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Stoner leaves rivals in his wake for A-Style TT Assen victory

Stoner leaves rivals in his wake for A-Style TT Assen victory

Casey Stoner gave himself, Ducati and Bridgestone a first premier class Assen victory with a superb breakaway from pole.

It would have taken a brave man to bet against Casey Stoner achieving a second consecutive victory after his phenomenal form in practice, qualifying and the Saturday warmup, and the Australian set out his stall early in Assen. The circuit record was passed over to the Ducati Marlboro rider after just two laps, and he improved incrementally as the race went on to take the win.

Stoner´s task was made slightly easier by the absence of Valentino Rossi from the battle for supremacy, the Fiat Yamaha rider crashing on the opening lap after losing the back end of his bike and careering into Randy de Puniet. Rossi returned to action, at times bettering the pace of the frontrunners with the exception of Stoner, but even if he had stayed on track the 2007 World Champion would almost undoubtedly have proved too fast to catch.

Dani Pedrosa was also unable to prevent a second Stoner breakaway in as many races, the Repsol Honda rider going round in isolation after being passed for the lead by his rival. Second place –combined with Rossi´s misfortunes- puts the Spaniard into the lead in the World Championship.

As at last year´s race in the Netherlands, the A-Style TT Assen was set to be Nicky Hayden´s return to the podium in 2008. Untroubled by other riders whilst unable to keep up with the man immediately in front, it had looked to be a cruise to the line for the former World Champion and Assen racewinner. However, in an almost tragicomic turn of events, the RC212V used by the Honda factory rider to such good effect gave out on him, and he could only limp over the line in fourth as Colin Edwards took a second podium of the year.

Having started from the second row, dropped down the field and then made a comeback demonstrating his skills at Assen, Tech3 Yamaha satellite rider Edwards went some way to putting his Assen demons to rest. Having lost out in a 2006 to Hayden on the last lap, passing his rival on the home straight was a sweet reward for the `Texas Tornado´.

Andrea Dovizioso benefitted the most from some hard overtaking moves from Jorge Lorenzo, which broke up a tussle for fifth place. The JiR Team Scot rider eventually took the spot ahead of his Spanish rival, with Chris Vermeulen and Shinya Nakano losing ground.

There were crashes for Kawasaki´s Anthony West and San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Alex de Angelis in the race, whilst early faller Rossi managed to pass both Marco Melandri and subsequently Toni Elias for eleventh place.


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