Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo halted the championship march of Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner with a runaway win in the San Marino Grand Prix at the Misano Circuit in Italy with a pair of Yamaha legends looking on. Lorenzo slipped by the pole-sitter Stoner into turn one and began to control the pace in a race that began with a few drops of rain and threatening skies. Stoner and teammate Dani Pedrosa stuck with the Majorcan for the first six laps, at which point Pedrosa seemed to be falling off the pace. Already Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden was out, having crashed on the third lap.Soon the rain would stop, the track would dry, and the lap times would fall. Lorenzo added half a second to his lead on the 12th lap when he set a new circuit record of 1:33.906. That put the gap to Stoner over a second and it continued to grow as Stoner began to tire. He'd later explain that the back to back races, as well as a few sleepless nights since last weekend's Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, had left him short of energy.

Lorenzo piled on the laps and crossed the finish line with 7.299 secs. in hand, much to the delight of Yamaha world champions Giacomo Agostini and Wayne Rainey, both of whom were watching from his pit box. Rainey returned to the track for the first time since his career-ending injury in the 1993 Misano Grand Prix.By then Stoner was no longer in second. Pedrosa took advantage of the fading Australian and the teammates swapped positions on the 24th of 28 laps. Pedrosa continued to pull away, putting 4.668 secs. between himself and Stoner.Pedrosa explained that the team had tried a different set-up and that it hadn't worked.

"From the first lap I see I couldn't push," he said. "I had a lot of front closings, so I wasn't able to force the bike on the entry of the corner and then I started to lose the place. I was off the pace for almost the whole race, but at the end I could catch Casey (Stoner) in the last laps and get second place."Stoner said he was happy with the performance of his Repsol Honda RC212V while sitting behind Lorenzo at the start, when a very light rain was falling. Once the rain stopped and the track dried, "we both started running faster lap times and I felt comfortable. Felt like the bike, everything, was working really well. We'd hit a good set-up. But then maybe halfway through the race when I felt like I was starting to get a feel for things, then all of a sudden I just started getting tired. My arms were struggling on the brakes. Ran wide a couple times and then started braking earlier, which lost me more time and just sort of built from there. I tried to keep a nice constant pace. I wasn't ever going to be able to catch Jorge again, but just to try and stay ahead of Dani. But just trying to keep that pace just made me more and more tired."I think after these last few races and a few bad nights sleep between Indy and now didn't really help and I think for the next race we'll be fine again. It was a tough race for sure today."The win halted Stoner's win streak at three and prevented him from adding to his points lead. With his third win of the season, Lorenzo took nine points out of Stoner's championship lead to cut it to 35 with five races to go.The battle for fourth was the hardest fought, the most entertaining, and the one that went to the line. The final lap began with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) in front of San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli and Yamaha's Ben Spies. Simoncelli went under Dovi in turn four, with Dovi briefly taking it back before Simoncelli forced his way back into third. The trio was three-wide going into the next corner with Dovizioso just in front before Simoncelli again asserted himself. "Super Sic" held off the advances of his longtime rival to take fourth, with Dovi fifth and Spies fifth.In a race held near his home in Tavullia, Ducati Marlboro's Valentino Rossi was alone in seventh and well in front of Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista.The next two across the line were Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP's Hector Barbera and Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Cal Crutchlow. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Hiroshi Aoyama was 11th at the team's home race with Karel Abraham 12th. Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards was seventh early before fading to 13th.MotoGP Results:1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

3. Casey Stoner (Honda)

4. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)

5. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)

6. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)

8. Alvaro Bautista (Suzuki)

9. Hector Barbera (Ducati)

10. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)

13 Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

 

MotoGP Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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