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GP Week : Issue 110
J orge Lorenzo won in Jerez by staying cool and saving his tyres while all around were losing theirs. He’d been pushed back to fourth by lap seven, as sundry hot-heads (including rather surprisingly Valentino rossi) went ahead on a damp but drying track. Five laps later he was in a lead he would retain to the finish. rossi’s indiscretion was astonishing and massive. The Marlboro Ducati rider had come charging through from a fourth-row start, hoping to benefit from the change in conditions. eighth on lap one, he was already closing on the leaders as Casey Stoner cautiously gave way to an impetuously fast Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda) on lap six. riding like a teenager, rossi was quickly up to third behind Lorenzo, and at the start of lap eight he made his move on Stoner: “I heard him coming, so I gave him plenty of room,” the Australian explained later. “But obviously not enough.” Into turn one rossi moved narrowly ahead, but too fast for the corner. With nowhere to go, he braked harder. The front locked, and he was down, taking Stoner’s Honda with him. He got going again, but Stoner was unable to get his engine restarted. Simoncelli was forging away, better than 2.6 seconds ahead of Lorenzo as he started lap 12. But he too was trying too hard. The bike slid and flicked him off at the first corner, and his dreams of a first MotogP win died in the gravel trap. By now, slow-starting Dani Pedrosa (repsol Honda) had moved to second after a cautious early approach. over the next three laps he got within almost a second of Lorenzo, before his rival got the message and stretched away again. He won by almost 20 seconds. “It was a very difficult race,” he said. “I wanted to stay with Stoner and Simoncelli, but I let them go, and also rossi. I was concentrating on staying smooth to save the tyres, and not to give too much. every lap the tyres were worse ... in the end we were lucky.” He won by almost 20 seconds. Dani was lucky to stay in second, as he dropped behind Ben Spies with four laps to go. But the second factory Yamaha rider was also heading for the gravel, sliding off one lap later. He was far from the only victim of the treacherous track. Andrea Dovizioso (repsol Honda) had run off in the early stages, pitting later to change tyres and rejoin in last, a lap down. rookie Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha) was having a fine ride, and was up to fifth when he slid off on lap 20, remounting for eighth, behind Karel Abraham (Cardion Ducati), who had also fallen and remounted. randy de Puniet (Pramac Ducati) also crashed. Most luckless was Colin edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha), who had been behind Crutchlow, inherited fifth, then closed a gap of more than five seconds on a fading Nicky Hayden (Marlboro Ducati), whose tyres were by now starting to shred. He was now third thanks to Spies’s crash, and started the last lap heading for the rostrum ... only for his bike to come to an abrupt stop. The team denied it had seized, blaming a failed fuel pump. Hayden was delighted with his distant third, since he was obliged to fend off Hiro Aoyama (San Carlo Honda) in the final lap: “I’ll take the rostrum any way I can,” he grinned. rossi was fifth, disappointed that his error had cost him a possible chance of victory: “When testing is so bad, perhaps I got too excited by the chance,” he said. Hector Barbera (Mapfre Ducati) was sixth; then Abraham, Crutchlow, Toni elias (LCr Honda); with one-race John Hopkins (rizla Suzuki) pleasing his team by taking tenth ahead of ex-Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi (Pramac Ducati). Lorenzo now leads on points, 45 to Pedrosa’s 36, with Stoner on 25, then Hayden (23) and rossi (20). 26