Rossi steps up the leadership
Starting from tenth place on the grid after struggling to find the right set-up for his YZR-M1 machine in practice, the odds were stacked heavily against Rossi as he aimed to close the gap on series leader Nicky Hayden (Honda) with another win. However, the reigning World Champion again confounded all the predictions with his superb skill and dogged determination.
Already shifted up one place on the grid from his qualifying position of eleventh after Casey Stoner (Honda) was ruled out of the race through injury, Rossi continued to make his way forward as soon as the red lights were out, passing four riders by the end of the first lap to immediately get in contact with the lead group. After carefully picking off Kenny Roberts (Team KR) and Makoto Tamada (Honda), Rossi set about the lead group of Hayden, Dani Pedrosa (Honda) and Marco Melandri (Honda) and by lap 13 of 30 he was in front. The Italian held on to a slim lead for all but one of the remaining laps, when Melandri made one of his many attacks stick, before holding off a barrage of attacks from all three rivals in a dramatic final corner to seal his fourth win of the season.
Whilst Rossi was able to rescue a dismal situation in practice, unfortunately the same could not be said for his team-mate Colin Edwards, who was unable to make any further progress with his bike setting in the morning warm-up and struggled to eleventh place.
"That was an unbelievable race for me and my team. The first thing I have to say is ‘sorry' to my M1 because last night was the first time in our relationship that I ever doubted her! But she was true to me once again and for this I owe a huge thank you to Jeremy and all my mechanics and engineers´.
`Last night I didn't think I could win this race but we made a change in the morning warm-up and then again before the race in the afternoon and today my M1 flew. In some parts of the track it was very, very fast. We also did a great job together with Michelin and at the start I realised that my rhythm was good enough to battle for the win. Once I got to the front I knew I was probably two or three tenths faster than the other guys but it wasn't enough to escape and I had to battle with Dani, Nicky and Marco – each one was a great fight´.
`Marco was so strong at the end of the race and I have to give my big congratulations to him, but thankfully I got the right line in the last corner and I was able to win. Italy became World Champions in the football last weekend and I won today; Germany is a good country for us!".
"What can I say? I guess I'm just slow around here. The guys worked their butts off all weekend trying to give me something but we simply couldn't get the bike working and I never had the pace. It looked like Valentino was in the same situation but today he pulled out something like his 700th miracle and you can only take your hat off to a great champion. We changed some things for the warm-up this morning but I wasn't comfortable so we went back to the setting from yesterday, which we knew wasn't ideal either. The first few laps were okay but I struggled to pass Toni Elias and by the time I got past him we were way back. From there on it was just a battle to keep the bike on the track and there wasn't much more I could do but bring it home."