Starting from the front row of the grid Edwards led the way from the first turn and set an electrifying pace that only American compatriot Nicky Hayden (Honda) was able to follow. With two laps remaining Hayden closed in and made his first lunge for the lead, forcing Edwards off the track and onto the escape road.
The ‘Texan Tornado’ looked consigned to second place but he produced a stunning fight-back to pull level with Hayden on the final lap and retake the lead with just a few corners to go. When Hayden launched one last attack into the final chicane, only to run straight onto the gravel, Edwards seemed certain to win but there was one final twist in the tale as he ran onto the grass on the exit from the corner and lost control of his YZR-M1 machine, which threw him into the air. As Edwards slid to the ground within touching distance of the finish line Hayden returned to the track to snatch his first win of the season, leaving the Yamaha man to pick his bike up and limp across the line in 13th place.
Edwards’ Camel Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi also produced one of his best rides of the season so far as he battled through the pain of cracked bones in his hand and ankle to take the flag in eighth place. Rossi started from the very back of the grid after struggling to qualify with the injury he picked up during Thursday morning’s free practice session. However he made up ten positions in a brave ride to seal eight valuable championship points.
VALENTINO ROSSI (8th; +23.591)
“That was a really hard race for me but Doctor Costa, Marco Montanari and the entire Clinica Mobile team did a great job on my hand and I was able to race until the end. I was in some pain, especially at the start and I wasn’t able to ride at 100% of my ability, but it was okay. At the start I was worried how it would go, but when the adrenalin kicked in I started to feel like I could race and by the time we got to the midway point I was feeling much better and having some fun. I lost strength in my hand over the last three laps but I was able to hang on and we picked up some decent points in eighth place. The team have done a great job this weekend in difficult conditions. I wasn’t able to do many laps in practice so they didn’t have much data but the bike and the tyres felt great so I have to say a big thanks to everybody. I feel very sorry for Colin – he rode a great race and he was unlucky to make the mistake at the end because he deserved to win.”
COLIN EDWARDS (13th; +40.412)
“What can I say? Obviously I’m really disappointed because I know I should have won that race. The bike felt great from the start and I was really enjoying riding it out there. I knew my pace in practice would be hard for the other guys to cope with and that’s how it proved to be. I got the start I wanted and just kept my head down, doing those times. When Nicky came up inside me two laps from the end he left the pass pretty late and there was nowhere for me to turn the bike into. I had to go straight and luckily it was at a point of the track where I could run back on again. I was determined not to lose hold of him and just gave it everything to give myself a chance on the last lap. I got past him and then tried to keep a really defensive line out of the final corner – I had no idea Nicky had run onto the gravel otherwise I wouldn’t have needed to do it. Unfortunately I ran it a bit too tight onto the grass and the rear just spun up as I opened the throttle and it threw me off. I’m gutted but fair play to Nicky, it was a great race.”
DAVIDE BRIVIO – CAMEL YAMAHA TEAM DIRECTOR
“It was a great race and Colin missed out on the win by just a few metres. It’s disappointing because we could already taste the victory champagne and we didn’t expect that final twist. He made some wonderful moves on the last lap and he didn’t deserve to go down like that, but that’s racing! Valentino also rode brilliantly today, surprising everybody once again with his mental and physical strength. As a team we are very proud of both our riders today.”