Factory Yamaha pilot Jorge Lorenzo strengthened his grip on the 2012 MotoGP world title chase with an emphatic victory in the Italian Grand Prix. The Spaniard started the 23-lap as an overwhelming favorite after dominating practice and coming close to snatching pole.
Once Lorenzo seized the lead at the first corner from Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, his fifth win of the campaign looked in little doubt. Lorenzo survived early pressure from Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Andrea Dovizioso to open up a comfortable lead by the halfway stage. He continued to ease away at the front and Lorenzo’s lead was so commanding that he could afford time to showboat on the final lap, waving to a crowd of close to 65,000 fans.
Lorenzo’s first victory since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone extended his points lead over rival Pedrosa to 19-points and he said: “I was really determined to be fast from the beginning and to be in first at the first corner. Dani braked so late and he made a little mistake and I took profit of it. I knew they had problems to warm up the tires and I was a little faster so I tried to push at my maximum and I couldn’t open a gap. Dovizioso made an extremely good start, so he was there and I couldn’t go away. I had to wait a little bit to ride better and after seven or eight laps I could start to pull away and I rode better and the gap got bigger.”
Yet just eight days later and there is clear daylight between himself and Stoner after the Aussie suffered a second successive bad result.
Lorenzo’s lead was so comfortable at the end of the race at Mugello, that the Spaniard took time to wave at fans as he rode by on his way to the checkered flag.
The reigning world champion salvaged eighth after running off track while in fifth but at the halfway stage in the championship he now sits a massive 37-points behind Lorenzo. The damage could have been much worse for Stoner had Lorenzo not been taken out by Alvaro Bautista in a first corner incident at last month’s Dutch TT in Assen that robbed him of a certain podium.
Lorenzo added: “Everything was perfect for us before Assen but the first corner was a disaster and we lose all the advantage we have, so it was a big frustration for me and the team. In Sachsenring Casey made a big mistake and here he couldn’t be at the front, so it is good for us. Dani still hasn’t made a mistake and this year he is very consistent and stronger than ever but at this moment he is the strongest rival, so we must keep an eye on him. It is a pity to lose the Assen race otherwise we would have had a much bigger advantage. I never think about the past and I can only keep thinking about winning races and keep getting on the podium.”
Pedrosa admitted he simply didn’t have an answer for Lorenzo’s electrifying speed after he scored an easy second to register his eighth podium in nine races. The Repsol rider said: “The key was the first half of the first lap. I braked so late at the first corner and I just missed a bit and boom, Jorge was inside. Some corners later Dovizioso also came by and I was shocked on the first lap. I could see Dovi was so strong on the brakes at the start and he was keeping a good pace with Jorge. Jorge was slowly going away and I tried to overtake Dovi but he was so strong on the brakes that I couldn’t get him at the first corner. The Yamaha was fast too so I had to do it another part of the track. When I was second I tried to improve my pace and I was doing fast lap times like 47s but I started to spin the rear. And a few laps later I started to have a lot of chatter on the rear, so I was a bit afraid about that. I didn’t know if the right side of the tire was heating up a lot so I knew to catch Jorge I needed to lap in the 47s all the way or even get close to the pole lap times and Jorge was so strong and constant. The maximum was second and that is a good job.”
Ben Spies’ luck this season has been nearly non-existent. Having ironed out various bike issues that plagued him early on, Spies suffered a bout of food poisoning before the race at Mugello and could only get to 11th before the finish.
Illness Slows Spies at Mugello
A virus that ruined yesterday’s Italian MotoGP race for Ben Spies also ruled the Texan out of Monday’s test session at the Mugello circuit. Spies had a disastrous Mugello race after he was struck by a suspected bout of food poisoning during Saturday night. The 2009 World Superbike champion could only finish 11th after he complained of dizziness and sickness during the 23-lap race.
His lap times fluctuated between 1.48s and 1.51s for most of the race and Yamaha boss Massimo Meregalli said the 2011 Assen MotoGP winner was almost vomiting the moment he jumped off his YZR-M1 machine. Spies said he felt much better this morning but drained of energy it was decided that he would sit out today’s test.
Meregalli said: “We thought it was food poisoning initially but maybe it was a virus. He said he woke at 3 a.m. on Saturday night and he was dripping in sweat and then he had some stomach issues. During the warm-up he had some dizzy feelings and after three laps he was completely destroyed. We told him to do what he could for the race and he said he considered pulling in but he wanted to finish the race. After the race he was really bad and he was trying to throw up and he was shaking. He felt better this morning but he said he was completely without energy and we decided it was best for him not to test.”
Factory Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo completed 40-laps checking new engine parts but the Spaniard said the tweaks were no improvement. Lorenzo finished testing before the 1 p.m. lunch break and set a best time of 1.47.435. That was 0.3s faster than his best lap in yesterday’s race.