Lorenzo charges to dominant victory in dramatic Misano race
At this weekend’s Gran Premio Aperol di San Marino e della Riviera de Rimini in Misano it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who charged to a dominant victory in a dramatic race ahead of Valentino Rossi and Álvaro Bautista.
It was a problematic start as a partially aborted race-start due to issues with Karel Abraham’s Cardion AB Racing Ducati prompted a re-start. The race was then shortened to 27 laps due to the additional sighting lap, yet in another twist, pole-sitter Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa then also had to start from the back of the grid after wheeling his bike into pit-lane to re-start it, after his team could not resolve a locked front-wheel in the given time.
The story unfolded further and the championship battle took yet another blow, as Pedrosa was taken out in the first few bends by the front wheel of Pramac Racings’ Héctor Barberá, as the Repsol rider was making his way up the field. Afterwards, an apologetic Barberá cited missing his braking marker as the reason he locked up his front wheel, causing him to slide into Pedrosa. At the front it was Lorenzo who had made the best start, followed by a valiant Valentino Rossi on board his Ducati, and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl.
It was a crash-strewn affair from the beginning as Abraham, Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow all tumbled out in the opening laps. Crutchlow’s teammate Dovizioso was sticking to Bradl, as San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista took Yamaha’s Ben Spies for fifth. With 19 laps remaining Lorenzo had pulled out a lead over Rossi, who was working tirelessly to keep Bradl at bay.
With 12 laps to go Bautista had caught up to the rear wheel of Dovizioso and was looking for a way through. After stalking him for over half the lap he made his way through into fourth to chase Bradl, whom he caught up with two laps later. Bautista looked like a man possessed as he then pushed his way past the German into the final podium spot. Behind the Spaniard, Bradl, Dovizioso and Spies were all closing in with seven laps to go to battle it out for third spot.
With three laps to go Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró was forced to retire from the race, as Dovizioso and Spies had made their was past Bradl. And it was Dovizioso who provided the nail-bighting finish, tussling with Bautista until the bitter end. Yet it was Lorenzo who finally took the chequered flag with an ecstatic Rossi in second and Bautista recording his first ever MotoGP podium in third after a photo finish with Dovizioso. Lorenzo’s sixth victory leaves him 38-points clear at the top of the championship, while Rossi’s podium was his best finish on a Ducati in the dry. Behind Dovizioso in fifth was Spies, ahead of Bradl and Ducati’s Nicky Hayden. Repsol Honda’s Rea did well to finish eighth in his first GP race, ahead of Espargaró’s teammate Randy De Puniet and San Carlo’s Michele Pirro.