New to motogp.com?Register here

Tickets purchase
VideoPass purchase

Valiant third place for Pedrosa

Valiant third place for Pedrosa

Valiant third place for Pedrosa

Dani Pedrosa finished in third place in action-packed Grand Prix of France at the 4.180km (2.597 miles) Le Mans circuit. The young Repsol Honda star led for three laps but was not able to capitalise on his pole position start as an unlucky tyre choice left the 20-year-old Spaniard struggling for grip as the race progressed. His team-mate, Nicky Hayden put in an impressive ride to move from 10th on the grid to a solid fifth place at the finish and in the process retain his lead in riders' world championship.

Having become the youngest ever rider to take two successive pole positions in the top class of Grand Prix racing yesterday, Pedrosa slipped back to third place in the early stages of today's 28-lap race. He moved to second on lap eight when John Hopkins fell, and as Valentino Rossi's bike faltered on lap 21, the reigning 250cc world champion found himself in the lead.

Limited dry practice time in yet another weekend affected by rain meant that race-tyre choice was always going to be a gamble. Sure enough Pedrosa, who had elected for soft compound Michelins, found himself struggling for rear grip in the second half of the race. He led for three laps before Marco Melandri passed him on lap 24, and on the last lap Capirossi's lunge up the inside saw both riders run wide as they tried to outbrake each other, with Capirossi just managing to stay ahead of the Repsol Honda. Pedrosa's third podium finish of the season, following his sensational victory last week in the Grand Prix of China, moves him to within 10 points of the world championship lead.

Hayden's brave ride came despite suffering from flu for the entire weekend and searching for a good set-up in the difficult wet-dry conditions. Yet he rode with impressive consistency for the whole race, notching up his fastest lap time on the 26th lap to finish just 11.5s behind the winner, Marco Melandri.

The MotoGP paddock now moves to the fabulous Mugello circuit for the Italian Grand Prix which takes place in two weeks time on June 4.

Dani Pedrosa
`I'm happy with the result because I was lucky. We are on the podium which is good for me and my team, and also the race was dry. At the beginning I was strong but then I realised Valentino was gaining a few tenths every lap and I was trying not to lose ground on him, yet every time the gap was bigger and I had to focus on controlling the gap behind me. When I took the lead I knew they were catching me and I knew I would only lead for two or three laps. On one lap I made two mistakes and I realised I was going slowly whilst on the limit! So I decided I didn't want to crash like in the race in Turkey and I closed the throttle and focused on finishing the race. But the result is good and we must keep consistent and learn from this´.

Nicky Hayden
` It's been a tough weekend, all weekend! Since we got off the plane from China it hasn't come real smooth – it's been bad with the weather, bad with the flu we've had a few things go against us today. Yesterday we went backwards with the set-up so me and team put our heads together after the wet warm-up this morning and made some changes. The Repsol Honda boys did a good job giving me a lot better bike that I felt good on so we just fought as hard as we could today and ended up fifth. It's not great - it's not the result we want - but we're still holding on to that championship lead and hopefully we can get some dry weather here tomorrow for testing and improve things a little and get ready for the summer. It's on now to Mugello in a couple of weeks and a lot of races coming up. I hated to see that consecutive podium streak end but hey, we'll bounce back and get ready for the next one´.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2006, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Dani Pedrosa

Other updates you may be interested in ›