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GP Week : Issue 50
turned the tables magnificently at the Spaniard’s home Catalunyan GP – with a master-class in inventive riding and last-lap aggression. His victory, by a mere 0.095 of a G second, came after Lorenzo appeared to have outfoxed him over an all-action last lap. Rossi lined up a last-corner pass so daring that it took the younger rider completely by surprise. Montmelo 2009 was one of the very finest of Rossi’s many vintage races, and his elation afterwards showed he knew it. He compared it with his epic battle with Casey Stoner at Laguna last year, when he used a slower bike to bamboozle the Australian, until his rival ran off. “But they were two different races, because unfortunately Casey was not there to the end. Now I am so excited, I am so happy, to win in this last corner. I dreamed of this pass for the last week.” He’d learned it, he said, from Stoner, who did the same to him when he beat him by an even narrower margin in 2007. “After a race like this, in Italian we say: ‘Mamma Mia!’,”he added, before congratulating Lorenzo on a “fortissimo” race. The team-mates arrived with Lorenzo challenging his senior companion for predominance in the Fiat Yamaha team; and Lorenzo got the upper hand by taking pole position from Rossi, by the narrowest of margins. Lorenzo led away, Rossi and Stoner in pursuit. After three laps Rossi took the lead under braking into the first corner, but while the Yamahas gradually gapped the pursuing Ducati, Rossi couldn’t shake off Lorenzo. Now he changed tactics, letting the youngster back ahead on lap 13 while he reserved his fight for the final laps. At the start of lap 23, Rossi moved smoothly past at the end of the long 24 ETTING beaten at home by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo was a low for Valentino Rossi. Two weeks later he straight. With three laps to go, he would try to break away. But Lorenzo was stuck like glue. As they started the last lap Lorenzo returned the compliment. Rossi tried an impossible pass at Turn Four. No go. At the end of the back straight came the next chance, usually the last chance. Lorenzo took a defensive tight entry line, Rossi’s move round the outside was doomed to failure. Just three corners left, and now the master-stroke. Rossi lined him up so he came out of the second one faster. Somehow he was still able to take a tighter line into the final bend. He got to the apex first, and Lorenzo was beaten. “I have had a lot of last lap battles, and normally I win,”he said later, gracious in defeat. “But today I had a battle with the best and I couldn’t beat him. He was more clever or more brave, and I didn’t close enough the line. I didn’t expect he could pass me there,”he said. Any chance that Stoner might have taken a role was thwarted by illness that gave him cramps and left him exhausted. He dropped back in third, only to come under pressure from Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso, after the Italian has got ahead of his determined still-injured team-mate Dani Pedrosa after six laps. “I’ve been slowly getting a little more sore and a little sicker each day,”Stoner said. “Halfway through I was absolutely dead, so I decided just to get points. I managed to keep braking late to keep Andrea behind me.” Pedrosa succumbed also to Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) in the second half of the race for fifth; Colin Edwards (Tech 3 Yamaha) beat Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) to eighth. Then came Mike Kallio (Pramac Ducati) after another strong ride, heading Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati): it was the American’s first top ten this year. Vermeulen, de Angelis, Toseland, Melandri and Gibernau cleared up the rest of the points; Toni Elias and Yuki Takahashi crashed out. Pos 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 MOTOGP| Round 6 CATTALU # Rider 46 99 27 4 65 3 5 14 36 69 7 15 52 33 59 88 41 V. ROSSI J. LORENZO C. STONER A. DOVIZIOSO L. CAPIROSSI D. PEDROSA C. EDWARDS R. DE PUNIET M. KALLIO N. HAYDEN C. VERMEULEN A. DE ANGELIS J. TOSELAND M. MELANDRI S. GIBERNAU N. CANEPA G. TALMACSI Team Fiat Yamaha Fiat Yamaha Ducati Marl Repsol Hon Rizla Suzuki Repsol Hon Monster Yam LCR Honda Pramac Rac Ducati Marl Rizla Suzuki San Carlo H Monster Yam Hayate Raci Grupo Franc Pramac Rac Scot Racing Points – MotoGP: Valentino Rossi 106, Jorge Loren Andrea Dovizioso 69, Dani Pedrosa 67, Colin Edwar 250cc: Alvaro Bautista 108, Hiroshi Aoyama 96, He Pasini 64, Marco Simoncelli 61, Thomas Luthi 52, R 125cc: Julian Simon 84, Bradley Smith 82.5, Andre Gadea 59, Nicolas Terol 57.5, Marc Marquez 49, Jo