(AFP) – Jul 13, 2008
SACHSENRING, Germany (AFP) — Australia's world champion Casey Stoner won the German MotoGP here on Sunday riding a Ducati to give the team their first win in the race and record Australian riders 100th victory in the top category.
Stoner - winning his third successive race - beat home five-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi of Italy, on a Yamaha, while Stoner's compatriot Chris Vermeulen was third on a Suzuki.
Rossi took the overall lead ahead of Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who crashed out with 26 laps remaining when holding a commanding advantage.
Stoner's achievement was all the greater as he had been feeling sick since Saturday morning.
"I have been feeling sick since Saturday morning and my concentration levels were low," admitted Stoner.
"I was losing it in all different places. We were lucky to come out of this with the victory."
Rossi too was delighted with the result as it saw him move 16 points ahead of Pedrosa - 187 to 171 while Stoner is on 167.
"I am very excited about the result as it has seen me take back the overall lead," purred the extrovert Italian.
"I eventually got up to a great pace and very close to Casey. These 20 points are very important," he added.
Vermeulen was equally ecstatic especially as he had to hold off a stern challenge from Alex de Angelis for the final podium spot.
"The team did a great job and I am sick in the positive Aussie sense of the word!" he said.
Pedrosa got a great start in the wet conditions which saw Stoner fail to take advantage of his pole position and drop to third after the first lap as nearly 100,000 spectators literally soaked up the atmosphere.
The Spaniard - whose compatriot Jorge Lorenzo had become the first casualty of the race on the third lap - had built up an enormous lead of over five seconds over Stoner, who had moved into second place, by the third lap.
However, his storming start came to an abrupt end with 26 laps remaining as he came off the bike and slid into a safety barrier leaving Stoner in front with Rossi hot on his tail while Vermeulen climbed into third.
Italian Marco Melandri - who had prior to the race had it confirmed that his wish of having the second year of his contract cancelled by the Ducati team had been granted - was also a casualty with another 21 laps still to race as the conditions took their toll.
Colin Edwards too came a cropper when in a promising fifth position with 10 laps remaining as Stoner kept his lead over Rossi.
Italian rider Marco Simoncelli had earlier moved to the top of the 250cc world standings after he won the German Grand Prix.
The 21-year-old Gilera rider posted his fifth career victory coming home ahead of Spanish duo Hector Barbera and Alvaro Bautista, both riding Aprilias.
"That was really the perfect day for me," enthused Simoncelli.
"Even, though, I have to admit that I wasn't particularly happy when I saw the weather this morning (pouring rain).
"I managed to get a good start, though, I didn't know what I could do with this new version of the bike, which I was using for the first time in a race."
Simoncelli's victory put him on to 154 points, 11 ahead of previous overall leader Mika Kallio of Finland, who could finish only fourth.
Mike di Meglio of France on a Derbi had won the 125cc race ahead of Germany's Stefan Bradl on an Aprilia and Gabor Talmacsi of Hungary, also riding an Aprilia.
Di Meglio holds a 30 point lead in the overall standings ahead of Simone Corsi of Italy after 10 races.
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