Pedrosa rides to timely birthday

Pedrosa rides to timely birthday

ALCANIZ, Spain - Agence France-Presse
Dani Pedrosa gave himself a timely birthday present with a dazzling victory in the Aragon Grand Prix MotoGP race yesterday.

The Spanish Honda rider, who turned 27 on Saturday, came home clear of compatriot and overall series leader Jorge Lorenzo, on a Yamaha, while Andrea Dovizioso was third on a Yamaha a whisker ahead of team-mate Cal Crutchlow.

Pedrosa, who was winning his third race in the last four MotoGPs, narrowed the gap on Lorenzo in the standings to 33 points with four races to go and made up for his disastrous outing at San Marino a fortnight ago where he went out on the first lap.

Valentino Rossi’s race almost came to an abrupt end on the first lap when the Italian great tried to overtake Jonathan Rea, deputizing for the injured two-time world champion Casey Stoner, but clipped his Honda and went onto the gravel before returning at the back of the field.

Ducati’s nightmare got worse as Rossi’s team-mate Nicky Hayden went veering off into the gravel after two laps and failed to pull up before the advertising hoardings - the impact of the collision sending him vaulting over the hoardings where he required medical attention.

Hayden, who was already nursing a sore arm prior to the race, was taken to the medical centre for further attention but arrived there speaking clearly and with no serious damage to his limbs and was later given the all clear.

An action-packed race saw impressive German rookie Stefan Bradl move into third place on his Honda only for catastrophe to strike as he went too low on a corner and came off the bike.

Up front both Lorenzo and Pedrosa were clear and contesting the lead.

That developed into an enthralling contest with Pedrosa overtaking his compatriot with 17 laps remaining and he pulled away with surprising ease to hold a lead of over 2sec after 10 laps and was never in danger thereafter.

Further down the field Rossi was making up for his misjudgment by cutting through the field and with 14 laps of the 23 remaining but he was unable to eat into Rea’s lead over him and wound up eighth.