Victory for Lorenzo at Laguna extends Championship lead Jorge Lorenzo's Championship lead was stretched to 72 points at Laguna Seca as the Fiat Yamaha rider won the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix ahead of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, in a round...
Victory for Lorenzo at Laguna extends Championship lead
Jorge Lorenzo's Championship lead was stretched to 72 points at Laguna Seca as the Fiat Yamaha rider won the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix ahead of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi, in a round nine race that saw Dani Pedrosa crash out when leading.
A trademark lightning start from Pedrosa saw him lead into turn one and the Spaniard appeared to be making a similar break for victory as he had done in the previous round, as he led the early part of the race whilst setting a fierce pace at the front.
However, on Lap 11 and with Lorenzo pressuring him for the lead the Repsol Honda rider crashed out at turn five, leaving his fellow Spaniard to take his M1 to a sixth win of the season as he tasted victory on the Californian circuit for the first time.
In second place at 3.517s behind Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner scored his best result of the season so far, his fourth podium in a row, and a comfortable finish with a distance almost ten seconds back to third place. That was taken by Valentino Rossi, the reigning World Champion achieving a superb podium finish in only his second race back from injury and one which he worked hard for throughout the race.
There were early ends to the race for rookies Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) and Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Aspar), the former of whom crashed whilst the latter retired, neither making it past lap four. By that stage Pedrosa was already rapid at the front with Stoner matching him for pace, but on lap five Lorenzo -- who had dropped to fourth at the start -- managed to pass the Australian who ran wide at turn three.
Then the drama really kicked in as Pedrosa crashed, leaving Lorenzo first with Stoner not far behind, and Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) in third with a big margin over those following. However, that gap was quite admirably shredded away by Rossi as he managed to make up the difference, eventually passing his fellow Italian with five laps to go to slot into third.
As the tyres started to go off towards the end there were changes further down the order, as Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) fought for the honour of highest placing American, a duel that presented plenty of enthralling moments of its own.
Lorenzo eventually crossed the line comfortably ahead of Stoner, with Rossi managing to hold off Dovizioso for the final podium spot. Hayden edged out Spies for fifth place, with the latter's team-mate Colin Edwards seventh. The top ten was completed by Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki). The remaining two riders to finish the race in 11th and 12th were the duo of Roger Lee Hayden (LCR Honda) and Alex de Angelis (Interwetten Honda MotoGP).
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) suffered the disappointment of crashing out two-thirds of the way through the race when battling with team-mate Melandri for eighth, whilst Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Racing) fell three laps from the end when in a top-ten position.
Lorenzo now has 210 points, with Pedrosa remaining second in the standings on 138 and Dovizioso third on 115.