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Thu Apr 24 14:46:27 SAST 2014

Regal Lorenzo eases to Italian victory

Sapa-AFP | 15 July, 2012 15:230 Comments
MotoGP of Italy - Qualifying
Jorge Lorenzo of Spain and Yamaha heads down a straight during qualifying for the Italian MotoGP at Mugello Circuit on July 14, 2012 in Scarperia, Italy
Image by: Mirco Lazzari gp / Getty Images

Spain’s 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo won the Italian MotoGP on Sunday to extend his lead in the overall standings.

The 25-year-old Yamaha rider — who ended a two race winless run having last won the British MotoGP on June 17 — came home clear of compatriot Dani Pedrosa on a Honda while Italian Andrea Dovizioso was third on another Yamaha.

It was Lorenzo’s 43rd career success and sees him extend his lead to 19 points over Pedrosa, who won last weekend’s German race.

However, Pedrosa’s Honda team-mate and defending world champion Casey Stoner saw his chances of bowing out in his final year on the circuit with the title fade further as he trailed in in eighth spot.

“This black mamba helmet has brought me the luck I was missing at Assen (a fortnight ago when he crashed and was then second in Germany),” said Lorenzo, who was recording his fifth win of the season.

“We made no mistakes all weekend. The start was tough but little by little I gained confidence and then when I opened a little gap I was able to relax and I cruised after that.” 

Pedrosa too was delighted.

“We did a good job in the race but it was very difficult with Jorge going at that pace,” said the 26-year-old.

“It was so difficult and I couldn’t catch him. Overall, though, it is a good moment and lets try and keep it like this and push hard.” 

Dovizioso was ecstatic at recording his fourth podium finish in five races which has seen him being linked with higher profile rides next season.

“I’m really happy to get a podium finish in this race which every rider dreams of doing,” said the 26-year-old.

“I thought I could stay with Lorenzo but it proved impossible.” 

Lorenzo had seized the lead on the second corner, coming up the inside of Pedrosa while Dovizioso stormed from seventh into third.

A lead group of five settled early on with Lorenzo leading Dovizioso with Pedrosa in third and German rookie Stefan Bradl in fourth with Nicky Hayden in fifth.

Stoner tried to make a move in passing Hector Barbera with just over 21 laps to go.

Pedrosa was desperately trying to pass Dovizioso to stop Lorenzo opening too much of a gap up front and managed to with 18 laps remaining but trailed his compatriot by over a second.

Valentino Rossi was charging a bit having started in a lowly 10th spot and passed 22-year-old Barbera as did Cal Crutchlow with 17 laps remaining as they zeroed in on trying to catch Stoner.

Lorenzo’s dominance was in stark contrast to his American team-mate Ben Spies, who was retreating down the field and the former world superbike champion was 12th with 16 laps remaining, not doing his chances of retaining his place at the stable much good.

He was to eventually finish 11th.

Stoner moved into fifth, past Hayden, with 14 laps to the finish and in pursuit of fourth spot which was occupied by Dovizioso as he had been overtaken by the impressive Bradl.

Stoner’s rough past couple of races continued as he exited the track a lap later and onto the gravel but was able to regain the race, but having fallen five spots into 10th.

Up front, though, Stoner’s team-mate Pedrosa had narrowed the gap on Lorenzo, but the latter effortlessly increased it within a lap as he went up a gear and with 10 laps of the race to go was almost two seconds ahead.

As Lorenzo sauntered to victory, Dovizioso reclaimed the final spot on the podium from Bradl with three laps remaining while Rossi seized fifth on the final lap from Hayden.

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