Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo turned in a flawless performance today at the Mugello Circuit in Italy, the Spaniard never putting a wheel wrong in completely dominating the Italian Grand Prix for his fifth victory of the year.
In stark contrast was the race turned in by Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner, the defending World Champion finishing eighth just a week after crashing out of the German Grand Prix. Stoner, the only rider to go with a hard-compound rear Bridgestone tire, eased in to the race and got as high as fifth before running off the track and into a gravel trap with 15 laps to go. That dropped him to 12th. The Australian would end up eighth after ramming past Alvaro Bautista with six laps to go, then passing Hector Barbera.
He is now 37 points behind Lorenzo in the championship after nine rounds.
The man who is second in the title chase is Dani Pedrosa and Pedrosa finished second in this one. The Spaniard was passed in turn one by Lorenzo and could do nothing as the Yamaha rider slowly eased away.
Pedrosa instead had his hands full early with Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizisio, the Italian getting off to a fast start and running third early on. But Pedrosa would pull clear and end up a lonely second. He now trails Lorenzo by 19 points, 185-166.
Dovizioso would fall back into the clutches of LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl and those two would fight for the duration for the final podium spot. But things would get interesting in the final two laps when those two were caught by Marlboro Ducati's Nicky Hayden.
On the final lap, Hayden actually passed Bradl, only for the German to barge his way past on the inside, pushing Hayden way wide and almost off the track. That allowed his teammate Valentino Rossi to move past, shuffling Hayden back into the clutches of Monster Tech 3 Yamaha's Cal Crutchlow.
With Dovizioso barely beating Bradl and the line and Rossi a dry weather best of fifth at the finish of his home Grand Prix, Hayden was further shuffled back at the line to finish seventh behind Crutchlow. It wasn't a fitting finish for Hayden, the Kentuckian putting in what may have been his best ride of the season.
Stoner ended up eight with Barbera and Bautista rounding out the top 10.
Yamaha's Ben Spies started strongly but faded with some sort of illness - likely food poisoning. He ended up 11th. Texan Colin Edwards pulled out of the race on the seventh lap.
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
4. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
5. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
6. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Casey Stoner (Honda)
9. Hector Barbera (Ducati)
10. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)