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Lorenzo wins Misano, Stoner fades
4 September 2011
MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo won his third race of the season with a dominant performable at Misano on Sunday.
Defying spots of rain on the grid, Lorenzo snatched the lead with a firm pass on title leader and pole-sitter Casey Stoner at turn one.
The Yamaha star then absorbed constant pressure from the Repsol Honda rider for the first half of the race - after which Stoner began unexpectedly dropping back.
Stoner later revealed that he was simply physically exhausted – not having slept well since last Sunday's Indianapolis round - and just didn't have the strength to push as hard as he wanted to.
Lorenzo remained wheel-perfect to the chequered flag to win his first race since Mugello by 7.299sec and reduce Stoner's points lead from 44 to 35 with five rounds to go.
The nine-point change was because it wasn't Stoner finishing in second, but his team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
Third on the grid Pedrosa had dropped back from the leading pair during the first half of the race. Stoner's loss of pace then saw Pedrosa close quickly on the Australian and he wasted no time in drafting past along the back straight with six laps to go.
Stoner - winner of seven races this season, including the previous three events - was thus left to collect the final podium place, 11.967sec from victory.
The highlight of the closing stages was a thrilling three-way fight between Marco Simoncelli, Andrea Dovizioso and Ben Spies for fourth.
Repsol rider Dovizioso did all he could to pass fellow Italian Simoncelli, but the Gresini Honda star thwarted his every effort. The trio were side-by-side into a braking zone on the final lap, but it was Simoncelli who held his line and regained fourth on the exit.
The #58 took fourth by 0.037sec from Dovizioso, with Factory Yamaha rider Spies, seventh early in the race, just 0.702sec further behind.
Local hero Valentino Rossi, outside of the top ten all weekend, delivered a good start and smart first few turns to rise to sixth by the end of the first lap - then passed Spies for fifth on lap two.
But attack quickly turned to defence and the Ducati rider lost out to Simoncelli and then Spies before claiming a lonely seventh at the flag.
Rizla Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista, riding in a special chrome livery, matched his eighth place on the grid at the flag, with Aspar's Hector Barbera just holding off rookie Cal Crutchlow.
Crutchlow's Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Coin Edwards dropped from seventh on the grid to 13th due to arm pump, with fellow American Nicky Hayden the only faller. The Ducati rider continued his nightmare luck at Misano by lowsiding out on the third lap.
Loris Capirossi's last grand prix on home Italian asphalt ended in disappointment with an early pit-stop due to chain problems being followed by a second and final trip to the pits on lap 10.
Round 14 of the world championship takes place at Aragon, Spain, on September 18.
San Marino Grand Prix:
14. de Puniet
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