24th June 2007: As the riders lined up for the warm up lap of this exciting Grand Prix, there must have been a conference going on to decide the conditions of the track – and it was declared a Wet Race. No kidding, the track was flooded.
“New Kid on The Block” Anthony West made a fantastic start. In his debut race for Kawasaki the 25 year old Australian rider stormed past the pack passing all the “big” names in the sport of Moto Gp to get as high up the order as fourth. Excitement must have got the better of him because soon after getting into fourth place (by passing no less than Valentino Rossi) he succumbed to the treacherous conditions and came off his bike. He jumped up and was soon racing again, trying to recover as best he could and still coming a credible 11th. Enough about him, we’ll have to see what else he can do under “normal” conditions…
The day clearly belonged to one driver and one driver only – Casey Stoner. The main Aussie of the Moto GP show silenced all his critics. Unusually for the 21 year old team Ducati rider he had a bad start. Slipping down the order to seventh position. This never seemed to phase the guy aptly described as “a genius” by his project manager Livio Suppo. Instead of tip-toeing around the drenched circuit and waiting for things to unfold ahead of him, Stoner went ahead and in the next 3 laps worked his way up to third place. By halfway through the race he’d passed the race leader Colin Edwards (who had led the race from pole position up to that point) and from there on in he never looked in the slightest discomfort with riding in the changing conditions, changing conditions because the track had started drying out to the point that a clear dry racing line had formed on the track.
Chris Vermeulen (are the Aussies taking over?) had to repay his team because he had crashed his bike 3 times over the weekend, so finishing 3rd was good enough for him. Having started way back in 12th position he had an excellent start and managed to pass Valentino Rossi in the closing stages of the race. Rossi brought his bike in to 4th place to at least keep the fight for the championship between himself and Stoner more than alive. Rossi had a difficult race firstly not having the pace of Casey Stoner and also tearing his tyres up in the latter half of the race due to the track drying out.
John Hopkins caught Rossi at the end but couldn’t put in a decent passing move on the 7 times Donington winner so had to settle for 5th.
The rest of the top 10 finishers were Randy de Puniet on his Kawasaki in 6th, still recovering from his knee surgery. Alex Barros passed Dani Pedrosa for 7th place on the last lap of the race. Pedrosa started well on his Honda but slipped down the order and seemed a bit easy for the other riders to get past. Behind Dani Pedrosa were Alex Hoffman and Marco Melandri, with Melandri seeming to have made an incorrect tyre choice since he came to the party in the latter stages as the track dried out.
As mentioned above Anthony West did extremely well to end up in 11th place.
All in all a great British Moto GP, take a bow Mr. Stoner.
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