The third round of the MotoGP World Championship, held at the Estoril circuit yesterday, saw Valentino Rossi put in a steady race on a dry track, as there was no rain after the morning’s wet warm-up, the Italian eventually finishing a close fifth.

The third round of the MotoGP World Championship, at the Estoril circuit yesterday, saw Valentino Rossi put in a steady race on a dry track, as there was no rain after the morning’s wet warm-up. The Italian started well from the third row and made up more positions on the first lap, bringing him to fourth place. From there, he maintained a good rhythm for the entire race, holding off Andrea Dovizioso until the very end, when Dovizioso slipped by in the race to the line and finished in front by a hair—just twenty-five thousandths of a second.

Starting from the fifth row, Nicky Hayden also had a very strong launch, and the American was seventh after the first lap. A small shifting problem affected him a little, but it was mainly the contact with Spies that caused him to lose a gap to Aoyama and Crutchlow. He was ninth at the finish.

Today the Ducati Team will stay for a post-race test with the other MotoGP teams, and naturally, good weather is hoped for so that the team can continue its development of the GP11.

Valentino Rossi (5th)

“Apart from Dovizioso, today went well! I’m joking, but Andrea obviously rode a race that was strategically perfect. I think he played with me a little, knowing that on the straight, he could probably beat me to the line. He couldn’t pass me because I was strong on the brakes, so he had me do all the work for 28 laps before making his attempt, and he got me by twenty-five thousandths. Apart from that, the team and I are very happy, because it was a nice race and this, for the time being, is the best we can do. I started well, I made up several positions, and then I was very consistent, with decent times. I practically did the same lap from qualifying for 28 laps, so it’s a good result. My only disappointment is that fourth would have been my best finish with the Ducati. Anyway, another positive is that I’m physically well, as I’m missing just fifteen percent of my strength, but I think I’ll be at 100 percent between Le Mans and Catalunya. As for the bike, there’s certainly still work to do, but we’re working together with the Ducati technicians. They’re pleased with the data they have, and I’m seeing that what I get from the racing department works. It will take some time, but we’re going forward. [Today] we’ll have some new things to try, so let’s hope that it’s dry, and we’ll see how it goes. We don’t expect to solve everything in seven hours, just to continue down the path we’ve started on together.”

Nicky Hayden (9th)

“Starting from thirteenth, it was always going to be difficult for us, but the bike was good off the line and I got a good start. I made some early mistakes, but I was also recovering a few positions. I got into seventh, but I was having difficulty back-shifting. Already on the sighting lap, I knew it was an issue. On the grid, we talked about getting on the other bike, but we decided together that it was better to stick with our bike and not start from pit road. It caused some difficulty, especially on corner entry, and some guys came past. Then Spies hit me pretty good and stood me up going into Turn 3, so I lost the bridge to Aoyama and Crutchlow. I’m really happy we have a test tomorrow. We’ve got some stuff to try, and hopefully we’ll get some good weather, because we lost some dry time this weekend with the rain. The bike was great in the wet—third Friday and fourth this morning—but we need to make it better in the dry.”

Vittoriano Guareschi (Team Manager)

“Valentino had a good start and a nice race: we were very consistent with the times, and the gap to the front was reduced, which indicates that the work we’re doing on the GP11 is going in the right direction. Nicky also got away well when the lights went off and, despite a shifting issue, he stayed strong and finished in the top ten. Tomorrow will be a test day, and we’ll try some updates to different areas of the bike, so we hope that the weather won’t play any dirty tricks on us so that we can take advantage of all the track time.”

2011 MotoGP World Championship standings (after 3 rounds):

1 Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing 65
2 Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 61
3 Casey Stoner (AUS) Repsol Honda Team 41
4 Valentino Rossi (ITA) Ducati Team 31
5 Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Team 30
6 Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini 28
7 Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 26
8 Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 21
9 Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 18
10 Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 14
11 Toni Elias (SPA) LCR Honda MotoGP 12
12 Karel Abraham (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing 12
13 Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 11

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