News 3 May 2010

MotoGP: Lorenzo steals home victory at Jerez from Pedrosa

Lorenzo took a memorable first home victory at Jerez on Sunday.

Lorenzo took a memorable first home victory at Jerez on Sunday.

Jorge Lorenzo branded Sunday’s Gran Premio bwin de España at Jerez “a beautiful race” after edging out his compatriot Dani Pedrosa to take the win in front of an enthusiastic Spanish crowd.

Pedrosa brought his Repsol Honda home in second place, to make it a Spanish one-two, with reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi rounding out the podium in third. The 25 points secured today move Lorenzo to the top of the championship standings.

His traditional lightning start to the race saw pole holder Pedrosa lead into the first turn, with Rossi making up two places from the grid to move into second place. Nicky Hayden also got a good start from the second row of the grid to slot into third place as the field headed towards turn two.

Loris Capirossi’s race ended at the last turn on lap three, as the veteran Italian pushed just a little too hard, lost the front and crashed uninjured. Aleix Espargaro also crashed shortly after, but was able to return to the race following running repairs in pit lane.

Ben Spies was the next casualty, pitting and retiring from the race after struggling with a front tyre problem on his Yamaha M1 while running in the top ten.

As the midway point of the race approached Pedrosa was leading well at a second-and-a-half ahead of Rossi, with Lorenzo a further two seconds back. The fight for seventh place was a close one, with San Carlo Honda Gresini team-mates Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli battling one another amongst a group of five riders.

At the same time Lorenzo was closing the gap on Rossi and on lap 21 passed his teammate before turning his focus to fellow countryman, Pedrosa. From there a superb duel developed between the two Spaniards.

With two laps to go Lorenzo caught up with the factory Honda rider and made his move to pass, but Pedrosa held his line and the two almost touched as the excitement continued to increase.

In the end it came down to the last lap and as Pedrosa drifted wide at the Dry Sack corner while trying to defend his line Lorenzo swept through to assume the lead, which he held to the chequered flag. Crossing the line the Fiat Yamaha rider was 0.543s ahead of Pedrosa, with Rossi placing third to complete the podium.

Lorenzo promptly celebrated his win by jumping fully clothed into the lake in the centre of the Jerez circuit…

“I saw the lake on Thursday and thought it would be funny to jump in. I think the fans liked it, but I didn’t really think about how heavy I’d be with wet leathers and for a minute I thought I wasn’t going to get out,” declared Lorenzo. “The dream nearly turned into a nightmare.”

The Fiat Yamaha rider was eventually rescued by marshals and returned to pit lane to continue the victory celebrations.

“After a bad start I rode like a demon to get the front and I had a great fight with Dani when I eventually caught him. When I tried to pass him the first time we nearly crashed, but I knew I had to try again on the final lap. I know it’s better to win races calmly from the front; today I had to fight on every lap,” concluded the new Championship leader.

Completing the top five were Ducati Marlboro riders Nicky Hayden, who repeated his fourth spot from Qatar, and Casey Stoner, with Andrea Dovizioso taking sixth place.

Mika Kallio completed an impressive rise from last place on the grid to take seventh, with Melandri, Randy de Puniet and Álvaro Bautista also placing inside the top ten.

An eventful Moto2 race saw Toni Elías take his first Grand Prix victory since his win in Estoril back in 2006 after a shortened 17-lap contest following a pile-up on the second lap of the original race.

A coming together between Simone Corsi and Shoya Tomizawa at the Dry Sack corner saw the Japanese rider slide out and deposit fuel on the track surface, which brought down a number of following riders. The race was red flagged and then restarted 30 minutes later, after some frantic work in pit lane to repair the bikes that had been involved in the crash.

With 42 riders fighting for position and all lapping within one second of each other more crashes were inevitable, with Karel Abraham, Andrea Iannone and Joan Olivè all early fallers.

Kenny Noyes was the first rider to get to the front and then try to gap the pursuing pack but, try as he might, the American simply couldn’t escape from the clutches of Toni Elias, Thomas Lüthi and championship leader, Tomizawa. With six laps to go, nine riders were still in with a chance of victory.

Overtaking moves were not in short supply as the frontrunners constantly pushed one another, and as the final laps approached Elias, Tomizawa, Lüthi and Takahashi weree nose to tail.

