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The season so far: full GP review for China

The season so far: full GP review for China

In the fourth of our Full Reviews of all the best video action so far this season we reflect on round four and the visit to China.

After two European rounds on the back of the season-opening visit to Qatar, the fourth race weekend of the 2008 season saw MotoGP heading to the Far East for the Pramac Grand Prix of China.

Before the action commenced users got a chance to see the Shanghai International Circuit up close courtesy of an onboard lap with Kawasaki´s John Hopkins, while Jorge Lorenzo´s crew chief Ramon Forcada provided further details of the demands of the Chinese venue.

Thursday´s pre-GP event saw the likes of Chris Vermeulen, James Toseland, Mika Kallio and Marco Simoncelli enjoy a boat trip on the Huangpu River in Shanghai, while Alice Team´s Sylvain Guintoli and Toni Elias found a different way to relax as they undertook a spot of karting.

After Clinica Mobile´s Dr Claudio Costa explained the typical medical set-up for his team at `flyaway´ events outside Europe, his expertise was required early in the weekend as MotoGP rookie and winner of the previous round in Portugal, Jorge Lorenzo, suffered ankle injuries in a huge highside crash in the first free practice session.

It was a far better Friday for Lorenzo´s team-mate Valentino Rossi, however, as he topped combined free practice timesheets courtesy of an early morning effort, closely followed by World Champion Casey Stoner who was quickest in FP2.

Despite the pain in his ankles Lorenzo was back at the circuit on Saturday morning and remarkably rode through the pain to qualify fourth, while Tech 3 Yamaha boss Herve Poncharal was understandably delighted to see Colin Edwards take pole.

Saturday also saw the official launch of the Garry Taylor-led Maxtra Racing Project, with John Surtees, MotoGP Legend and team patron for the newly formed structure, also in attendance. The group aim enter the 125cc category on Chinese bikes in 2009, using Haojue machinery produced the Grand River Group (GRG).

There was also a brief celebration to mark John Hopkins´ 100th GP, the 24 year-old Anglo-American becoming the youngest ever rider to reach the milestone of 100 starts in the premier class.

Sunday´s wet warm-up session saw Stoner record the fastest time, but on a dry track in the afternoon the World Champion was powerless to prevent Valentino Rossi from winning the race, as the Aussie came home third behind the Italian and second placed Dani Pedrosa.

Rossi ended a seven-race winless streak with his first victory on Bridgestone tyres, much to the delight of his crew chief Jerry Burgess - and Hiroshi Yamada from the Japanese tyre giants.

In a result as miraculous as it was mercurial, Lorenzo took fourth place with a late surge back up the field, riding through the pain on the occasion of his 21st birthday.

After Shanghai it was back to Europe for the Alice Grand Prix de France, at Le Mans, which will revisit in full tomorrow in the summer review of the season so far.


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