Championship takes dramatic change of direction following bizarre race

Jorge Lorenzo has surged ahead in this year’s MotoGP World Championship with the Yamaha Factory Racing star sealing another victory at today’s GP Aperol di San Marino e Riviera di Rimini at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. The race began under bizarre and dramatic conditions that saw Lorenzo’s main rival Dani Pedrosa dropping from pole position to the back of the grid while Cardion AB Motoracing rider Karel Abraham had to start from pitlane.

We have to be happy with our result and the point advantage we now have.

Jorge Lorenzo

The drama at the start began with Abraham stalling his machine on the grid with a number of other riders then pulling away from the grid then being recalled to their start positions again and then a full re-start being decided upon by race direction. While Abraham’s crew worked on getting the Ducati GP12 running once again, the Repsol Honda team was having similar problems with Pedrosa’s machine. The RC213V failed to start on the grid and then on the second sighting lap Pedrosa encountered problems with his front wheel leading to the Spaniard falling behind the Pace Car meaning he had to automatically start from the rear of the grid while Abraham had to start from pitlane on his second bike.

Following the second sighting lap the race finally got underway with Lorenzo grabbing the holeshot while home favorite Valentino Rossi got a fantastic start to jump into second to the delight of his legions of fans who made the short trip from Rossi’s hometown in Tavulia that is just minutes away from the Misano circuit. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl jumped into third place behind Rossi with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow both settled into 4th and 5th positions with Ben Spies in 5th for the Yamaha Factory Racing team and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista in 6th.

Disaster struck for Pedrosa with just less than two laps gone in the race when Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera outbraked himself only to run into the rear wheel of Pedrosa with both riders then crashing out of the race while CRT rider Power Electronics Aspar rider Aleix Espargaro narrowly missed out on crashing with them. The bad luck also affected Abraham who then crashed on his second machine after suffering a big high side while pushing to catch up with the rest of the field. Mattia Pasini (Speed Master) retired from the race after a crash on the second lap.

Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team
Valentino Rossi, Ducati Marlboro Team

Photo by: Ducati Corse

Lorenzo pulled out a 1.5s lead over Rossi within a couple of laps and Bradl was right on the seven times MotoGP World Champion’s rear wheel while Dovizioso and Crutchlow continued to run in formation. The Monster Yamaha Team also suffered bad luck then on lap 4 of 27 when Crutchlow crashed while looking for a way past his teammate. The battle for 5th was also heating up with Bautista passing Spies and both riders locked together in the early stages of the race. Nicky Hayden returned to action this weekend after a lay off at Brno following injuries sustained at the Indianapolis GP and he was leading Jonathan Rea who was filling in for Casey Stoner on the Repsol Honda team.

The CRT battle was being led by Epargaro with teammate Randy de Puniet close behind and Avintia Blusen’s rider Yonny Hernandez following these. Grid positions remained for much of a third of the race with Lorenzo maintaining his lead over Rossi who in turn was keeping Bradl in check while Dovizioso began to fall off this battle. Hayden continued to lead Rea while Espargaro was still top CRT. Moving nearer to the final ten laps of the race the fight for 4th place heated up with Bautista passing Dovizioso while Lorenzo continued to stretch out his lead little by little.

The majority of the riders started to settle moving into the final five laps but the race for the final place on the podium was still raging with Bautista intent on grabbing the third position for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team while the race claimed one more casualty in the form of Espargaro who crashed out of the top CRT position. Lorenzo wheelied across the line to secure victory and added a massive 25 points to his title hopes while Rossi was thrilled with his second position and jumped off his bike to celebrate with the home fans and Bautista held onto the final position on the podium.

Thrilled with his victory Lorenzo was happy to finish the weekend in the best way possible. He said, “It’s been a very tough weekend because Dani and I have been very close in the qualifying and the warm up. Unfortunately today he had really bad luck, first with the lights at the beginning of the race and then Hector took him out. This was really unfortunate for him. In Holland we were unlucky and today he was unlucky, anything can happen in these races. We have to be happy with our result and the point advantage we now have, for sure we are much more calm now than before the race!

“The race was difficult for everyone, only having qualifying was not enough when you have to set up the chassis and electronics and everything for the race. It was hotter during the race so there was less grip too. I almost crashed in turn one but managed to save it too!” Lorenzo added.

Rossi was ecstatic with his result and delighted to dedicate it to the memory of his close friend Simoncelli. “It was a really nice race, and I’m very happy. It’s a great result, which I’d like to dedicate to Sic and his family, Paolo, Rossella, and Martina,” Rossi said while continuing, “I’d also like to thank all the guys who work with me and everyone at Ducati Corse who are giving their best, like me: after two difficult years, we really needed that. I’m very pleased because we did a dry race at a high level, always with a fast pace, and with a limited gap to Lorenzo. We worked well.

Alvaro Bautista, Honda Gresini
Alvaro Bautista, Honda Gresini

Photo by: Team Gresini

The new frame and swingarm allow us to make more changes to the geometry, and in fact here the feeling with the front was improved and the bike also seemed to be better balanced on acceleration. The setup that we found was also good, as I managed to be fast and consistent for the whole race. It will be important to continue working well and do our best to take the Ducati as high as possible in the next races as well,” Rossi added.

Bautista was very happy taking third for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team and the significance of winning at the track Marco Simoncelli is linked with so intimately. He said, “It is always nice to finish on the podium but especially for me today with this being my first in MotoGP. Above all this is a very special weekend for me and the team because our memories of Marco are so strong coming here to the circuit named in his honor. After a few tough races we have worked well here and managed to fight for the podium at last. I am so happy for the team and for Marco because I am sure that wherever he is right now he was pushing us along.

“I could feel his hand on my shoulder today and I realized at the end that my name had come loose from my leathers so you could say it was Marco that was with us today. It has been an extraordinary day and I almost crashed at the start – I picked myself up on my right elbow. I am happy for everybody who has believed in me and I want to dedicate this very special podium also to them.” Bautista added.

Lorenzo now leads the championship by 38 points following Pedrosa’s DNF with just 5 races left. The championship moves to Aragon, Spain for Round 14 on 30th September.