Lorenzo battled through tough conditions to win in France, and in doing so re-takes the points lead.
Spain Stars in French Grand Prix
It didn’t take long for Spanish star Jorge Lorenzo to bounce back from his fall in Jerez to capture another triumphant victory, this time in a wet and then drying French GP.
The young Spaniard jumped out to a lead straight away in full-wet conditions, staying out as long as he possibly could before pitting for new dry tires as the surface dissipated water and made for a dry line. His move paid off, with Lorenzo winning his first ever wet-to-dry, or “flag-to-flag” contest as MotoGP calls it, by a staggering 17-second margin.
Equally as astonishing, if not more, was Marco Melandri on the now defunct-Kawasaki, re-braded as Hayata Racing ZX-RR, taking second position, his first time back on the podium in two years. Maybe Kawasaki should have left their name on the bike after all? It would have been their first-ever podium finish and best year to date…
The battle for the final spot on the rostrum went down to the Repsol Honda teammates of Andrea Dovizioso and pole sitter Dani Pedrosa, with Pedrosa taking the podium away from the young Italian on the final lap.
It was the two Australians of Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen taking fifth and sixth, respectively. Colin Edwards came home seventh, with Loris Capirossi eighth, James Toseland ninth and Tony Elias rounding out the top-10. But where was Valentino Rossi?
Rossi had a nightmare of a day, one which saw him in the pits swapping bikes three different times, crashing, as well as getting a ride-through penalty for speeding in pit lane. He would finish last, giving Lorenzo the championship points lead and dropping himself back to a tie for second with Casey Stoner.
Our American homeboy Nicky Hayden also continued to struggle on the Ducati, coming home a distant 13th position.
Lorenzo 1st: “I’m so great with this result cause in the best of my dreams I didn’t imagine this was possible. But it happened and I won the race! I dislike Valentino (Rossi) crash cause he is my teammate, but sometime this happens and you have to concentrate and go race by race. I expect (after today) to continue riding great and learning and we are fast so I expect good things.”
Melandri 2nd: “It’s awesome to be back up here. After one year and a half to
smell again the champagne on my leather it’s one of the best emotion I get in my life! I had a very difficult 2008 and now I am working back to get the speed. For sure today has been a lucky day but I am so happy to be here. At the beginning it was tough because we had a bit too soft of wet tire for the conditions we had so every lap I wanted to change bikes but it was too early for me. When I changed the bike maybe it was a little too early, maybe it should have been one lap later but, anyway, when I come back (out) I try to keep my rhythm and not make mistakes and I did. It was a good race, I’m very happy.”
Pedrosa 3rd: “It was amazing to do a podium here cause the race started not so good for me. I wasn’t so fast in the wet and I stopped very early to
change the tires but at that time it was still wet on the track and Rossi crash in front of me so I take a lot of care. Probably too much because I lose a lot of seconds there, but finally I get going and in my rhythm and on the last lap I pass Dovizioso for third place and I’m very happy to be on the podium.”
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Marco Melandri -17 seconds.
3. Dani Pedrosa
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Casey Stoner
6. Chris Vermeulen
7. Colin Edwards
8. Loris Capirossi
9. James Toseland
10. Toni Elias