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Lorenzo breaks resistance for Assen victory
26 June 2010
Jorge Lorenzo has equalled his four MotoGP race wins from last season after just six rounds of 2010, after the title leader turned early pressure into another confident victory at Assen on Saturday.
Fastest in every track session leading up to the race, the Fiat Yamaha rider was over one-second clear at the end of the opening lap, and looked set to disappear into the distance once again.
However, Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa - who looked to make a significant step forward in morning warm-up - broke through from seventh on the grid to take second place from Ben Spies by the end of lap 3 of 26.
Pedrosa was then quickly able to reel-in the #99, and the fight for victory became three-way when Ducati's Casey Stoner arrived on Pedrosa's rear wheel just a few laps later.
However Lorenzo kept his cool and Pedrosa (running, like Stoner, the softer rear tyre option) seemed to lose momentum just after the halfway stage, allowing Lorenzo to pull away again.
Stoner, who at one point had been just 0.6sec from Lorenzo, worked hard to try and get around Pedrosa's RCV and prevent Lorenzo escaping.
But the Australian began to lose pace with seven laps remaining - later explaining he had suffered arm pump - and the podium positions were effectively decided.
Lorenzo officially took victory by 2.935sec from Pedrosa, with Stoner four-seconds further back to finally claim Ducati's first podium of the 2010 season. Lorenzo is now 47 points clear of Pedrosa in the championship.
After losing second to Pedrosa, rookie Spies had dropped back to fifth in the space of one lap, before regrouping and re-passing Andrea Dovizioso for fourth place, into the final chicane, on lap 16.
Dovizioso then found himself facing a further assault from the satellite Honda of Randy de Puniet. The Frenchman had qualified second, but his RCV reared-up at the start, leaving him seventh through the first few turns.
Dovizioso and de Puniet exchanged fifth almost to the flag, with Randy only surrendering the position after a failed overtaking attempt at the last turn on the last lap.
Stoner's factory Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden spent much of the race with Spies' Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards, with rookies Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) and Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Ducati) completing the top ten.
Simoncelli's team-mate Marco Melandri was ruled out of the event after dislocating his shoulder in a Friday morning fall, while Hiroshi Aoyama - injured last Sunday at Silverstone - was replaced at Interwetten Honda by HRC test rider Kousuke Akiyoshi.
Akiyoshi finished the race one lap down, in 15th and last, on a day when all riders reached the chequered flag.
The Catalan Grand Prix takes place next weekend in Barcelona, where Fiat Yamaha will replace the injured Valentino Rossi with test rider Wataru Yoshikawa.
6. de Puniet
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