Pedrosa wins in Germany
Sachsenring specialist Dani Pedrosa won his third successive German MotoGP to open his account for the year yesterday. While the Spaniard took the honors, his Honda teammate Casey Stoner, destined to take second, crashed out with two bends of the final lap remaining to dent his hopes of defending his world title before he heads into retirement. The main beneficiary of Stoner’s spill was Yamaha’s former champion Jorge Lorenzo, who was gifted the runner-up spot to move clear at the top of the riders standings on 160 points. Pedrosa climbed into second on 146 points with Stoner on 140. First-corner carnage in Assen the previous weekend had checked Lorenzo’s title charge, with Stoner arriving at Sachsenring level on points with the Spaniard. Alvaro Bautista was found guilty for that spill and as a punishment the Honda rider was consigned to the back of the grid. Pedrosa cut a happy figure afterwards. “At the start, I wasn’t comfortable because of changes to my bike,” he said. “As I became used to all the changes, I passed Casey and was feeling good. Towards the end I had to fight for the win, on the last lap I was racing at my maximum.”
Keita quits Barcelona
Mali midfielder Seydou Keita has quit Barcelona after his four-year contract ended, having won 14 titles with the team, the club said late on Saturday. “Seydou Keita has announced this evening that he won’t be staying at the club next season,” a statement published on the club’s Web site said. “FC Barcelona thanks Seydou Keita for his services to the club over the years, and wishes him professional and personal success in the future.” The local press reported that Keita, 32, was planning to move to Chinese club Dalian Aerbin. Keita previously played for French clubs Olympique de Marseille, Lorient and Lens, before moving to Spain where he played for Seville for one season.
Deschamps eyes France job
Former France captain Didier Deschamps is in talks with the French Football Federation about becoming the national team’s new manager, a source close to the talks said on Saturday. “We are in full negotiation. It’s a step further, but it’s not yet an outcome. We are in the phase of entry into talks. If there is an outcome and an agreement, I think it won’t be before tomorrow [Sunday],” the source added. The development comes a week after Laurent Blanc’s decision to step down from the post following two years in charge after being unable to reach an agreement with federation president Noel Le Graet on a new contract. Deschamps became increasingly linked as a candidate to fill the vacancy after quitting his position as coach of Olympique de Marseille on Monday last week.
Zola inks Watford deal
Watford have appointed Gianfranco Zola as their new manager after the Championship club’s new Italian owners sacked former manager Sean Dyche. Watford, who play in the division below the Premier League, said the 46-year-old former Italy international and West Ham United manager joined on a two-year contract.”I think Watford’s fans can expect an exciting and attacking style from his team. Gianfranco represents this project perfectly,” technical director Gianluca Nani said. Dyche was in charge for a year and he guided Watford to 11th in the league last season. He was fired after the Pozzo family completed their takeover last weekend. Zola has been out of work since being sacked by West Ham in 2010.