Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Misano:
Jorge Lorenzo has won the Misano MotoGP race in convincing style, holding off a tough challenge by Casey Stoner in the first half of the race before taking control, going on to close the gap in the championship by 9 points.
Stoner's start from pole was strong, but not as strong as Lorenzo's, the Yamaha rider diving into Turn 1 ahead of Dani Pedrosa, who had quickly dispatched Ben Spies to hold on to 3rd. The three leaders quickly pulled a gap over the rest of the field, but the order among them was far from certain. Lorenzo led from the front, pushing hard to drop the chasing Repsol Hondas, but Stoner was pushing just as hard to keep the pressure on the Spaniard.
The pace the two were generating took its toll on the third member of the party, Pedrosa just dropping slowly off the back of Stoner. Lorenzo kept pushing, with Stoner responding, threatening to attack at any point. But as the race passed the one-third point, Stoner's pace started to lag just a fraction. A few laps more and a gap appeared, and once Stoner lost touch with the leader, the race was over. Lorenzo kept up his blistering pace for lap after lap, building his advantage to over seven seconds at the end of the race. At the end, victory came easy, but not anywhere near as easy as it looked.
Once Stoner had lost touch with Lorenzo, his paced dropped off significantly, from high 1'33s, to 1'34s and then 1'35s. The Australian's slowing pace allowed Dani Pedrosa, who had maintained a constant pace behind the leaders to catch the Australian. By the time the two Repsol Honda teammates came together on the track, the difference in pace was apparent, and Pedrosa was soon past Stoner, dispelling any rumors of team orders inside the Repsol team. Pedrosa quickly dropped Stoner and went on to secure an easy 2nd place, Stoner forced to settle for 3rd.
If the race at the front turned stultifying once Stoner lost touch with Lorenzo, behind that it was anything but. The second group, consisting of Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Simoncelli and Valentino Rossi - Rossi having got an astounding start from 11th to end the first lap in 6th. After a dismal couple of early laps, Ben Spies joined the back of the group. The speed of the two Hondas and single Yamaha was just a little too much for Rossi, the Marlboro Ducati rider dropping off the back to end the race in 7th.
Places 4 to 6 were hard-fought, with Dovizioso leading Simoncelli early, only for Simoncelli to come past and try to push for a gap. But as the laps clicked off towards the end, Dovizioso closed back onto Simoncelli, passing his fiercest rival to take back 4th. The last two laps turned into a do-or-die affair, with Dovizioso leading Simoncelli, Simoncelli diving past Dovizioso, Dovizioso diving back and then Spies trying to take the pair of them on the final entry into Quercia. In the end, it was Simoncelli who hung on to 4th, holding off Dovizioso to the line, with Spies stuck in 6th.
Alvaro Bautista rode another strong race on the Rizla Suzuki - specially decked out in a chrome livery - fighting through the field to finish 8th, ahead of Hector Barbera on the Mapfre Aspar Ducati and a decent result for Cal Crutchlow on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, rounding out the top 10.
Lorenzo's victory closes the championship gap from 44 points to just 35, bringing some tension back into the title race. With just 5 races to go, there is still a lot of work to do, but things are looking a lot brighter for the Spaniard compared to a week ago.
|14||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||45'14.243||1'02.366|
|65||Loris CAPIROSSI||DUCATI||15'21.868||20 laps|
|69||Nicky HAYDEN||DUCATI||3'20.984||26 laps|