Jorge Lorenzo marked his return to fitness in style, taking a stunning second at the legendary ‘Brickyard’.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi put up a fierce fight today to score a double podium finish in the Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Lorenzo marked his return to fitness in style, taking a stunning second at the legendary ‘Brickyard’. Starting from third on the grid, the Spaniard initially dropped back to sixth place in the bunch up of riders on turn two before cutting back through the pack to take his place as a key protagonist of the race.
Teammate Rossi also made a stunning return to form after the summer break. The Doctor had an electrifying start, climbing four places from the second row of the grid to take the lead in the second corner from Andrea Dovizioso. On lap three his teammate Lorenzo arrived at the back of Marc Marquez and together they closed down the gap to the leaders. Within a few laps the tension reached fever pitch as the four rivals came within touching distance as they exchanged places numerous times.
Yamaha is working very hard, so I am confident that we will get a better bike hopefully for this year, but if not for next season.
On the tenth lap Rossi led from Marquez, closely followed by Lorenzo and Dovizioso. The order soon changed again when Lorenzo and Marquez both passed Rossi in turn two, the two Yamaha riders almost colliding in the process. Marquez took the lead with Rossi in second while Lorenzo followed in third. He was back on his way to the front when he experienced a big moment in the last corner as his knee clipped the curbstones, causing him to lose vital seconds.
Lorenzo then started to close the gap of 0.4 seconds to his teammate again and overtook him on lap 15. The Mallorcan, closely followed by Rossi, now had his eyes on the win, but by then the gap to Marquez had become too big for him to close. He finished the race in second, 1.803 seconds behind Marquez, whilst Rossi finished in third place with a gap of +6.558 seconds to his teammate.
Lorenzo’s sixth premier class podium finish at the US track moves him up to the fourth position in the standings with 117 points, whist the third place finish keeps Rossi in third on 157 points.
Jorge Lorenzo (2nd, +1.803): “The beginning of the championship was a little bit of a disaster for me. I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike and made many mistakes. Now I feel a lot better on the bike and I improved my physical condition. I rode well and consistently and I feel very fit on the bike. I ride against very strong riders now; Valentino improved his form this year. He is faster so it is not easy to overtake him and Marc is no longer the rookie rider he was last year. He has a very strong bike and he has more experience and is really fit and riding well. Despite this we are very focused on improving the bike. Yamaha is working very hard, so I am confident that we will get a better bike hopefully for this year, but if not for next season. Maybe on one of the next tracks that suits my riding style we can challenge Marc, but if we want to be a consistent threat to him in every race, we have to improve a bit more and that’s what we are trying to do.”
Valentino Rossi (3rd, +6.558): “I am satisfied because this is a good third place after a good battle with Jorge and Marc. I led the race, stayed in front and rode well. I’m happy because usually this is a difficult track for me. We worked well with the team and the bike was good for the race. We were able to achieve a good pace, but now we have to make another step to arrive in front of Jorge and Marc.”
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director: “It is a great result to have both riders on the podium, especially after such an exciting race to watch. The beginning where four or five riders were really fighting was good for the fans! The work they have done to improve the circuit has helped and the track definitely suits our bike a little more. Vale was able to score some valuable points and was consistently there fighting and Jorge is definitely back on form too. We leave here satisfied with our efforts and looking forward to keeping the momentum as we head to Brno.”
Tech3 riders snap at the heels of the factory bikes in Indianapolis
Pol Espargaro completed the beginning of the second half of his debut season in the premier class by riding to a brilliantly undertaken fifth place in Indianapolis. The 23 year old began the race from sixth on the grid after a successful qualifying campaign and rocketed forwards to be close to the leading MotoGP bikes on the opening lap. On the seventh lap, Espargaro set into a confident rhythm matching the times of the leading five, with the reigning Moto2 World Champion rapidly closing down the sixth place of Andrea Iannone and passing him on lap 12 to clinch the position. Espargaro then firmly set about, taking time out of the Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso before dispatching him on lap 20 and meeting the chequered flag in a well deserved fifth place. His efforts today saw Espargaro achieve the highest speed on a Yamaha with 341.8 kmh, as well as aiding his advance to sixth in the World Championship standings.
Bradley Smith bounced back from a fall yesterday where he damaged his finger to show resilience and scoop a top points scoring finish in sixth. The 23 year old began the 27 lap sprint around the 4170 meter Indianapolis circuit from ninth position on the grid before launching himself up to eighth at the first corner and into the mix with the factory bikes on the first lap. Smith was shuffled down into tenth place by the end of the opening lap, but his determination prevailed as he set into a forceful rhythm moving up to seventh with twelve laps remaining. His formidable race pace saw him running 1’33 laps at the midpoint of the race and, as Smith powered onwards, he closed in on Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso on the penultimate lap. The British star successfully overtook him to bring his Monster Yamaha Tech3 YZR-M1 across the line in sixth place, concluding an impressive ride and lifting him to ninth in the championship.
Pol Espargaro (5th, +17.807}: “I'm reasonably happy, as it has been a good race but not an incredible one. We collected important points for the championship. I learned a lot as well today and we definitely gave our best so I have to be satisfied with the result. In addition, having just the four factory bikes in front of me I can’t complain too much. My start was ok and at the beginning I tried everything to stay with Dani, but during the opening laps he was really strong and escaped quite quickly. Afterwards my race was a very lonely one until I caught Dovizioso. I then tried to push a bit harder to open a gap to him and later on I just tried not to make any mistakes. Indy has been a good start to the second part of the championship but I'm already looking forward to Brno next week where I aim to improve further.”
Bradley Smith (6th, +19.604): “Overall, I am really pleased to get a strong result and finish in the top six, although I was maybe a bit too cautious at the beginning with the hot conditions here, causing the front wheel to tuck an awful lot. However, I remained calm and remembered how long the 27 laps are, so I aimed to preserve my rear tyre as much as possible and then came back strongly during the second half of the race. In fact, around the mid section of the sprint, I put my head down and lapped mid 1’33's as I was chasing after Pol and Andrea Dovizioso, who I overtook with just two laps to go. Obviously, it was a big confidence boost to see the finish flag finally in such a good position which is where I want and need to be. Now I'm looking forward to the next race in Brno where I will try to continue to climb up the rankings.”
Edwards waved goodbye to the US crowd as Espargaro was obliged to retire
It was an emotional race for the NGM Forward Racing Team with two-time World Superbike Champion Colin Edwards waving goodbye to the American crowd at legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway for his last US round at the end of a long and successful career in MotoGP as well as Superbike World Championships. The Texas Tornado had a good start and was able to manage the race, finishing in 13th position.
The race didn’t go as expected for teammate Aleix Espargaro, who started from the fourth position. Aleix had a good start but lost some positions in the first laps. He was fighting hard to recover and he was in eighth position when he was hit by Stefan Bradl. In the incident his bike was damaged and the Spaniard was obliged to retire. Espargaro leaves Indianapolis seventh in the championship with 77 points and he looks forward to race in Brno next week.
Colin Edwards (13th, +1'08.919): “It was an emotional weekend thanks to the amazing support I have received here at Indy and from all over the world. The race was hard. I was counting the laps and on the slow down lap I waved goodbye to the crowd with the American flag that one guy of the troops gave me. It was great, but now it’s time to move on.”
Aleix Espargaro (DNF, 15 laps): “I had a good start but I was passed on the straight. I was doing my race with Smith and Dovizioso and I was able to keep my rhythm. It’s a pity that I was involved in this incident with Bradl. He hit me and my bike was damaged so I had to retire. It’s racing but we lost important points. We will be back stronger in Brno.”