A fantastic race saw Jorge Lorenzo stalk down Casey Stoner to clinch his second MotoGP World Championship win of the season at the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM on Sunday, while Andrea Dovizioso passed his team mate on the last lap to finish second.
Stoner started from pole position to break from the field early and looked set to have victory in the bag, until with nine laps remaining Lorenzo began to chip away at the Australian's more than two-second lead, finally catching and taking over the lead with six laps to go.
The Spaniard's win closes the World Championship standing lead of Stoner to 19 points.
"It has been one of the sweetest victories in a long time," Lorenzo said. "The victory in Jerez was not 'real' because it was raining.
"It was a tough race because of the hot conditions without water in the camel back. I pushed and tried to be there with all of my heart. I tried to overtake Andrea in the downhill at the chicane and then I did the same with Casey because I thought it was the perfect corner for it.
"Now we have a competitive bike and I hope to keep this pace. I am more motivated and confident for the future after this great result. I think it was one of my most demanding races in my career. It reminded me a bit the 125cc times, with many overtakings."
Dovizioso hunted down and passed Stoner on the very last lap to grab second position in front of his home crowd. The Italian remains third in the Championship with 119 points, ahead of Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) with 91.
"Mugello is always a special event and the feeling on the podium is unbelievable," Dovizioso said. "Today I was the first and only Italian rider on the podium and this makes the result even more special.
"The support of the fans was incredible, they were all pushing for me and they motivated me a lot especially when I was tired because of the heat and this track, which is so physically demanding.
"This morning we fine tuned the set up to have more stability with the front and I had a good feeling. We made a good start and we were able to be consistent for the whole race despite the fact there was not so much grip and the tires were spinning. In the first part of the race I had some good battles with Jorge for the second position. Then, at the end of the race, overtaking Casey gave me the second place. I could see Casey was spinning a lot but he was very strong in some corners so I couldn't pass him where I wanted, in the end I managed it on the last lap."
"I can't say I'm totally happy with the result today," Stoner admitted. "We started the race very strong and everything felt fantastic on the bike, however, we had a problem with the tires after a few laps. We believe this was related to incorrect tyre pressures for today's track temperature and we should have probably reduced them a little compared with what we used in warm up because as soon as the tires got up to a certain pressure, I lost all the grip in the rear and this led to me starting to close the front. I think this is why we were able to be so fast in the beginning of the race, as the tires were able to warm up very quickly, but then the tire overheated and I lost all grip.
"I'm disappointed as our potential to win today was high. I thought I might still have potential to fight with Jorge and Andrea, but Jorge came past and he was too fast for me. Then Andrea came past and I thought I could respond, but I didn't have any traction. It's still a podium, and important points but I'm here to win races."
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) battled with San Carlo Honda Gresini Team's Marco Simoncelli for fourth position, both of whom started on the front row. The two made multiple late braking passes on one another until the American got the better of the Italian on the last lap.
A five-man battle for sixth between Rossi, Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar), Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) ensued throughout the race, with Barberá dueling with Rossi at the front of the pack. Rossi broke away at 11 laps to go, putting his GP11.1 in the sixth spot, ahead of the Ducati of Barberá in seventh.
Pedrosa, who dominated the Italian Grand Prix last year, was eighth across the line after starting from the same grid position on his return to racing. The Spaniard finished just in front of Edwards and Ducati Team's Nicky Hayden, who had an early run off to finish in 10th.
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) retired to the pits with front tire issues, the second race in a row he has suffered with the same problems.
Marc Márquez won a thrilling Moto2 battle at the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM, with Stefan Bradl on the second podium step and Bradley Smith taking the third.
A three-way battle for first position ensued between pole position starter Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol), championship leader Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Smith (Tech 3 Racing), with the young Catalan rider emerging victorious, making him the youngest ever rider to take back to back victories in the intermediate class in the World Championship. He has now won three of the last five races.
Bradl made a mistake early to drop back to fifth, but quickly made his way back to the race elbow to elbow, assuming the lead several times and finally finishing second in a breathless last lap which saw all three lead a various points on the track. Smith moved down to third from the lead after a close pass by Marquez literally pushed him wide, the third place finish his third successive podium of the 2011 season.
Nicolas Terol rode a brilliantly strategic 125cc race to take his fifth win of the 2011 season, after a race long battle with Johann Zarco. Maverick Viñales crossed the line third to take his fourth podium of the season.
Terol (Bankia Aspar) had a stunning return to competition after missing the last race in Assen due to injury, shooting off the second row to lead the start of the race with first time pole man Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo) moving quickly into second, chasing his first GP victory.
The two broke away from the rest of the field. With 10 laps to go, pressure from Zarco caused Terol to run wide, and the Frenchman took over the lead. The Spanish rider sat back until the final corner, driving out of it to pass Zarco on the home straight despite the Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider swerving to break the draft.
Viñales dueled with Efrén Vázquez for third position, beating the Basque rider across the line to take his fourth consecutive podium of the season, and moving into third place overall in the Championship.
Jonas Folger fell on lap 17, handing his second place in the Championship over to Zarco.
MotoGP Race Results
1. Jorge LORENZO (SPA) Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha 41:50.089
2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (ITA) Repsol Honda Team / Honda +0.997
3. Casey STONER (AUS) Repsol Honda Team / Honda +1.143
4. Ben SPIES (USA) Yamaha Factory Racing / Yamaha +8.980
5. Marco SIMONCELLI (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini / Honda +9.076
6. Valentino ROSSI (ITA) Ducati Team / Ducati +26.450
7. Hector BARBERA (SPA) Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP / Ducati +28.745
8. Dani PEDROSA (SPA) Repsol Honda Team / Honda +32.043
9. Colin EDWARDS (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / Yamaha +33.421
10. Nicky HAYDEN (USA) Ducati Team / Ducati +34.724
11. Hiroshi AOYAMA (JPN) San Carlo Honda Gresini / Honda +37.359
12. Karel ABRAHAM (CZE) Cardion AB Motoracing / Ducati +43.964
13. Alvaro BAUTISTA (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / Suzuki +47.654
14. Randy DE PUNIET (FRA) Pramac Racing Team / Ducati +48.840
15. Toni ELIAS (SPA) LCR Honda MotoGP / Honda +1:15.199
Cal CRUTCHLOW (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 / Yamaha 17 Laps
1. Casey STONER (Honda) 152
2. Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha) 133
3. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Honda) 119
4. Valentino ROSSI (Ducati) 91
5. Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati) 77
6. Ben SPIES (Yamaha) 74
7. Dani PEDROSA (Honda) 69
8. Hiroshi AOYAMA (Honda) 56
9. Colin EDWARDS (Yamaha) 53
10. Marco SIMONCELLI (Honda) 50
11. Hector BARBERA (Ducati) 44
12. Karel ABRAHAM (Ducati) 37
13. Toni ELIAS (Honda) 35
14. Cal CRUTCHLOW (Yamaha) 32
15. Alvaro BAUTISTA (Suzuki) 30
16. Loris CAPIROSSI (Ducati) 22
17. Randy DE PUNIET (Ducati) 12
18. John HOPKINS (Suzuki) 6
19. Kousuke AKIYOSHI (Honda) 3
Monday, July 4, 2011
Lorenzo claims second win of season