The reigning world champion Casey Stoner won in the rain in Germany yesterday to top the podium for the third consecutive race. The Marlboro Ducati rider suffered an indifferent start to the season, but had come to the boil with victories in Donington Park and Assen in the past two races. He continued his unstoppable form in an eventful race at the Sachsenring, finishing 3.708 seconds ahead of Valentino Rossi, who is second in the overall standings and started the day from way down in seventh on the grid. Stoner may not have had it so easy had Dani Pedrosa, starting from second on the grid, not retired after a heavy spill on lap six.
The Spaniard jumped into an early lead and managed to pull away seemingly at ease, having put seven seconds between his Honda and Stoner by the time of his fall. Pedrosa's compatriot Jorge Lorenzo, along with Colin Edwards and Marco Melandri joined the Honda rider in crashing out in the extremely wet conditions. But Pedrosa will rue his slip more than the others as it sees him fall off the lead in the world championship standings, with Rossi taking over and Stoner now only four points behind in third.
Seemingly enjoying the rain was Chris Vermeulen, who excelled in the wet once more to charge through from the midfield to complete the podium despite coming under heavy pressure from Alex de Angelis. Andrea Dovizioso fell back to fifth after holding second early on while Sylvain Guintoli finished in sixth, the pair coming in nearly 30 seconds behind the front four. Loris Capirossi, Randy de Puniet, Shinya Nakano and Anthony West respectively completed the top 10, while British rider James Toseland finished in 11th place.
* PA Sport