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GP Week : Issue 156
J orge Lorenzo (Yamaha) took his third win of the season at home at Barcelona, denying fellow local Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) in a ride showing patience, accuracy, determination ... and a bit of a mean streak. The Spanish pair, in front of a relatively small home crowd claimed at 79,351, made the race their own, after fast starter Ben Spies (Yamaha) left the party on the third lap, and Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) had an uncharacteristically off day. He finished fourth – his first finish off the podium since joining Honda last year. Third instead went to Andrea Dovizioso on the satellite Monster Yamaha, underlining his assertion that “my feeling with the Yamaha is getting better all the time” . Stoner was less than two tenths behind over the line; second Monster rider Cal Crutchlow less than three seconds adrift, only losing touch at the end. Pedrosa had jumped into the lead from the second row, chased by Spies, Lorenzo and Stoner. Spies said later that he was being held up by Pedrosa in the corners. On lap three he took the lead going into the downhill hairpin, but “I got in a little hot and got out to the edge of the track.” It was slippery, he fell, remounting for another ride through past the CRT bikes to an eventual 10th: “I finally had a good smooth weekend, until I made a mistake,” he said. Within a couple of laps the front five were stretching: Crutchlow fourth and Stoner fifth. The champion and team- mate Pedrosa alone among the fast guys had chosen the harder rear tyre, on a day when temperatures had dropped by five or more degrees after blazing hot practice. It was, said Pedrosa, “because of the character of the bike: the Honda was getting too much temperature in the rear tyre.” At the start of lap seven Lorenzo pounced on Pedrosa into turn one: a close pass that had the Honda rider complaining after wards that he had nearly been pushed off. Dani reversed the move at the start of lap 12, pulling a gap of almost a second. Then he had a moment with a big wheelie, and on lap 17 Jorge was on him again. “I had to be patient, but now I could see Dani’s pace was slowing,” he said. On lap 20 he was past, and three laps later he had a second’s breathing space, stretched to five at the finish. Dovizioso had pushed hard for the first 10 laps then had a massive moment that dropped him almost into the clutches of Stoner and Crutchlow, the Australian now ahead. But Dovi regrouped, adjusted his mapping, and pushed on again. Stoner was attacking hard on the last lap, but was never able to make it stick. “I just didn’t have the pace,” he said. He’d chosen the hard tyre in the interests of safety, hoping it would pay dividends as the race wore on, “but it never came in.” There was plenty of action behind. Valentino Rossi (Marlboro Ducati) had finished the first lap ninth, behind Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) and his own team- mate Nicky Hayden. Nicky dropped behind on lap two, soon to run into a problem with his throttle hand “going to sleep – I couldn’t feel the brake,” he explained. Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda) had passed both Ducatis on lap two, and Bradl also by lap six. The Spaniard finished sixth, just over a second behind Crutchlow. Rossi tailed him most of the way, just unable to attack and dropping away by four seconds at the end: “I’m quite happy with the result. This is our potential, and we are closer to the leaders, and especially to Stoner and Bautista. This is our best race in the dry” he said. Bradl was eighth, then Hayden, a couple of seconds ahead of the avenging Spies, who had carved through back into the top ten, consigning Hector Barbera (Pramac Ducati) to 11th with two laps to go. Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Ducati) was a distant 12th; 12 seconds behind Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics ART) won a fierce battle of the CRT bikes, from Michele Pirro (FTR Honda) and his own team-mate Randy de Puniet. PBR ART rider James Ellison was less than two seconds away. Lorenzo stretched his points lead to 20, 115 to Stoner on 95. Pedrosa is third on 85, then Dovizioso and Crutchlow (56 and 51). 28 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: MOTOGP >>> BARCELONA