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GP Week : Issue 187
The last two rounds of the first half of the season threw things into disarray. Two things in particular: the left- hand collarbones of two erstwhile points leaders. And a third thing: the championship table. The result was to leave it wide open before the break. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) had already lost the lead to Pedrosa when he fell at Assen, saving the day with an extraordinarily rapid return. Then he crashed again in practice for the German GP, and bent the freshly inserted metal plate. He was out. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) lost his chance to capitalise when he too crashed in Germany, breaking his collarbone and also out. The race in their absence was a Marquez benefit, chased only at the end by Cal Crutchlow, who got the Monster Yamaha to within 1.5 seconds after passing and dropping off Assen winner Rossi, whose consolation was a second successive rostrum. His opinion of Marquez? “He’s a f*cking bastard,” he joked. A week later in the USA he would expand: “He’s more of a bastard than I thought.” Other German highlights were fourth for Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda), outpacing Alvaro Bautista (FUN&GO Honda); and sixth for Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha). And eighth for CRT rider Aleix Espargaro (Power Electronics ART), hounding Dovizioso’s factory Duke to finishes inches behind, and well ahead of Nicky Hayden’s second Marlboro bike. Marquez made light of his second win, pointing out he might have been one or two places lower had Dani and Jorge been there. The same was even more true for everybody else. Astonishingly, both injury victims were back for the roller-coaster Laguna Seca just seven days later: Pedrosa took it easy but was stronger at the end to grab fifth to Lorenzo’s sixth, with an out-of-comfort Crutchlow dropping to seventh. Marquez won again, in perhaps his finest performance so far. In a move that will resound through history, he turned the tables on Rossi at the same corner where Rossi had badly bamboozled Stoner five years before. Rossi was, as Britain’s MCN’s headline writer put it, “Cork-screwed” . Short, swoopy and intense, Laguna is reckoned to be one of the hardest places to ride a 250-horsepower MotoGP bike. Marquez had never seen it before, but by the second session headed the time sheets, and would have had pole too probably, but for a single and luckily painless slip-off in qualifying. Bradl took the honour for the first time (first ever for a German), and led the race until after half distance. By then Marquez had been stalking for a while, and when he pounced his old Moto2 arrival had no answer. Rossi was third once more, and in high spirits, relishing Marquez’s challenge, and that he had held Bautista at bay in spite of this being a track that favoured the Honda more than his Yamaha. Hayden was eighth, narrowly beating team-mate Dovi even while absorbing the news of his sacking from the team, proving at least one point. Espargaro crashed, Barbera was top CRT bike in tenth, Smith broke down. MOTOGP >>> nEWs MARQUEZ MAKES HAY WHILE LORENZO TESTS HIS METAL 15 GPWEEK.com // 15 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: