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GP Week : Issue 98
that had been processional up front. Lorenzo was second, closing to within 1.9 seconds at the finish only because Dani had slacked off. Ten laps earlier the gap had been more than five seconds. But he too was far from celebration: "I really can't speak too much. After what happened, it doesn't matter about the race." He too had held the same position from start to finish. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Rossi was third, and had to fight a little to get there. Stoner had held the position, and as Rossi closed up after ten laps he was himself under pressure from Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda). After complaining that his shoulder was causing problems in braking, Rossi took two attempts to get past Stoner, the Australian passing him straight back the first time on lap nine. Two laps later Rossi got past on the final right-hander, and managed to hold him at bay through the subsequent left. And that battle was over. One lap later, Dovizioso was also past the Australian's Marlboro Ducati, and from that point on the 2007 champion continued to drop back, to a lonely fifth. Dovi tried to lean on Rossi as best he could, but couldn't make any impression and had lost touch by the end. There was a certain amount of to-and-fro behind, with a little of it provided by the next two over the line, Monster Tech 3 team- mates Ben Spies and Colin Edwards. Spies, with prior track knowledge, had qualified fifth, but bogged on the line to finish lap one tenth. He was soon picking his way through the midfield, and was up to seventh by lap six. Edwards was sixth, already five seconds down on Dovizioso; Spies quickly closed up and was ahead by lap 12. Both were alone from there to the end. Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) had a spirited ride from near the back to work his way through the pack at the rear. By the finish he was 2.7 seconds ahead of Hector Barbera (Paginas Amarillas Ducati), with Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda) another second behind him in tenth. Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Ducati) had dropped off the back of the gang, but emerged victorious from a late dice with Hiro Aoyama (Interwetten Honda). Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) had been at the front of the group at half distance, but lost touch after running off. Still suffering from his broken leg, he was another four seconds down. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda) was miles behind after running off in the early laps. Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati) retired. And there was a familiar nightmare for Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati), who has never got past turn two at this track. This time he collided with Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) on the exit from that corner, and both went down: "I opened the gas just as he came across. There was no way I could miss him," he explained ruefully. Lorenzo now leads Pedrosa 271 points to 208. Dovizioso stays third on 139 but Rossi is closing on 130, equal fourth with Stoner. Ben Spies is sixth on 120. MOTOGPMISANO >>