Moto GP

Lorenzo takes third win in a row at Estoril

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Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi put in a superb team performance overnight at the Grand Prix of Portugal on the Estoril circuit, taking first and second respectively to deliver Yamaha it's third consecutive Triple Crown with the Team, Rider and Manufacturers' titles.
The achievement marks the first time since the Triple Crown's inception that any manufacturer has won it three times in a row. After a weekend of disruption from the weather today's race was run mainly in bright sunshine, although rain earlier in the day meant the track was still patchy to begin with.

2010 World Champion Lorenzo made a strong start from pole, taking the lead into the first corner before briefly relinquishing it to Nicky Hayden for a few seconds before taking back control of the race. Team-mate Rossi made a play for the lead on lap four, relegating Lorenzo to second until lap 17 where a decisive out braking manoeuvre saw the Spaniard retake the lead, putting his head down to build an impressive eight second lead over Rossi by the chequered flag.

The victory was another landmark for Lorenzo, being the third consecutive time he has won from pole position at this track. Rossi's second position finish continues his impressive record in Portugal, giving him his tenth podium here in all classes.

"On the warm-up lap I could see there were still a few wet parts and I knew that I was going to have to be careful at the beginning," Lorenzo said. "I got a great start and was in the lead but eventually Valentino overtook me and then off he went. He had a better pace than me then and I couldn't go with him. As the track got drier I found my pace improving and then step-by-step I closed the gap and was able to get past him. At that point I felt really good and I am so happy to win for the third time here at Estoril. It was a long time since I have won but my confidence has remained high and I haven't been worried. I knew I could win here at my favourite track. We also confirmed the Triple Crown for Yamaha today so well done to the whole team for this victory."

Rossi's second-place and a non-finish from Casey Stoner, after the Australian once again crashed, means the Italian has moved back to third in the championship standings, 19 points off Dani Pedrosa and second place. The final round of the season comes in one week's time at Valencia in Spain

"Like I said yesterday, a wet warm up and a dry race is a difficult one! I am happy about this weekend, we worked really well on the bike on the wet and this morning I was the fastest in the warm up, if it had been a wet race I could have been very competitive," Rossi said.

"For the dry we started blind so I had to try to take some risks at the beginning because the setting was ok, but it was not enough because when Jorge got into his rhythm he was faster than me, I had no way to fight with him. I tried to stay with him but he was too fast. Anyway second place is positive for my championship because I am back in third place and I'm not so far from Dani Pedrosa in second. I'm happy to have improved the setting of the bike but we are still not strong enough so we will try to improve for Valencia for a final win with Yamaha."

Repsol Honda's Andrea Dovizioso andSan Carlo Honda's Marco Simoncelli it up the windswept Grand Prix with a thrilling last-lap duel for third place. The two Italians swapped places twice on the final lap, Dovizioso finally passing Simoncelli as they raced towards the chequered flag to grab third by 0.059 seconds.

"To be back onto the podium is so important for us and I'd like to thank my team and fans for their support this weekend," Dovizioso said.

"We can't be completely happy with our pace today because we were a long way from the front two riders, but overall the result is positive for us. The situation at Estoril has been strange for the whole weekend with every session being held in wet conditions and third position was the best we could have done today. It was quite an aggressive battle with Simoncelli but it has always been like this with him, so I needed to have a strategy for the last lap. He was faster than me in T3 and T4 and every time into the chicane he overtook me, but I knew that it was possible to take him out of the last corner because I had a bit more speed onto the straight, so this was my plan ‰ÛÒ and it worked. Now it's possible to fight with Stoner for fourth place in the championship and - although it will be difficult because he was fast here before he crashed and also has a ten point lead - this will be our target for Valencia next weekend," the Italian concluded.

"I am really pleased with my race today," Simoncelli said. "We did everything right and I was able to maintain a good rhythm from the start to the end. Dovizioso was a little bit faster than me on the straights but I still thought I could beat him. Unfortunately I made a tiny mistake in the final turn and lost a little bit of speed onto the straight, which gave him the advantage over the line. It was a shame but I am still delighted because this feels almost as good as a podium to us. Over the last four or five races I have been consistently on the pace from Friday practice and we did it again here at Estoril. Obviously we still have to work to improve the bike, especially the electronics, if we want to be on the podium but maybe we can do that at Valencia."

Nicky Hayden made a good start to lead the race on the second lap, after which the American hung onto third place for a lengthy spell before giving best to Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli in the closing stages, crossing the line just behind them in fifth place.

"Today was the first time in my career that I have gone out to race in the dry without completing a single lap in those conditions before lining up on the grid," Hayden said. "Over the first few laps the bike worked really well, I felt good and I even managed to lead the race which hasn't happened for a while. In the middle part of the race I had a couple of moments on damp patches and lost my feeling a little. I got my rhythm back together towards the end and joined in the fight for the podium. Fifth place alongside a crash for Casey isn't a brilliant result for the team ‰ÛÒ it has been a tough weekend on everybody but we will try to do better at Valencia," the American concluded.

Randy De Puniet and Colin Edwards crossed the line in sixth and seventh while Daniel Pedrosa finished in eighth in his first ride back since breaking his collor bone.

The final round of the season will take place in Valencia, Spain, next weekend.

Main Photo: Jorge Lorenzo
Credit: Yamaha


2010 MotoGP Portugal - Estoril 31/10/2010
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 46'17.962
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 0'08.629
3 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0'26.475
4 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0'26.534
5 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0'27.154
6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0'28.297
7 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0'30.109
8 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0'44.947
9 Marco Melandri Honda ITA 1'13.649
10 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 1'17.721
11 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1'17.908
12 Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 1'33.025
13 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1'39.752

RIDER STANDINGS 31/10/2010
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 358
2. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 236
3. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 217
4. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 205
5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 195
6. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 163
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 163
8. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 115
9. Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 110
10. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 100
11. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 99
12. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 82
13. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 78
14. Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 60
15. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 5

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