Rossi’s Race, Lorenzo’s Title

Cycle News Staff | October 10, 2010

Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was crowned the 2010 MotoGP World Champion by finishing third to teammate Valentino Rossi in tropical conditions in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.The day was a great one for Yamaha, with Rossi winning for the first time since the season opener in Qatar, and ending his longest premier class win drought at nine, and Lorenzo’s third place finish giving Yamaha their 14th premier class title and third in a row, hot on the heels of Rossi’s titles in 2008 and ’09.”This is a dream come true for me today,” Lorenzo said. “I can’t really believe it yet; I need five minutes on my own just to relax, enjoy the quiet and take in what I have done! This is something I have always wanted and something I’ve dreamed of my whole life, so it is the most incredible moment for me. It is difficult to find the words to thank everyone, I am just so happy, but I have to say thank you to Yamaha, my team and everyone who has made this happen.”I started very well today, I didn’t lose any positions but then Andrea and Valentino came past me and I wasn’t riding as well as I could have, so I didn’t want to push too much. Anyway I knew that winning the race wasn’t the most important thing this time. I had to just put myself on autopilot and get the points I needed. Now we can relax and enjoy the last three races of the championship, but first of all we are looking forward to celebrating tonight!”Lorenzo only needed to finish ninth or better to secure the crown, though no one expected him to finish that far back. Instead the Majorcan bolted from the pole position with Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso giving chase, as Rossi suffered through a miserable start that saw him end the first lap in ninth. From there he made a spirited assault, moving into sixth on lap two, fourth on lap three, and third on the fourth of 20 laps.Dovizioso made his move into turn one on the ninth lap to take the lead, with Lorenzo running wide, which allowed Rossi, who, had made short work of the field by setting one fastest race lap after another, to set yet another one on the eighth and close on the leaders.Rossi came up the inside of Lorenzo on the tenth lap to take second and went after Dovizioso as the race marked the halfway point. Rossi was in the lead on the 11th lap, Dovi second, and Lorenzo watching from third.Dovi took the lead back on the 16th lap, but Rossi wasn’t done and quickly seized it back. On the 18th lap Dovi again took the lead, but ran wide on the entrance of the Turn 9 hairpin left, giving Rossi an opening that he quickly seized.For the final two laps Rossi kept his fellow Italian at bay, while Lorenzo watched from a secure third.Rossi had his own reason to celebrate. The win was his 46th with Yamaha, matching his number.”Get back on the victory, and also with this race, is very important for me,” Rossi said. “It make me so, so happy.”So this is the 46th victory with Yamaha, so is so important. I have to try. I know this today after the warm-up I can do, because I have a great pace, but I start in the worst way because I  miss the start. I was 11th on the first lap. But straight away I understand that I have a great pace, so lap by lap I was coming back. And when I was behind Dovi and Jorge I have 1.5 second and it was 1.5 seconds longer of my career. At the end, so like in Motegi, Dovi never give up and I have to give all, all, all my energy.” Rossi thanked Yamaha for their seven years together, then repeated that he would be at Phillip Island next week, then added, “and I have to congratulate Jorge for the championship. He’s a great champion and in the future will be a great fight, I think.”Dovi said he thought of attacking Rossi at the end, but “Unfortunately, the last brake I wasn’t close enough to overtake him in the middle of the corner, because he brake a little bit too late and arrive too long,” Dovizioso began, “but anyway the second position is perfect. I mean, the victory, we believe in the victory, but last year we take 40 seconds from first rider in the middle of the season; we couldn’t get a podium. Now we’re fighting for the victory in two races.”Lorenzo’s championship set a number of marks. He becomes Spain’s second winner in the premier class; Alex Criville won the 1999 500cc title. Lorenzo also added his name to a glorious roster of Yamaha premier class world champions than includes Ago, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, and Rossi.By bringing the title back to Spain, Lorenzo did his part in making history for his country. With Gresini Racing’s Toni Elias securing the inaugural  Moto2 title earlier in the day, and a Spaniard certain to win the 125cc title, this will be the first time that all grand prix titles have been won by the same country. (Italians won three of four titles twice, in 1950 and 1975.)Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Ben Spies was alone in fourth, with Alvaro Bautista earning his best finish of the year in fifth.”I got a reasonable start but I suffered with the left side of the rear tire not coming up to temperature as quick as I’d hoped,” Spies began, “but once it did it worked great and I was able to fight my way through to another really strong result.”I was behind Nicky (Hayden) for a while and got stuck there but once I got by him I was reeling off 2.02s to get into fourth and I was happy with my race pace. I knew I couldn’t get third and that was a little frustrating because looking at the times of the top three, if I could have got away with them I really feel I could have been there. I know Lorenzo wasn’t pushing like his life depended on it with what he had at stake but I could have been closer to the front.”It was still a good race for me and I made some good passes and I’m looking forward to Phillip Island now.”Ducati Marlboro’s Nicky Hayden took advantage of a mistake by Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) to finish sixth. Hayden was in eighth when Simoncelli ran into Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) on the 19th lap, bumping both wide. Hayden snuck through to take sixth quite easily. Aoyama was seventh with Simoncelli falling back to eighth, just in front of disgruntled teammate Marco Melandri.”After qualifying and even warm-up this morning we were confident we could have a good race and put up a better fight than that,” Hayden said. “I got a decent start but I was struggling for feel under braking, I don’t know why. It has been a strong point for us all weekend but in the race I had no feeling from the front tire from the first corner and couldn’t brake how I wanted. It made life difficult, especially when it came to battling with other riders.”Sixth isn’t a terrible result but we thought we could put up a stronger fight here. Now we have a couple of days to regroup and hopefully come back stronger at Phillip Island.”LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet was alone in tenth, with Paginas Amarillas Aspar’s Hector Barbera (Ducati) beating Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing Ducati) for 12th.The contingent of non-finishers was led by Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner. After winning the last two races, Stoner’s race ended early when he fell on the first lap.”I’m bitterly disappointed with this weekend. Going into that race we were confident of a good result,” Stoner said. “We knew we would be at the front challenging for the win and watching the race confirmed that. I know I had the pace to be up there.”On the first lap I was calm, I made up some positions in the first two corners and when I got behind Dovizioso and Lorenzo I was happy to stay there and let the tires get up to temperature. Unfortunately I crashed because they weren’t warm enough but I don’t think I could have been more careful over those opening laps. I’m so disappointed that such a small thing can ruin an entire weekend.”Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi went out with an electrical problem on the fifth lap, then limped away, still hurting from a vicious Saturday morning crash. Pramac Racing Ducati’s Aleix Espargaro crashed out on the sixth lap. And Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) fell, remounted, and rode around to finish 13th, six laps down.MotoGP Results:

1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha

2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Honda

3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha

4. Ben Spies (USA) Yamaha

5. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Suzuki

6. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati

7. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Honda

8. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) Honda

9. Marco Melandri (ITA) Honda

10. Randy de Puniet (FRA) Honda

11. Hector Barbera (SPA) Ducati

12. Mika Kallio (FIN) Ducati