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Lorenzo defeats Hondas at Mugello
3 July 2011
Jorge Lorenzo caught and passed Casey Stoner to claim a brilliant victory in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.
Lorenzo, Yamaha's reigning world champion, took on and beat two factory Hondas, having spent the first half of the race fighting Stoner's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso for second.
That looked like the maximum Lorenzo could achieve - with Stoner a 'safe' two-seconds clear - but Lorenzo suddenly began taking chunks out of the Australian's lead just after the halfway stage.
Lorenzo then dived inside Stoner through the middle of a right-left turn with six laps to go and went on to win by 0.997sec. And it wasn't Stoner in second, but delighted home star Dovizioso, who passed the world championship leader at the start of the last lap.
A disappointed Stoner, who attributed his loss of speed to his tyres overheating, is now a reduced 19 points in front of Lorenzo after eight of 18 rounds.
Fourth place went to Lorenzo's team-mate and last weekend's Assen winner Ben Spies, who overtook San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marco Simoncelli on the final lap. Simoncelli had been a podium contender during the first half of the race, but dropped away in the second.
Valentino Rossi began his first home race as a Ducati rider from just twelfth on the grid after struggling to make the new Desmosedici GP11.1 work as he would like around a circuit he was unbeaten at from 2002-2008.
Rossi, who broke his leg in practice for last year's race, worked his way steadily forwards to finish in a lonely sixth place, 17 seconds behind Simoncelli.
The Doctor was the top Ducati rider, with team-mate Nicky Hayden finishing the first lap in sixth, but the running through the gravel at turn one and returning to the track 16th and last.
The American recovered to tenth in a race that saw just one rider, rookie Cal Crutchlow, fail to finish. Crutchlow pitted with front tyre problems, for the second race in a row.
Aspar Ducati rider Hector Barbera provided stubborn resistance to Rossi and, after being passed, finished just over two-seconds from the #46.
Fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, returning to MotoGP action after missing the last three races due to a broken collarbone in the Le Mans accident, claimed eighth, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Coin Edwards finishing just ahead of Hayden in ninth.
Pramac Ducati's Loris Capirossi missed his home event after being injured in qualifying for last weekend's Assen round. Capirossi will be replaced by Sylvain Guintoli for the next two events.
The Mugello circuit was resurfaced for 2011.
A test session is available at Mugello on Monday, although it now looks as though no factory 1000cc bikes will be present. The German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring takes place in two weeks' time.
Italian Grand Prix
14. de Puniet
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