Lorenzo returns to victory in San Marino
Jorge Lorenzo led a brilliant race from start to finish to take his third win of the season, ahead of Dani Pedrosa in second with Casey Stoner completing the podium at the Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.
Repsol Honda’s Stoner looked poised to take the lead in turn one at the start of the race at Misano, but defending World Champion Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) fought back and moved to the front in the first corner, holding onto the lead position until crossing the finish line to take his third win of 2011, reducing Stoner’s Championship lead to 35 points.
Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) was third off the start, a deviation from his usual hole shot into the first corner, the Spaniard gradually gaining ground on his team-mate until he overtook the Australian on lap 22, to cross the line second. In an unusual bout of fatigue, 25 year-old Stoner was unable to retaliate and finished the race in third.
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team) fell back to seventh at the start, then made his way back through the pack up to fourth, where he then engaged in a tussle with his rival Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda), emerging ahead of his fellow countryman on the last lap to take fourth. Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing), whose poor start saw the American drop to seventh on the second lap, caught the dueling Italians and looked capable and prepared to make the pass into fourth, but instead got baulked in the final corner to finish sixth behind Dovizioso.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) had a terrific start from his 11th place on the grid, moving up into fifth by lap two, until Simoncelli got ahead of him on lap four and Spies passed him on lap 15. The seven time premier class Champion completed the race in seventh, ahead of Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) who fulfilled his fourth top-ten finish of the season.
Mapfre Aspar rider Héctor Barberá achieved his sixth top-ten finish of the season with ninth place, ahead of Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), who ended his challenging weekend the final finisher in the top ten, just over two seconds in front of Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini).
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) crashed out of the race on lap three, an unfortunate end to an already difficult weekend for the American, while Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) retired to the pits early in the race with what appeared to be tyre problems.
Highlights from the race - below.
A four-way battle for Moto2 victory saw Marc Márquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol) take victory ahead of Stefan Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) and Andrea Iannone (Speed Master).
Pole starter Bradl led off the start of the race, until the German rider had a moment and dropped to third, giving the lead over to Márquez followed by Scott Redding. The British Marc VDS Racing rider then overtook the Spaniard at the front and began to pull a gap on the field.
A race long spar between Iannone, Márquez and Bradl ensued, with Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2) joining the front group as Redding dropped off the front on lap 13. Close racing had the front runners changing positions nearly every lap, with Italian rider Iannone fighting hard for a win at his home track, Bradl fighting for another win to ensure his Championship lead, and Márquez determined to close the gap in the standings to the German.
Eighteen year-old Márquez succeeded in taking the lead from the Italian on lap 22, holding it until the finish line to take his sixth win of the season. Bradl overtook Iannone on the penultimate lap to cross the line second, while 22 year-old Iannone took third at his home circuit for his fourth podium of the season, setting a new fastest lap record on his eighth lap in the process.
De Angelis crossed the line fourth, a second and a half ahead of two British riders who started the race along side the San Marino local from the second row, Redding in fifth and Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing) in sixth.
Yuki Takahashi (Gresini Racing) crossed the line seventh after his front row start, followed by Swiss rider Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) in eighth, Pol Espargaró (HP Tuenti Speed Up) in ninth and Simone Corsi (Ioda Racing Project) in tenth.
A race long cat and mouse game between Nico Terol and Johann Zarco was finally settled on the last lap, as World Championship points leader Terol took his seventh win of the season ahead of Zarco (Avant-AirAsia-Ajo).
Bankia Aspar’s Terol led into turn one at the start of the race, with pole starter Zarco immediately fighting his way through the pack in pursuit of the Spaniard. The French rider was desperate to keep the leader in his sights, colliding with Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) twice off the start and then Sergio Gadea (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing Team) as he came back into line after the second bump with Faubel pushed him off track. Zarco then set the fastest laps of the race in his charge to catch the quickly departing Terol, closing the gap and catching the leader with 14 laps to go.
With six laps remaining Zarco made his move on Terol, then deliberately let him back through. The two swapped the lead until the final lap when leading man Zarco was nipped at the line by the 22 year-old Spaniard, leaving the Avant-AirAsia-Ajo rider still without a Grand Prix and in second place for the fifth time this season.
Efrén Vázquez followed team mate Zarco to the front of the pack early in the race, to finish a clear but lonely third with the closest rider four seconds behind the Spaniard. Vázquez climbed onto the third step of the podium for the second time this season.
A freight train for fourth place saw Sandro Cortese (Intact Racing Team Germany) come out on top, with front row starter Héctor Faubel (Bankia Aspar) in fifth and second row starter Danny Kent (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) in sixth.
Maverick Viñales (Blusens by Paris Hilton Racing) took seventh place followed by team mate Gadea in eighth, while Jonas Folger (Red Bull Ajo Motorsport) and Miguel Oliveira (Team Andalucía Banca Cívica) completed the top ten finishers.