To the delight of the Spanish crowd it was Elías who pulled off a double overtake to take the chequered flag, 0.190s ahead of Tomizawa who maintains his Championship lead with his podium finish. Lüthi, at a further seven-thousandths behind completed the top three in a fantastic grandstand finish, as he moved into third place in the overall standings.

Takahashi and Corsi both finished inside the top five. Sergio Gadea followed Corsi home, meaning the top six riders were all former Grand Prix winners. Noyes, Julián Simón (Mapfre Aspar), Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up), and Yonny Hernández (Blusens-STX) completing the top ten.

Pol Espargaró kicked off the Spanish domination of all three classes at today’s Gran Premio bwin de España by taking a hard fought win and led an all-Spanish 125cc podium at Jerez, ahead of Nico Terol and Esteve Rabat.

There was immediate drama before the opening lap had been completed, as pole position holder and one of the strong favourites for victory on home soil Marc Márquez crashed out, sustaining a dislocation in his right arm in the process.

The early stages of the race saw a group of five riders establish themselves as the main competitors for the podium, and by the midway point it was still Terol , Espargaró, Efrén Vázquez, Sandro Cortese and Tito Rabat who were challenging one another at the front of the race.

Cortese’s chances of securing a podium finish ended around lap 16 when the suspension linkage on the rear of his bike broke and he eventually finished in a very creditable 11th place with no rear suspension. Shortly after Cortese dropped back Vázquez crashed out, leaving Espargaró, Terol and Rabat to sort out the final podium positions between them.

Coming into the final lap Espargaró pulled a gap on his pursuers to take the win ahead of Championship leader Terol, who maintains his lead in the overall standings, with Rabat a further 13 seconds back. Bradley Smith took fourth place at the track at which he won last season, with Tomoyoshi Koyama completing the top five.

Alberto Moncayo (Andalucia Cajasol) was sixth as he added another Spanish name to the top ten, with Johann Zarco (WTR San Marino Team), Randy Krummenacher (Stipa-Molenaar Racing), Alexis Masbou (Team Ongetta) and Jasper Iwema (CBC Corse) also securing top-ten finishes.

Click here for detailed results

Jorge Lorenzo: “It has always been one of my dreams to win a MotoGP race in Spain and this was like a movie, everything that could possibly happen did! It was a very hard race because I made such a bad start and then found it very difficult in the first laps – I gave myself a tough job to do. After that I started to feel better and rode like a demon to get to the front. Once I passed Valentino I knew that I couldn’t take it easy, I had to try everything to win and it was all I could think about. I had a great fight with Dani and in one moment we nearly crashed so I had to try again, on the very last lap! I know it’s better to win races calmly, from the front, but lately that hasn’t been the way for us and I have had to fight on every lap. I saw the lake on Thursday and thought it would be funny to jump in and I think the fans liked it, but I didn’t really think about how heavy I’d be with wet leathers and for a minute I thought I wasn’t going to get out! This has been an amazing day, I can’t believe I’ve achieved this dream of mine, in front of all the Spanish fans at this magical place.”
Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi: “This just wasn’t our race this year. We have struggled all weekend, first with my shoulder and then with the bike, and in the race today I couldn’t do any more than third. I got a great start and was fast with the new tyre, I tried to go with Dani but then I started to slide a lot and I just had to play it safe. I made no mistakes and I’m happy about my race in the circumstances, these 16 points are very important. At the end I had a front-row seat to the Spanish party and I admit I was sorry not to be involved, Jorge did a great job today and I think it was very exciting for all the fans. I want to say thank you to Dr. Costa and all the staff at the Clinica Mobile, plus everyone back in Italy who has worked on my shoulder to allow me to be able to race this weekend. I will hopefully be back to full strength in Le Mans so I’m looking forward to that.”

Nicky Hayden: “Fourth place is no disaster but I was hoping to stay closer to the top three towards the end and put up a bit of a fight. I’m not happy to be nine seconds adrift but we’re trying to build something here and we’ve had another solid weekend. The team, the bike, everything has been great this weekend but we just fell a couple of tenths short on race day. To be honest I thought we might find a little extra for the race, like we did in Qatar, but it wasn’t to be. Like I said yesterday my guys worked like dogs to put me in this position today and we’ve got more to do tomorrow so I want to give a big thanks to them. This is the Ducati factory team and we don’t jump up and down at fourth place but we’ll take it. We got some great data to work from that should help us be stronger at Le Mans and hopefully we can keep this upward trend going.”

Casey Stoner: “I’m disappointed with today’s performance. We started the weekend strongly but only got worse compared to our rivals as the sessions went by and we were never able to improve on the base set-up that we started out with. I think we fell into the trap of making changes to the bike that were too radical and it only served to confuse us because we never went in the right direction. I made an okay start to the race and felt comfortable over the opening laps, Jorge was actually slowing my progress at that point and I was eager to get past him and chase Nicky and the others but as soon as I came up to pass Nicky I lost the front and almost crashed. The bike was pretty much on the ground but I managed to pick it up and then tried to push on from there but the front folded two or three more times on that lap alone. That shot my confidence so Jorge was able to pass me easily and from that moment I just wanted to take as many points as I could. As the tyres went off in the second half of the race the bike felt better and I had more contact with the front but it was little too late and I couldn’t catch Nicky. We need to work hard to find some answers in the test tomorrow and move on to Le Mans ready to battle again.”

Dani Pedrosa: “Well, this result is a little bit surprising for me and, even though I came so close to winning, I’m pleased to be on the podium and so close to the top step. I didn’t think I was going to be able to lead the race for this long and I was nervous at the start because I knew that to maintain a front-running rhythm was going to be very difficult for us. So I was pleased to be out in front of the race, but then I saw on the pit board that Lorenzo was closing at a pace that was half a second faster than me and Rossi and I thought, “Mmm, maybe this is going to be difficult!”. I tried to hold him off for as long as possible but in the end I couldn’t. Second place after leading for all but half a lap is disappointing obviously, but after the first race at Qatar this is a good result for us. I’d like to thank all the fans who came here and supported us today, and all the people around me in the Repsol Honda Team. We must keep working really hard – starting with the test tomorrow – so that we can improve for Le Mans.”

Andrea Dovizioso: “I made a quick start and my first few laps were good and I was able to get past a few riders and climb to sixth place. In the central part of the race we had a good rhythm and my pace compared to the front riders wasn’t too bad. I maintained this until the final five laps when it was clear that I couldn’t catch the riders ahead and so I eased off. The grip levels here were quite low and it was important to get the electronic controls working well, but in this area we didn’t get things right today. So, even though I’m pleased my rhythm has improved from last year here, I am disappointed with the race result. We will keep on working and I’m very happy that tomorrow we have the opportunity to test the new material – the new chassis and the new engine – so we have the chance to continue the progress we’ve been making through winter testing and at the first race. Dani was very fast today and I’d like to give my compliments to him because he did a very good race and has shown what the machine can be capable of. I’m confident that we can be competitive at the next race at Le Mans.”

Marco Melandri: “That was definitely better than Qatar, but I’m not very happy with the first part of the race. It was hard to ride. I made a good start but I didn’t feel comfortable riding, when I hit the brakes the bike was very unstable. It got better as the race went on, but my engine mapping lost me some power. In any case, I had a good fight with Kallio and tried to get past him for seventh at the end, but he had more acceleration and I couldn’t make it up on the brakes. I feel that we have made a step forward, and we will continue working in order to get in even better shape.”

Randy de Puniet: “Doubtless we are a bit disappointed because we aimed to get a different result today. After a very positive qualification I got a bad start from the second row and ended the first lap in 12th position. From there it was a very hard race for me! The race was very close with many riders doing almost the same lap time and after a few laps I started to have some issues with the front tyre. In those conditions I could not keep the pace I had yesterday because I lost the front several times. However, I am still holding sixth in the points standings and our bike is working well enough, so we must continue working in this direction.”

Marco Simoncelli: “Let’s say that this seventh place leaves a completely different taste in the mouth to Qatar. I had a good start and moved up places, fighting with Melandri, Kallio, Edwards, Spies, De Puniet and Bautista. Unfortunately in the end I was only able to finish ahead of one of those riders. But it was a good race and I was still very fast at the end; I even felt that at seven laps from the flag I was a bit stronger than the rest of the group. But when my bike started to slide the other riders upped their pace. It’s another eleventh place, but a more positive one.”

