Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo made one of his best passes of the season to gain precious points on Casey Stoner.
Jorge Lorenzo blamed an old habit he’s not shaken from his 125GP days for his failure to deny compatriot Dani Pedrosa of a fairytale victory in Germany yesterday. The reigning world champion rides with one finger constantly on the clutch lever, a legacy from his formative years worrying about two-stroke 125GP engine seizures. The problem is the tight and twisty Sachsenring track is dominated by left-hand corners, with only three out of 13 turns being right-handers. And the factory Yamaha rider blamed the extra stress on his left forearm for his failure to run Pedrosa closer for the win.
“When you are in 125s you are always very scared that the engine breaks and you fly through the air, so I couldn’t throw away this habit in MotoGP,” Lorenzo said. “During the race I wanted to change it, so I tried to hold one finger off the clutch. But it doesn’t work and the bike goes wide. I came back to my normal style but my forearm was completely finished. I could relax a little bit on the straight and it helped me to finish the race in good condition. The forearm was the big problem and that’s why I couldn’t fight with Dani for the victory.”
Lorenzo: “I play all my cards in the last corner and it was a very important move for the championship. It is an unbelievable result.”
He didn’t take anything away from Pedrosa though, who controlled the race brilliantly once he hit the front.
“I was surprised about his pace in the middle of the race because I was pushing so hard,” he said. “I dropped to a 22.1 and 22.2 and he caught me very quickly. He’s won here five times so he obviously likes the track, but riding 22.0 and 21.9 like he did is incredible, so he deserved this victory and he is riding so well.”
Lorenzo did at least cut Stoner’s lead in the title race thanks to a brilliantly executed overtake at the final corner.
“Casey was in front of me and wasn’t pulling away, but I was thinking I’d finish third,” said Lorenzo. “But Casey was there and he closed the door maybe too much at the bottom of the hill. I play all my cards in the last corner and it was a very important move for the championship. It is an unbelievable result. After Silverstone and Assen I was very far away from Casey and before Silverstone we were very confused. Now we have more clear things with the bike and we are there in every track and we have options to win the world title.”
A lack of edge grip in the early laps of the race crushed Ben Spies’ hopes of claiming his third rostrum of the season. The Texan was in sixth place for all but one corner in the 30-lap encounter when he took advantage of a mistake under braking by Marco Simoncelli at the final turn to snatch a hard fought fifth. The 2009 World Superbike champion said: “I was faster at the end and I wish I had one more lap, 31 laps would have been nice for me. I struggled for edge grip at the beginning of the race and it showed. I was never really fast but I never slowed down. I was comfortable and the bike was good, but I was just missing some grip compared to the front group. I got another top-five and it’s been like that the past three races including a win in Assen, and I was closer to the front here this year than one year ago. Now I go to Laguna with some confidence.”
It was the second race in succession that Spies has passed Simoncelli at the final corner, just as he did to the Italian in Mugello earlier this month. Simoncelli ran wide on the brakes while trying to force his way by Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso, and Spies pounced. The factory Yamaha rider was then seen waving his right leg to Simoncelli.
“Nothing happened between us, but to pass him at the final corner at the last two races, I was just letting him know about that,” Spies said.