Pedrosa to be examined for finger and ankle fractures in Barcelona

A crash suffered whilst leading the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland could have left Dani Pedrosa with a broken finger and fractured ankle.
Whilst some of his MotoGP World Championship rivals will be making a direct journey to Laguna Seca for next weekend´s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix, Dani Pedrosa will be making a brief stopover in Barcelona to undergo examination on a suspected broken index finger and ankle injury.
The Repsol Honda rider was leading the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland when he crashed out of the race, taking a big impact as he was flung from his RC212V. The fall dealt a double blow to the Spaniard, who not only conceded the lead in the World Championship but also could be affected by the latest in a string of injuries.
Pedrosa was examined in the Clinica Mobile immediately after the crash, with MotoGP Medical Director Dr. Claudio Macchiagodena giving an initial diagnosis of a fractured left digit. Further examination at the Clinica Dexeus in Pedrosa´s home city will reveal the full extent of the damage caused by the Sunday afternoon spill, the cause of which he was at a loss to explain.
`It was a little strange. I had only just touched the brake and I crashed. It was a real pity because I´d got a great start and was going well. I had a good feeling. The front felt perfect, the rear was sliding just a little, but the general feeling was good considering the track conditions. It is a real pity, ´ said the rider himself.
Finger fractures are notoriously fickle for riders, as their effects can vary wildly depending on the exact location of the break and how this corresponds to the demands of gripping and operating levers. With this in mind, Pedrosa´s participation in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix could be in doubt.


pedrosa crash Sachsenring 08

Vittoria Casey Stoner in Sachsenring

Stoner dedicates third straight win to team

World Champion Casey Stoner paid tribute to his team after picking up his third consecutive win and his fourth of the season at Sachsenring.
It was another extraordinary performance from Casey Stoner in torrentially wet conditions at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland on Sunday.

Stoner struggled throughout the race with a stomach upset, but held his nerve to take victory in the rain and close the gap to series leader Valentino Rossi to 20 points, having trailed by 50 just three races ago - and is now only four points behind crasher Dani Pedrosa in second place.

In addition to Pedrosa, Marco Melandri was another rider to be caught out by the wet conditions. The Italian was in the process of a stunning charge through the field and had made his way up to seventh place from sixteenth on the grid, only to crash moments after setting the fastest lap of the race.
Casey Stoner - first

`I saw Dani ride off into the distance and I thought `fair play´ - there was no way I could keep that pace in those conditions at that time. We definitely needed a bit more time to get the tyres up to temperature and Dani just kept edging away, but then after a few laps I was coming down the main straight and I could see his bike bouncing around in the gravel at turn one. It´s a shame for him but even though he crashed he was still very impressive today. From then on it was a case of keeping my concentration but that wasn´t easy because I´ve been a little sick all weekend and I wasn´t feeling at all good during the race. Also, we went with quite a hard rear tyre compound and I had quite a few small moments that made me nervous but kept me on my guard. I kept pushing where I could and managed to keep opening out the advantage with every lap, then kept it upright to the end. It´s nice to close the championship down a little bit more and once again I owe a huge thank you to the team, who have adapted the bike to virtually any condition here.´

Marco Melandri - DNF
`This time I feel angry that we didn´t get the result we deserved, not disappointed that we haven´t been fast, as has been the case on other occasions. The crash was a real shame because even though there´s always the chance of making a mistake in the wet I felt good at that time, the tyres were up to temperature, the bike was working well and I was coming through fast. I don´t know how many riders I passed but it was a few and I felt fast, happy and positive. The group ahead of me were some distance away but I felt I could keep improving. In fact, we´d made progress with our pace in the dry and we´ll see how we go from here in America. It´s a nice track and I hope we can start out well.´


Stoner steals German win as Pedrosa slides out

World champion Casey Stoner claimed his third successive MotoGP victory as series leader Dani Pedrosa crashed out in treacherous, wet conditions in Germany on Sunday.
Former champion Valentino Rossi took over at the top of the standings as he defied the rain at Sachsenring to claim second place behind Stoner, whose fellow Australian Chris Vermuelen was third.

Stoner consolidated third place overall as his nearest rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Colin Edwards joined Pedrosa in tumbling off their bikes.

Pedrosa made a sizzling start to the race as he passed polesitter Stoner to take a comfortable seven-second lead, and then saw compatriot Lorenzo crash out on just the third lap of the 30.

Pedrosa did not last much longer, as his Honda slipped out from underneath him on the next lap on a corner and sent him aquaplaning off the track, across the gravel and into the safety barriers.

He picked himself up after the spectacular spill, seeming to be holding his left wrist, but there were no reports on his fitness ahead of the next round at Laguna Seca in the United States next week.

Stoner took over the lead on his Ducati and experienced no such problems with his Bridgestone tires as he cruised to victory ahead of Yamaha's five-time champion Rossi, who now leads Pedrosa by 16 points

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"I am very excited about the result as it has seen me take back the overall lead," Rossi told reporters. "I eventually got up to a great pace and very close to Casey. These 20 points are very important."

