July 16, 2012 | By Paul Kelly
MotoGP Race Report: Grand Prix of Italy
One big question swirls around the MotoGP World Championship as it heads to America for the next two rounds, including the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19 at the Indianapolis Motor
Can anyone reign in Jorge Lorenzo?
Lorenzo rode to a dominant victory in the Italian Grand Prix on July 15 at Mugello, expanding his lead in the World Championship to 19 points over Dani Pedrosa. Lorenzo thrust his factory Yamaha under pole sitter Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda at the exit of the first turn on the first lap, leading all 23 laps en route to a 5.223-second victory over Pedrosa.
It was the fifth victory in nine races this season for 2010 World Champion Lorenzo.
From the first practice here I felt very strong, very good on the bike and a fast constant pace,” Lorenzo said. “Today I was hammering a lot to open a gap at the beginning of the race as I thought my competitors would have problems on cold tires. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it immediately. Only hammering every lap and going faster and faster, from 1:48.1 then into the 47s, could I open a bit to Pedrosa. Then, little by little, it got better, and I could start to breathe.”
Andrea Dovizioso finished third on his Tech 3 Yamaha, his third consecutive podium finish on a satellite machine.
The next two rounds of the MotoGP World Championship will take place in the United States. The American tour starts with the Red Bull United States Grand Prix on July 27-29 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., and ends with the fifth running of the Red Bull Indianapolis GP on Aug. 17-19 at IMS.
A healthy serving of home cooking might help the three full-time American riders in MotoGP, who had tough results July 15 at Mugello.
2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden ran a strong fifth for most of the race on his Ducati. He made a bold, aggressive pass of Stefan Bradl for fourth on the final lap and was chasing Dovizioso for third, which would have been the first dry-weather podium of the season for Ducati. But Bradl countered with a hard move past Hayden to regain fourth, pushing Hayden wide. Hayden ended up seventh.
Ben Spies was weakened by suspected food poisoning and finished 11th on his factory Yamaha despite suffering from dizzy spells during the race. Colin Edwards’ troubling season on Claiming Rule Teams machinery continued, as he withdrew from the race after 10 laps due once again due to mechanical problems with his NGM Mobile Forward Racing Suter-BMW.
Reigning World Champion Casey Stoner also needs to rebound at the two U.S. rounds. He entered the German Grand Prix on July 8 tied with Lorenzo atop the points. But he fell out of that race in the penultimate corner while chasing Pedrosa for victory and finished a disappointing eighth on his Repsol Honda today at Italy after running wide into the gravel during the race, returning to the track well down the running order.
Stoner is third in the standings, 37 points behind Lorenzo.
PODIUM FINISHER QUOTES
JORGE LORENZO (Winner, Yamaha Factory Racing): “From the beginning, I felt great on this track. The asphalt was completely different to Sachsenring, which was a nightmare for us. From the first practice here, I felt very strong, very good on the bike and a fast constant pace. It was a pity that we had the problem in the last lap of qualifying, but the important thing was the race. Today I was hammering a lot to open a gap at the beginning of the race as I thought my competitors would have problems on cold tires. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do it immediately. Only hammering every lap and going faster and faster, from 1:48.1 then into the 47s, could I open a bit to (Dani) Pedrosa. Then, little by little, it got better, and I could start to breathe.”
DANI PEDROSA (Second, Repsol Honda Team): “I braked late at the first corner, but I missed something and Jorge (Lorenzo) was already there. Then a few corners later, I was surprised by (Andrea) Dovizioso. He passed me also, and it took a few laps for me to make the overtake on him as he was very strong in the first corner, so I had to pass him in another part of the circuit. By this point, Jorge had already opened up a small gap, but I tried to get back in my rhythm and I started to lap in the 1:47s. When I started to drop into these times, though, my tire began to spin a lot in the rear, and I got some chatter, so I was worried for the tire. At this point, I decided to slow down a little because to catch Jorge meant laps in 1:47s. He was riding very strong, so I have to congratulate him. For me, a second place is a good result overall.”
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO (Third, Monster Yamaha Tech 3): “To get a podium is always special, but to do it in front of the Italian crowd and after such a strong battle makes it feel even better. I got the perfect start and was third at the first corner, and I felt very strong in braking at the start so passed Dani (Pedrosa) at Turn 5. Immediately, though, I could see that Lorenzo was faster in some parts of the track, but it was good to see again the small points I need to improve to get the best out of the Yamaha. The fight with Bradl for the whole race was fantastic, and he did a great job. When he passed me, he was making it look easy, and I was having to push right at the limit to make sure he couldn't open up a gap that I couldn't recover. He was trying for his first podium and I was pushing hard to be on the podium in Italy, so it made for a great battle. I knew I was a little bit stronger in the brakes than him, so with three laps to go I decided to attack and I was confident I could hold him off.”
AMERICAN RIDER QUOTES
NICKY HAYDEN (Seventh, Ducati Team): “I got a good start, but I was spinning a lot in the beginning, and I thought I was going to destroy the tire. Once I went to a smoother map, I was able to really start driving off the corners and bringing the group back. Those last seven, eight laps, I really gave it everything. I wasn’t sure I was going to finish, but I was sure I was going to go for it. On the last lap, after I went by Bradl for fourth, I was only thinking about trying to pass Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and get the Ducati on the podium, so I don’t regret the fact that I tried. In the end, we can’t be happy with seventh, but I hope all the Ducati fans that came to support us can be proud of this team this weekend. They gave me a good bike, and we really had a shot at the podium today.”
BEN SPIES (11th, Yamaha Factory Racing): “I’m so disappointed, not just for me but for my whole team and Yamaha, who have worked so hard this weekend. I was feeling really not right from before warm-up this morning, and it just got worse over the day. I was struggling to put three laps together at a time in the race and fighting waves of dizziness and trying not to be physically sick in my helmet. Clinica Mobile did their best to help me before the race, but it was a huge challenge to focus on the bike at the speeds we do.”
COLIN EDWARDS (Not classified, NGM Mobile Forward Racing): “I don’t have much to say. Basically, it’s the problems we have been having all year. Whenever (Aleix) Espargaro run off and passed me, it was kind of the icing on the cake. Whatever issues I was having with traction control, it just made it really hard to ride and unsafe, and I had to enter the pits.”
Riders: Jorge Lorenzo 185, Dani Pedrosa 166, Casey Stoner 148, Andrea Dovizioso 108, Cal Crutchlow 95, Valentino Rossi 82, Stefan Bradl 75, Nicky Hayden 74, Alvaro Bautista 73, Ben Spies 66, Hector Barbera 60, Randy de Puniet 28, Aleix Espargaro 26, Michele Pirro 16, Mattia Pasini 13, James Ellison 12, Danilo Petrucci 9, Colin Edwards 8, Yonny Hernandez 6, Ivan Silva 5, Karel Abraham 4.
Manufacturers: Yamaha 201, Honda 196, Ducati 96, ART 41, FTR 16, Ioda 9, BQR 9, Suter 8, BQR-FTR 2.
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