Dovizioso triumphs where others fall at Donington
By Zoe Burn and Mic Archbold
ANDREA Dovizioso rode to a historic first win as the MotoGP curtain came down on Donington Park today.
The Repsol Honda rider triumphed where many - including championship chasers Valentino Rossi and his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo - fell as the changeable weather made way for one of the most exciting scraps of the season.
And it was Texas Tornado Colin Edwards who took the well-deserved second spot, just ahead of LCR Honda's Randy DePuniet who crossed the line third.
It proved to be an exciting race from the outset, when it was deemed wet. Only the Ducati pairing of Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden chose to go out on full wets - a decision which was to prove disasterous.
At the start, it was San Carlo Honda Gresini's Toni Elias who was the man on a charge, as he scorched through the field to take the lead in the opening lap, while Lorenzo, Rossi, Dovizioso and his Repsol team-mate Dani Pedrosa battled close behind.
But it wasn't to last, and by Lap Four he had dropped to fourth, while Dovizioso was clearly a man on a mission, as he saw off the Yamaha duo to take the lead.
Two laps later and Lorenzo had made the move into the lead, with Rossi close behind and it looked like it was to be another battle of the Yamaha boys. But on Lap Nine, Lorenzo tapped the white line approaching Goddards and crashed out, handing Rossi the lead and what was sure to be another easy victory.
By Lap 14, the leader, and a a very close Dovizioso lapped the stricken Ducatis, which were both struggling on a drier track on full wets and holding the last two places, while the main action was going on further down the pack.
While several riders, including Marco Melandri and Loris Capirossi chose to switch bikes, those who stayed out, including Brit James Toseland and this Monster Tech 3 team-mate Edwards, battled for sixth.
On Lap 20, two thirds of the way into the race, the unthinkable happened as Rossi crashed out at the Fogarty Esses from the lead, handing Dovizioso a lead with a clear 10 seconds behind him to second placed De Puniet.
The Repsol Honda rider just had to keep it on the track, and despite a hard-charging DePuniet, who brought Edwards with him to get perilously close by the last lap, he had enough to take the win with ease.
Edwards meanwhile, who enjoyed a high-speed battle with Elias in the closing laps, made the move on the final lap to take his first podium of the year.
Rossi had managed to remount after his out-of-character slip-up, and made back a handful of places to finish fifth, having nipped past Toseland in the final part of the last lap, knocking the Brit down to sixth.
Rossi now leads the World Championship by 25 points from Lorenzo, with Stoner a further 12 points adrift in third.
Race result top six:
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA HONDA 48'26.267
2 Colin EDWARDS USA YAMAHA 48'27.627
3 Randy DE PUNIET FRA HONDA 48'27.867
4 Alex DE ANGELIS RSM HONDA 48'35.225
5 Valentino ROSSI ITA YAMAHA 48'47.889
6 James TOSELAND GBR YAMAHA 48'48.732
1 ROSSI Valentino 187 points
2 LORENZO Jorge 162
3 STONER Casey 150
4 PEDROSA Dani 115
5 EDWARDS Colin 103
6 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 94