Stoner, who gave Ducati the team's first victory in the event after starting a fourth successive race in pole position, closed to within four points of Pedrosa on 167.

"I have been feeling sick since Saturday morning and my concentration levels were low," Stoner said. "I was losing it in all different places. We were lucky to come out of this with the victory."

Vermuelen claimed his first podium placing this year for Suzuki as he held off Italian Alex de Angelis.

Veteran American Edwards had seemed set to continue his resurgence with another solid placing, but also crashed off the slippery circuit when fifth with 10 laps to go.

Marco Melandri, who before the race revealed that he had secured a release from his Ducati contract for the 2009 season, was another casualty as he also skidded off during the eighth lap.

Earlier, Italy's Marco Simoncelli moved to the top of the 250cc world standings with victory ahead of Spain's Hector Barbera and Alvaro Bautista, while previous leader Mika Kallio of Finland could finish only fourth.

Mike di Meglio of France won the 125cc race ahead of Germany's Stefan Bradl and Gabor Talmacsi of Hungary.

Intelligent Footballers - Is It Possible?

It is a well publicised and widely held belief that footballers are as thick as two short planks. The stereotype of an uneducated ruffian with little schooling and the total inability to string a comprehensible sentence together is confirmed each time you see the likes of Wayne Rooney interviewed!

That is very unfair because many of us would come over as less than the Brain of Britain if we had a microphone shoved under our noses after we had just run ten thousand metres in a European cup tie and some idiot asked us, “how do you feel?” In fact, if I’d just run ten thousand metres they would have to remove my oxygen mask to hear my reply!

There are of course many examples of footballers being thick. David Beckham is the most quoted and his statements like, “we are going to have Brooklyn christened, but we don’t know into which religion yet,” and Rio Ferdinand saying that as England captain he would “take up the mantelpiece,” all go to confirm what most people think.

There are some examples of a few famous English footballers who possess a great deal of intelligence. Former Manchester United winger and current Reading boss, Steve Coppell, famously didn’t join United full-time until after he had completed his degree at university. At my own club, Watford, we had a player called Steve Palmer who also had a degree. The fact that the other players referred to him as ‘the professor’, however, shows just how rare an intelligent footballer is.

On Saturday mornings in England on the TV show ‘Soccer AM’ there is a segment called, ‘Team-mates’ where a player is asked several questions about his colleagues. The questions are like, “who is the quickest at the club?”, “best dressed?”, “best dancer?”, “most stupid”, “joker?” etc, etc.

The players always rattle off the answers very quickly until they come to one particular question. “Who is the most intelligent?” There is always a long pause whilst the player tries to think of someone who possibly possesses more than one brain cell. Eventually, they say something like, “It’s probably so and so. He knows some long words,” or something equally banal.

Graeme Le Saux, the former England left back, was unceremoniously ridiculed by other footballers because he read the Guardian newspaper, a broadsheet, rather than one of the tabloids. It is just not the done thing to be a clever footballer in England.

It is against this background that I salute League Two Notts County midfielder Neil MacKenzie. He is flying in the face of tradition and risking ridicule for the rest of his life by publicly displaying that he is intelligent. He is going someway towards dispelling the myth that all footballers are stupid.

The thirty-two year-old MacKenzie has made football history as the first player to appear on an English Channel 4 afternoon quiz show called Countdown.

Countdown is a legendary programme that has been going for many years. It is watched by almost exclusively the elderly and students. It is a simple game involving two players playing against each other in a test of numeracy and literacy. The players take it in turns to choose nine unknown letters by asking for vowels or consonants and then compete against each other to see who can formulate the longest word with those letters in thirty seconds. There are five or six rounds of that together with two rounds of mathematical tests. The player with the most points at the end is the champion and remains so until he or she is beaten.

Footballer MacKenzie is proving to be a great success on the show, winning five episodes in a row and shooting to the top of the leaderboard. At the time of writing he is still the current Countdown champion and showing no signs of giving up his title without a fight.

MacKenzie was encouraged to enter by his mother, who is a regular viewer of the show. Of course, I guess footballers are another group of people who can watch afternoon television along with the elderly and the students. I would think though that most players would be watching MTV or the Sports channels, rather than Countdown.

So is Mackenzie striking a blow for footballers everywhere? Is he actually more typical of today’s footballer than the stereotypical thicko?


Inter up Lamps offer

There are reports that Inter tabled an improved bid for Chelsea star Frank Lampard late last night.

The Italian champions have chosen Lampard as their main transfer objective for the summer, but Chelsea are said to have rebuffed a £6m advance.

The West London giants claimed yesterday that the England international wasn’t for sale and that they wouldn’t negotiate with the Beneamata, but Inter chief Massimo Moratti insisted that he wouldn’t give up on a transfer.

It is widely believed that Moratti has increased his bid to around £8m and is waiting for a response from the Blues.

Chelsea seem to be keen to keep Lampard for another season, but with his contract set to expire next summer they may opt to cash in their asset.

However, boss Luiz Felipe Scolari has stated that he is looking forward to working with the former West Ham man and may put pressure on the board to fend off Inter’s advances.