Dani Pedrosa was happy to continue his recent return to form with his fifth podium finish of the season in Germany yesterday.
Second behind Valentino Rossi for the opening four laps after another brilliant start from the third row of the grid, Pedrosa slipped back to third on lap five when a hard-charging Casey Stoner passed him.
Pedrosa’s podium hopes looked to be crumbling when he slipped outside of the top three on lap nine, Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo starting his push to the front with an impressive overtake at Turn 11.
Troubled by front-end grip issues in the early stages, Pedrosa backed off his pace and looked to have settled for fourth place before he suddenly gained confidence in his Bridgestone front.
He broke his own 2007 lap record on lap 25 with a brilliant burst of speed and a lap later he was able to reclaim third from a struggling Stoner on the Ducati GP9.
But it was too late for him to mount a late attack on dominant Fiat Yamaha duo Rossi and Lorenzo, who had stretched out a three second lead in the closing stages.
Pedrosa though was happy to prove his shock win in Laguna Seca had been no fluke and he said: “I’m pleased to be on the podium, and finishing this close to the leaders proves that our win at the last race wasn’t by chance.
"I made a very good start and in the first few laps I was comfortable behind Valentino. On about lap six or seven though I had a big moment in the last corner and almost crashed, so after that I slowed down a little and dropped back to fourth.
"With a slightly slower pace I felt the feedback coming back and towards the end of the race I was able to push hard again.
"I got past Casey and tried to catch the leaders but by this time I was a bit too far behind.
"Third place is a good result, but we were ready to fight for the win at this circuit so it looks like we still have a little bit of work to do.
"The team is in good shape though and we’re making progress all the time, so I’m confident we can continue to challenge for better results and preferably for wins.
"Donington is next and I’m looking forward to it. Let’s hope we can have an even better race there.”
Andrea Dovizioso’s promising season is in danger of fading away to nothing as the Italian suffered another nightmare.
Having only finished outside of the top five once in the opening six races, the former world 125GP champion has now failed to score points in the last three races.
Fourth in the early stages at the Sachsenring, Dovizioso began to plummet down the field, with on board TV footage from his Repsol Honda clearly showing severe wear on the left side of his front Bridgestone tyre.
Dovizioso dropped out of the top ten on lap 25 and retired a lap later, citing an electrical issue and not the front tyre problem for his retirement.
He said: “We needed a strong result here and at the start of the race I was able to ride at a really good pace.
"I made a quick start from the fourth row and got past six riders on the first lap - then I was able to get past Lorenzo for fourth on the third lap.
"On that lap I did a 1m 22.7s but then, during the fourth lap, the front folded at turn eight and I ran wide. Within a few laps after this the performance from the front had dropped dramatically.
"It meant I couldn’t lean the bike or brake as normal so it was very difficult to control the bike. From then on my target was to finish the race but with five laps to go I had an electrical issue with the machine and I had to pull in.
"Obviously I’m really disappointed with the result because I was feeling fast here and I had a very good feeling from the bike. We really had the potential for a good result here, which is what we need at this moment.
"Still, now we’ll go to Donington next weekend and aim for the level of result we’re capable of.”