By: Gordon Hatch, MotoGP Correspondent
Reigning World Champion runs perfect race - reduces points gap to Casey Stoner
Jorge Lorenzo powered to his second win of the 2011 MotoGP Championship under blazing sun at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, Italy after the Factory Yamaha rider ran a perfect race to take advantage of his Repsol Honda championship rivals Casey Stoner and Andrea Dovizioso.
Lorenzo got a good start from 5th on the grid and both he and Dovizioso quickly made their way past Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and the second Factory Yamaha rider, Ben Spies. Stoner meanwhile had made the perfect start and quickly began to pull away from the rest of the field with Dovizioso and Lorenzo battling it out for the first two thirds of the race.
Stoner was in a different time zone on his RC212V at the front of the race and put in fast and consistent times right up to the last ten laps when the Australian began losing chunks of time to his teammate and Lorenzo, who then both began to close Stoner down. Lorenzo’s squad didn’t fail to inform their rider of Stoner’s loss of time and he quickly made his way passed Dovizioso. Within another two laps he cut his way under Stoner and pulled away to triumphantly cross the line in front of the packed Italian grandstand.
This has been one of the sweetest victories in a long time.
The reigning MotoGP champion was delighted with his race win saying, “This has been one of the sweetest victories in a long time. The victory in Jerez was not ‘real’ because it was raining. It’s been 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. Now 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. I did a good start again and now I just want to watch the race again on TV. Congratulations to all of my team, they never gave up. I knew it would have been difficult today, but the ‘martillo’ is back!”
While Lorenzo celebrated his race win, the Italian crowds were aslo cheering but more so for Dovizioso, who also capitalized on his teammate’s problems to take second position sending the crowds into tumultuous applause. Dovizioso was ecstatic in his post race celebrations and even left his bike mounted on one of the crash barriers to be closer to the adoration of his fans.
Speaking after the race Dovizioso said, “Mugello is always a special event and the feeling on the podium is unbelievable. 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.
“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 tyres 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,” said Dovizioso.
“This second position is so important for the Championship, because I earned some good points and reduced the gap. Casey and Jorge are really strong but we have shown that we are there, the season is long and we just need to believe it. I want to thank the team and all the people around me. We have a winning bike and we are working hard in all areas,” Dovizioso added.
Speaking about his race, Stoner was disappointed with what was shaping up to be a perfect weekend after finding a good set-up for the race only to be done in by having the wrong pressure in his tyres.
“I can't say I'm totally happy with the result today, we started the race very strong and everything felt fantastic on the bike, however, we had a problem with the tyres after a few laps,” said the current championship leader while continuing, “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 tyres 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 tyres were able to warm up very quickly, but then the tyre overheated and I lost all the 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,” Stoner added.
Coming home in a hard fought 4th position was last week’s winner Spies who swapped places throughout the race with Simoncelli who stuck to his decision to be less aggressive this week, his intentions paid off and he came home in a safe 5th position. The Italian crowd’s hopes of a dream win with Ducati Marllboro and Valetino Rossi wasn’t to be but the seven times MotoGP Champion battled hard and worked his way from his starting position of 12th to 6th in half the race distance. Yet with the race leaders well and truly gone Rossi could only hold station to take championship points and valuable data on his new GP11.1 for his crew to analyze.
The middle of the field was where the majority of the action was and after Rossi made his way through, the battle for the top ten positions saw some tough but fair moves and eventually Hector Barbera (Mapfre Aspar) came home in 7th just ahead of his fellow countryman Dani Pedrosa, who returned to action with his Repsol Honda team this weekend after being out of action since his incident with Simoncelli in Le Mans earlier this year.
Colin Edwards claimed 9th position on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 finishing just ahead of his compatriot Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro), who took the final spot in the top ten to give the Italian crowd something more to cheer about. The two American’s finished ahead of Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini) while the Japanese rider crossed the line ahead of Karel Abraham on his Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati GP11.
Rizla Suzuki rider Alvaro Bautista finished his race in 13th position after falling off the back of the batle for the mid pack positions. Following Bautista into 14th was Randy de Puniet for the Pramac Racing team. The final position was filled by LCR Honda’s Toni Elias while Cal Crutchlow retired out of the race with what appeared to be more front-end issues with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1.
The MotoGP Championship now moves to Germany in two weeks time and Stoner (152pts) now leading Lorenzo (133pts) and in third is Dovizioso on 119 points.