’s lead in the standings to just four points.
Stoner had a lonely race in third and was over seven seconds behind his team mate who won the race. The former MotoGP World Champion has never won at Estoril (one of only five circuits the Australian has failed to clinch victory at). The eyes were all on the battle behind the Australian between Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) and Andrea Dovizioso. The Repsol Honda rider stayed close to Rossi throughout the race and managed to snatch the fourth place on the very last lap as they crossed the start finish line, by a mere 0.025s. The nine time World Champion’ previous lowest result here in Estoril had been a fourth place from 11 starts, before the pass from his fellow compatriot over the line.
Valentino Rossi: “Apart from Dovizioso, today went well! I’m joking, but Dovizioso obviously rode a race that was strategically perfect. I think he played with me a little, knowing that on the straight, he could probably beat me to the line. He couldn’t pass me because I was strong on the brakes, so he had me do all the work for 28 laps, before making his attempt, and he got me by twenty-five thousandths of a second. Apart from that, the team and I are very happy, because it was a nice race and this, for the time being, is the best we can do. I started well, I made up several positions, and then I was very consistent, with decent lap times. I practically did the same lap from qualifying 28 times, so it’s a good result. My only disappointment is that fourth would have been my best finish with the Ducati Team. Anyway, another positive is that I’m physically well, as I’m missing just fifteen percent of my strength, but I think I’ll be at 100 percent between Le Mans and Catalunya. As for the bike, there’s certainly still work to do, but we’re working together with the Ducati technicians. They’re pleased with the data they have, and I’m seeing that what I get from the racing department works. It will take some time, but we’re going forward. Tomorrow we’ll have some new things to try, so let’s hope that it’s dry, and we’ll see how it goes. We don’t expect to solve everything in seven hours, just to continue down the path we’ve started on together.”
Jorge Lorenzo: “I made a good start and which I was really happy. I then pushed to my maximum to try to open up the gap to Pedrosa. Unfortunately today was not the day for that, he was too strong and consistent and at the end, he was maybe fresher to push. Second is a good result, we have a lot of points from three races, so I think we are in a good way to keep fighting for the championship. I want to thank my team who worked really hard this weekend to make sure we were as competitive as we could be.”
Dani Pedrosa: “I’m very happy for today’s win, but more than the win, I’m happy for my condition and it seems that my surgery was finally successful. I was trying to rest my arm at times as it was cramping with 15 laps to go. I was riding behind Lorenzo and waiting for the numbness to come together with the loss of power, but it didn’t come! I’m just so happy to see that the surgery has worked, it’s been around six months with this and it’s a big relief. For the race, I was riding at my best, Lorenzo is amazing here, always riding so smooth and fast and I was trying to stay with him. In the end, I felt comfortable and tried to make a move and I was successful. I’m very happy to win here, it’s my first win on this track and thanks to all the doctors, my physio and trainer because it’s been hard work and finally we got a win.”