Jorge Lorenzo (center) took his third victory of the season at Catalunya. He was followed by Dani Pedrosa (left) in second and Andrea Dovizioso (right) in third.
Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo extended his MotoGP points lead with an impressive victory at the Catalunya Grand Prix. The 2010 champion took his third victory of the season with a late race charge past fellow Spaniard and Repsol Honda rival, Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo capitalized on the early mistake of his Factory Yamaha teammate, Ben Spies, and later exploiting an opening from Pedrosa to claim the checkers.
“We started the race in third and it was a complicated situation because we didn’t want to make any stupid mistakes trying to overtake Ben and Dani,” said Lorenzo on his Catalunya strategy. “I waited for the chance to go and Ben ran wide and I was in second so I waited a little bit to see how Dani was able to keep his pace. I made a mistake and he went away but in six laps I recovered the gap and in this moment I see Dani slowing down the pace. I thought to wait a bit to see because it is very easy to crash. He brakes very late and it was very difficult to overtake him and not touch him, so I waited for a mistake. It arrived and when I saw him go wide I took the opportunity and I thought if I can push I can open a gap in 2-3 laps because I thought he was a little bit uncomfortable.
Tire performance proved decisive in Lorenzo catching his rival, with Lorenzo stating: “For Yamaha the soft one was the best option but not for Honda I guess because they have more spinning and they overheat the tires. Maybe this was the problem because Dani lost a bit of corner speed and this gives me an advantage to catch him and go away.”
Lorenzo’s patience paid off as he was able to capitalize on a small mistake by Pedrosa to take the lead late in the race.
Off the track, Lorenzo has again insisted his number one priority is to renew his contract with Yamaha, as speculation about the Spaniard’s future continues to be a major talking point in the MotoGP paddock.
Earlier in the GP week, Lorenzo was bombarded with questions about his 2013 plans, with the 2010 world champion linked with a switch to take Casey Stoner’s seat at Repsol Honda.
Stoner will retire at the end of the season and that shock decision confirmed in Le Mans last month instantly made Lorenzo’s signature the most sought after in MotoGP. Yamaha is desperate to retain Lorenzo and offered him a new two-year deal as early as the second race in Jerez.
Speaking about his future in Catalunya he said: “My priority to stay here (Yamaha). This is the only thing I can say. We are negotiating. There are a lot of points we must check to have the best options and to have the best bike. All I want is to have the best option possible. Right now we are negotiating but my first priority is to stay at Yamaha. They have given me a lot of support and I feel comfortable here. I’d like to stay here and my feeling has not changed.”
More Disappointment for Spies
Ben Spies wasted a golden opportunity to claim a much-needed first podium finish of 2012 at the Catalunya GP. The Texan had just passed Pedrosa for the lead on Lap 3 when he ran wide and crashed after just running off track and onto the grass. The 2009 World Superbike Champion remounted to finish 10th but conceded he squandered a great chance to end a nightmare run of form this season.
The bad luck continued for Ben Spies. After a strong start, the Texan ran wide and crashed in the grass.
Spies heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone later this month with a season best result of eighth in the opening five races and he later said: “I was feeling good at the beginning and the bike was working well and I was getting a bit impatient with Dani because he was struggling a little bit and was holding me up a bit. His mid-corner speed was really slow but obviously on the straight he was really fast and that made it tough to get around. I knew I had the soft tire on and wanted to take advantage of it in the first few laps. But he was hard to pass. I couldn’t do in Turn 1 or 9, so I went for it and barely locked the front up, had to release the brakes and by that time I was in way too hot.
“Obviously where I tried wasn’t the right place for me, so it is one of those things,” continued Spies. “I couldn’t make the pass on the straight and I had to go for it on the brakes and got in a little hot. I’m more disappointed for the team because the bike was clearly a podium bike. There are no excuses, I just made a mistake and that was it. The rest of the race was good but I was happy for coming through the field and the lap times could have been better with clear track but we still got some good time on the bike, it was just the result that was bad.”