History repeats for rocketman Lorenzo in Estoril; Rossi fourth Jorge Lorenzo was untouchable once again in Portugal this afternoon and took a stunning fourth win of the season, 16 months on from his maiden MotoGP victory at this same track. His...
History repeats for rocketman Lorenzo in Estoril; Rossi fourth
Jorge Lorenzo was untouchable once again in Portugal this afternoon and took a stunning fourth win of the season, 16 months on from his maiden MotoGP victory at this same track. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi had a disappointing day and came home a distant fourth, although the Fiat Yamaha Team secured the Teams' Championship title, the first leg of the 'triple crown'.
22-year-old Lorenzo had looked invincible all weekend and today was no different as he blasted off from pole for the 35th time in his career, reaching turn one in second place but regaining the lead a couple of corners later. Wearing special 'astronaut' leathers and helmet to commemorate the Moon Landing and match the one-off white 'Fiat Punto Evo' livery on his YZR-M1, the Mallorcan was unchallenged from then on and stretched his lead until the end, finishing a commanding 6.294 seconds clear of Casey Stoner to take his 26th career win.
Rossi had struggled to match his team-mate's pace all weekend and a problem with rear grip plagued him today and compounded his difficulties. He dropped to fourth on the first lap after starting from second and was unable to make any headway into the gap to Stoner and Pedrosa, eventually coming home some 13 seconds behind the Spaniard. It was the Italian's 100th start for Yamaha, from which he has won an incredible 43 times.
Yamaha are now assured of one of their riders being crowned World Champion but with Rossi's lead now cut to 18 points from Lorenzo in second, the tension is mounting as to which one it will be. MotoGP now has a week off before the 'flyaway' double-header in Australia and Malaysia.
Masahiko Nakajima - Fiat Yamaha Team Director
"Today we have achieved the first objective of our season - the Fiat Yamaha Team becoming 2009 Teams' Champion. I would like to thank our riders, our team staff and YMC MotoGP Group Engineers for their invaluable support, which has allowed us to achieve this great result. My appreciation also goes to our sponsors and technical partners, because their contribution has been crucial for Yamaha and for our Factory Team. We look forward to working with all of them in the future and to being able to repay their support with many more victories".
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1stTime: 45'35.522
"What a day! I'm so happy to win here again in the same track where I won my first MotoGP race last year. I worked so hard in the break on my fitness with my father and maybe that's given me a little bit of extra speed, I certainly felt so strong this weekend and it is great to win like this after being top in every session as well. I got a good start and it took me just a couple of corners to get past Dani and take the lead, but I honestly didn't expect to be unchallenged from then on or to finish with such a big gap. This is a good track for me but I am fast more or less everywhere now. The championship is closer now; it's still not easy but we have nothing to lose! I'm proud that we have won the Team Title and I want to say thanks and congratulations to everyone. I liked my leathers and helmet a lot this weekend and I wanted to celebrate Neil Armstong and his landing on the moon so this is why I made this 'moonwalk show' after the race!"
Valentino Rossi - Position: 4thTime: +23.428
"It was a very difficult race for me. I was never able to be fast because I did not have enough grip in the rear and our tyre did not work well, but I think it was more a problem of setting. After a few laps I was in great difficulties and I immediately understood that this was not going to be "our" race. Throughout the practice sessions I had some problems but I thought that today I would be able to at least stay with Stoner and Pedrosa, but they made another step forward for the race and then there was no chance for me. On Friday I was three tenths off the pace and unfortunately this stayed the same all weekend and in the race today. Here in Estoril we struggled last year as well, so it might be that, with our setting, the rear tyre gets very hot and this causes a lack of grip. It is a pity that I am off the podium, but we have three more races and they are three great tracks. We must think race by race and we must work to understand what the problem was today in order to make sure that we fix it in time for Phillip Island".
Daniele Romagnoli - Team Manager
"We were confident today that we had a strong chance for a good race, but we didn't expect such domination. We were consistently fast through all the weekend but even so the team made another improvement after qualifying and Jorge rode the best he's ever ridden. Now the championship is even more interesting and the last few races will bring great attention on us all, but we're looking forward to the challenge! Finally I want to say well done to everyone in the team for winning the Team title again."
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
"In reality, we weren't really racing today. Valentino experienced some problems, which meant that he was never able to make the tyres work well and he was unable to be competitive. We will go into these problems in detail in our technical debrief later this afternoon. Valentino was bravo to finish the race in a very difficult situation, but he knew that taking points was key and we got 13 very important points here. As a consequence of the entire season, which has been dominated by the two Fiat Yamaha Team riders, we have won the Team title today, which is the first step on the road to our main goal".