MUGELLO, ITALY, JULY 3 - Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo ran down a struggling Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) before pulling away to win the Italian Grand Prix before a crowd of nearly 84,000 sun-drenched fans at the Mugello Circuit in the Tuscan hills above Florence.Stoner had taken a flyer at the start, pulling out a quick lead that grew over two seconds by the eighth of 23 laps. But almost as quickly it began to reverse as Lorenzo ran down Stoner.Stoner would later say that the recommended rear tire pressure didn't work and traction became compromised. Once Lorenzo saw this he attacked, making a surgical pass on the inside of a left-hander on the 18th and trying to pull away. Stoner wouldn't let him, and he soon had his hands full with his teammate, Andrea Dovizioso.The lead from first to second was just over a second for the 21st and 22nd laps, and when Lorenzo crossed the line with his second victory of the year he had .997 sec. in hand. Dovizioso passed Stoner on the final lap with a clean pass on the inside of the first turn and held him off."Is so special, because the last three or four races have not been so well for us," Lorenzo said. "But you know, I try, I put everything I have on the track. Now I don't have any type of energy."Was so difficult to overtake Andrea (Dovizioso) and Casey (Stoner) in the hard braking, so I try to overtake them on the downhill and in the end everything was fine. And I want to thank Yamaha for all the effort they put to offer me the best bike possible."Dovizioso was ecstatic about finishing second in front of the home crowd, which included his family and young daughter. The second place was his third in the last five races and fourth podium of a very consistent season."The characteristic of the track is very hard to make 23 laps and to keep this pace, because in the middle of the race I thought the display was broken because I see always 48.8 every lap, so was something I didn't expect," he said."And I want to say thank you to the fans because they gave me a lot of support is something difficult to explain. Very, very special. Thank you very, very much. Thank you for the team because we start very strong this weekend."We working really hard and we arrive in the race very fast and the championship is still open and now we are fast, especially this track for me was always difficult, so it's mean we made a good job."Stoner was a "bit disappointed with this race. The potential of myself and the bike was a lot higher in my opinion," because of the bike he'd ridden to the pole position on Saturday. "We were really happy with everything, it was working. This morning in warm-up we realized that lap by lap the tire temperature was coming up and we were losing a lot of grips. We wanted to do something to try and get a little bit more grip during the race, but we were recommended basically to stay with the same tire pressures we had in warm-up. Quite clearly there's a big temperature difference. And soon as I got not even halfway through the race my grip just disappeared. As soon as the tire temperature got up, contact patch got smaller, I started losing the front, closing the front."As soon as I tried to open the gas the rear wanted to come around, so it was pretty much damage limitation. I lost the front a couple of times pushing into corners, so I just decided to try and slow it up a little bit and see what I could do when the caught me. But once they caught me again I had nothing to return with and it was pretty today to be honest, but we'll bounce back from this."The fight for fourth was waged between a pair of MotoGP sophomores. San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli spent most of the race alone in fourth, and tagging onto the leaders in the early going, before coming under pressure from Yamaha's Ben Spies late in the race. Then followed an entertaining battle between the second year riders, with Spies saying Simoncelli was aggressive, but clean.Spies had taken himself out of contention with two errors early on, resigning himself to a supporting role a week after his breakthrough win in the Dutch TT.On the final lap, Spies set up Simoncelli perfectly and made the pass that would carry him to fourth by .096 sec.Ducati Marlboro's Valentino Rossi was fifth and 26.450 secs. behind the winner. He'd found something in morning warm-up that improved his set-up, but not enough to challenge the leaders. The early part of his race was spent making his way through the field after qualifying down in 12th.He made his way into sixth on the 11th lap, but by then there was no hope of catching Spies and Simoncelli.Mapfre Aspar Team MotoGP's Hector Barbera was two seconds back in seventh and more than four up on Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa in his return to racing. Pedrosa wasn't at peak fitness for the race, after enduring two surgeries on his collarbone, and the heat didn't help either.Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards chose the wrong rear tire and went backwards from sixth on the second lap."Basically we made the wrong rear tire choice but it was so hard to decide which one was going to the better option," he said.Ducati Marlboro's Nicky Hayden was running down Edwards at the end when he ran out of time. Hayden's race effectively ended starting the second lap when he overshot the first turn and took a run through the gravel trap. There was no one to blame but himself, he said, after mounting a charge that would bring him back to tenth.After eight of 18 races, Stoner has a 19 point lead, 152 to 133, over Lorenzo, with Dovi third at 119.MotoGP Results:1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)

2. Andrea Dovizioso (Honda)

3. Casey Stoner (Honda)

4. Ben Spies (Yamaha)

5. Marco Simoncelli (Honda)

6. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)

7. Hector Barbera (Ducati)

8. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)

9. Colin Edwards (Yamaha)

10. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)

 

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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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