Hiroshi Aoyama: “I didn’t make a good start and then I made a mistake. After braking too hard I had to avoid crashing into another rider and had to go wide. After that I lost contact with the other riders. This was not an easy race for me. I am so sorry for my team to have destroyed all their work of the weekend with this mistake. I really hope the next race will be better.”

Colin Edwards: “I think I’ve had one good race at Jerez in my entire career and today wasn’t it. This weekend has been a struggle and I’ve never been comfortable on the bike to show the pace I know I am capable of. Right from the start I had issues with the rear grip and I couldn’t hold any load on the tyre at full lean angle. That also created some problems with the front-end, so I just struggled with the balance of the bike. It’s the exact same issue that I had in Qatar even though the set-up I’m running is quite a bit different. I’d just like to be in a race. At the moment I just feel like I’m riding around and suffering. I can only look forward to Le Mans knowing that I go really well at that track and so does the Yamaha.”

Ben Spies: “It’s just one of those things that can happen but it’s really unfortunate because after coming here and learning the track really quick I thought we had a really good package for the race. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team had worked really hard but I just had some problem with the front-end. I’m not sure what the problem is but I’ve looked at the data and you can clearly see I had an issue. The bike just wasn’t reacting like it should and it is a big shame. I got a really good start and was right behind Casey but pretty much from the first lap I knew I had a problem. I tried to round around the problem but at the end of the day I wasn’t going to be scoring any points and I’d have risked crashing if I’d continued. The consolation is that I know we had the speed for a good result and there are a lot of positive points to take from the weekend. We can go to Le Mans confident that I’ll be able to show more of my true potential.”

Mika Kallio: “It’s been one of my best races since I’m a MotoGP rider. I had a great start which made me not lose the posting by the group of the best riders: I have recovered the gap since the first lap and I was able to take four places. Lap after lap I saw that the changes made on my bike were good and they made me registered very good lap times. I enjoyed very much to fight with Simoncelli, Melandri and De Puniet. I then conquered the position in front of the riders that were fighting with me for seventh position and I made it to keep it in the last four laps. I am very happy with the result for the team and the technicians who have always supported me throughout this weekend. ”

Aleix Espargarò: “Unfortunately was not the race that I hoped, I really wanted to get a good result on this circuit, as it was the first Spanish round of the year. I had little grip problem at the start and I found myself in last place after the first corner, then when I was recovering some positions I felt during the fourth lap and damaged the brake pedal. I made it to keep my bike running and I went to the box to check the situation. Even if I had lost some minutes to change the pedal I decided to go back on track again to demonstrate my value on this track. I later had to return again to the pit box to make further changes on the bike. I now have my first point of this season, I know is not so much, but I hope to get a better result in the next Grand Prix.”

Álvaro Bautista: “Yes, I have finished my first race in MotoGP! I was not my best race though, because I didn’t start too good and I had a bit of a problem with the bike. It felt like it was pushing me the wrong way in the corners and I couldn’t turn in properly like I could in practice. Although the bike was not perfect I tried to get the maximum from it and pushed as hard as I could. I got up to the group fighting for seventh to twelfth positions and I was able to pass some of them and that was a good thing. I would like to enjoy riding the bike more, but I am new to this category and it is important to improve the bike before I can do that. Sometimes we go in the right way, but also sometimes we go in the wrong way, so we need to keep trying to improve. Tomorrow we have a big test and we will search hard for a solution to make the GSV-R enjoyable to ride. I am happy to finish in the top 10, this is a good result, but I think if the bike was like practice I could have done better. I am very happy with the whole team, they are all fantastic and they are working very, very hard. I want to thank all of them and also Suzuki and Rizla for all the support.

Loris Capirossi: “This morning we tried a different setting in the warm-up and I felt quite confident for this afternoon because of that. I started the race quite aggressive and I overtook a few guys – which was good – and the bike was working well, but I crashed on the third lap. In the last corner I braked like normal and flicked the bike in, but I lost the front – I don’t know why! I tried to pick up the bike to finish the race, but the engine was off so that was the end for me. I feel really sorry for everyone involved because we’d tried a different way to work on the bike and I think we have a good idea how to improve our potential in the future. I want to say sorry because I don’t want to crash, but sometimes it happens. We now have a test tomorrow and we can carry on with the direction we found this weekend and try to be more competitive.”