Lorenzo takes San Marino victory to narrow MotoGP championship gap
Jorge Lorenzo resisted pressure from pole-sitter Casey Stoner in the early stages of to take a dominant victory and set a new lap record. Dani Pedrosa chased down Stoner and passed him on lap 23 to finish second, meaning that Stoner’s championship lead over Lorenzo is now down to 35 points leaving the title wide open for the remaining five races of the season.
The conditions today were much cooler and more overcast than the previous two days. Whilst the race was declared dry, and every rider started on Bridgestone’s harder front and softer rear slicks, a few drops of rain started to fall on the grid as dark clouds threatened and on the first lap of the race the white flag was shown, indicating that riders were free to enter the pits and change to their wet bikes. The drops however made little difference to circuit grip.
The threat soon subsided, the white flags were withdrawn and the race was run on slick tyres meaning there still hasn’t been a flag-to-flag race this season (one in which it is necessary because of the weather for riders to change from slicks to wets or vice-versa mid-race).
The battle for fourth position intensified in the closing laps as Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies chased down Marco Simoncelli and the three traded paint and positions multiple times before Simoncelli emerged on top.
Taka Horio – general manager, bridgestone motorsport department: “Congratulations to Jorge and the Yamaha Factory team today for their performance today – not only does it close the fight for the championship title for the rest of the season but it is especially poignant for them as this weekend is the first time that Wayne Rainey has returned to Misano with the team so it’s an even more special feeling. There is always a lot of emotion and excitement at Misano, and we are proud to be an integral part of this.”
Hirohide Hamashima – assistant to director, motorsport tyre development division: “Conditions at the start of the race had a lot of people looking to the skies as the rain drops started to fall, and although it held off it made the opening laps tricky to judge how much the grip level had been affected. By lap four though Jorge, Casey and Dani were all under the existing lap record. Every rider chose the hard front and softer option rear slicks and I am satisfied with performance and consistency – Jorge set the new lap record on lap 12, he was lapping in the mid 1m 34s until the end and his total race time was 11 seconds faster than the previous best.”