Sunday, May 2

JEREZ IS LORENZO-LAND!

By Michael Esdaile
CIRCUIT Jerez de la Frontera in the south of Spain became part of the burgeoning Lorenzo-land empire on May 2 when Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo scored an incredible record-setting win in front of 123,000 delirious fans.
After a ruthlessly methodical demolition of his rivals on the way from fifth place early in the race, Lorenzo was at least as delighted as his fans with his first win on a MotoGP bike at Jerez, a win that set a new race record of 45m 17.538s, breaking Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi's year-old mark. Conditions for both the 2009 race and this year's 27 lap affair were almost identical: track temperature of 44 degrees and ambient air temperature of 27 degrees.

Lorenzo's win also catapaulted him past Rossi to head the points table in the chase for the World Championship, 45 to 41.

In one of the longest 'cool-down' laps in history, Lorenzo whooped it up with his fans at various points around the circuit, then took a running jump into a small pond - boots, gloves, leathers, helmet and all - as he savoured the sweet taste of victory after a long, hard race.

As usual, Dani Pedrosa holeshot the race on his Repsol Honda, and stayed out front for twenty-six and a half of the 27 laps before sucuumbing to the assault from Lorenzo. For two laps the two Spanish riders banged fairings, Lorenzo forced up onto the ripple strip at one point as he tried to force his way into the lead. With just half a lap to go, Lorenzo dived underneath into a slowish right-hander, Pedrosa tried to hold him out under brakes but got into the corner too deep, and Lorenzo was through and off to the chequered flag.

Lorenzo had to come from fifth to make it to the front, after being jumped by Casey Stoner halfway through the first lap. It took him four laps to get back past the Aussie on the Marlboro Ducati, then he set off after Stoner's team-mate Nicky Hayden. It took him another five laps to get past the American, outbraking him and getting through when the Ducati man ran wide.

By then, Pedrosa, with Valentino Rossi glued to his rear wheel, was well out in front. The task of catching them, let alone passing them, seemed impossible. But Lorenzo kept his head down and slowly but surely pulled them in, a tenth of a second at a time. Pedrosa had established an almost one second lead on Rossi, and admitted later he was surprised to have been able to lead the race for so long after the problems he has had getting a good chassis set-up in the Repsol Honda.

For several laps the interest in the race shifted to the downfield battle between San Carlo Gresini Honda team-mates Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli, with Randy De Puniet in the mix too on the Givi Honda in the battle for seventh place. Then Mika Kalio on the Pramac Ducati joined in, working his way up from last on the grid and eventually took seventh away from the three battling Honda men.

Out front, the leading order was processional, Pedrosa ahead of Rossi, then a gap to Lorenzo, an increasing gap to Hayden with a smaller gap to Stoner, then Alex Dovizioso on the second Repsol Honda.

By this point, Ben Spies, who was with Stoner on the first lap and looking good for a possible fifth place, had retired the Monster Tech3 Yamaha saying he had lost grip in his front tyre. Knowing what a fighter the Texan is, it had to be bad!

When the crowd grasped the fact that Lorenzo was far from spent, and was in facet catching Rossi, they came alive. Lorenzo-land flags were being waved, trumpets were blaring and fireworks were being prepared. With six laps to run, Lorenzo outbraked Rossi, who had no answer for his younger team-mate. Then Lorenzo pulled away as he steadily ran Pedrosa to earth, catching him with three laps to go.

Those final three laps were some of the most torrid yet witnessed in MotoGP as the two Spaniards fought corner-to-corner for the glory.

In the end, Pedrosa had no answer, but the English critics who have claimed he is not able to deal with close quarter racing would have had a rude awakening. He may be a little bloke but Dani Pedrosa has a big ticker, and big cajones too. There was a bit of Repsol paint on Lorenzo's Yamaha before he was done.

For full MotoGP results go to: http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/xx/2010/SPA/MotoGP/RAC/Classification.pdf?v1_4ad350f1

The MotoGP race was a fitting finale for a day that saw Spanish riders win every world championship class, starting with a 1-2-3 sweep of the 125 race.

In this, Pol Espargaro won from Nicolas Terol with Esteve Rabat taking the final podium place after Efren Vazquez crashed out with five laps to go. In his push for victory, Espargaro broke Alvaro Bautista's four year-old race record, completing the 23 laps in 41m 36.146s, shaving 6.615 seconds off the old record. For full 125GP results go to:
http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/xx/2010/SPA/125cc/RAC/Classification.pdf?v1_4f133b81

ELIAS WINS TORRID MOTO2 SCRAP
AFTER the original Moto2 race at Jerez was red-flagged due to a crash on the opening lap that saw petrol spilled from Qatar winner Shoya Tomizawa's upturned bike, Toni Elías won a condensed, action-packed 17-lap contest ahead of Tomizawa and Thomas Lüthi.

Spanish-domiciled American Kenny Noyes was in the thick of the action for most of the race, lead for much of it, but in the final few laps he was bundled back to an eventual seventh place finish on the Jack & Jones Racing PromoHarris bike that is backed by actor Antonio Banderas. Noyes is one of the biggest riders in the field and it appeared he had overworked his rear Dunlop and had no answer for the mad pack of muggers who jumped him.

Elias was back to his barn-storming, back-it-in style best on his Gresini Racing Moriwaki and was more than ready to swap paint with anyone angling for a fight. Tomizawa was up to the challenge and led several times and third placed Luthi also had a short spell out front.

For full Moto2 results go to: http://resources.motogp.com/files/results/xx/2010/SPA/Moto2/RAC/Classification.pdf?v1_a3992b0f