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Lorenzo wins Catalunya home MotoGP duel
3 June 2012
Jorge Lorenzo has extended his advantage at the head of the MotoGP World Championship standings with victory in front of his home fans at Catalunya.
The Factory Yamaha star won his third race from five starts after a near race-long duel with fellow home hero Dani Pedrosa.
The fast starting Repsol Honda rider threaded his way through from the second row to lead into turn one. Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies then briefly passed Pedrosa on lap 3, only to run wide and fall after clipping the grass.
Lorenzo made no such mistake when he outbraked Pedrosa with a tight pass into turn one on lap 7 of 25. But Pedrosa - seeking his first win - stuck with Lorenzo and slipstreamed back ahead just before the halfway stage.
Pedrosa then looked to be handed a golden chance to claim his first win of the year when Lorenzo bobbled under braking and lost one-second to the RCV rider.
But Lorenzo, using the softer rear tyre, was able to reel Pedrosa (on the harder rear) back in and made a victory pass when Pedrosa became unsettled by a wheelie on the back straight with just over five laps to go.
Watched from the pits by the Yamaha president, Lorenzo went on to win by five seconds, then celebrated with his fan club - including a red and white foam explosion after Lorenzo and an accomplice poured chemicals into two buckets.
4.3sec from Pedrosa, a delighted Andrea Dovizioso took his first podium as a Yamaha rider with a confident third place for the satellite Monster Tech 3 team. The Italian occupied the position for much of the race - then held off a charging Casey Stoner on the final lap.
Dovi's podium is the first by a non-factory rider this year, and first by a satellite MotoGP rider since the late Marco Simoncelli.
Perhaps due to the cooler conditions, pole sitter and reigning champion Stoner was unable to run at the front and spent much of the race fending off Dovizioso's team-mate Cal Crutchlow, before making a late burst.
Stoner is now 20 points from Lorenzo after missing the podium for the first time since Jerez 2011.
Following this morning's rain shower, the weather was dry but overcast for the race, reducing the track temperature by 12 degrees relative to the scorching 52-degrees seen in Saturday's qualifying.
Tyre choice had been borderline between the hard or soft rear slick, but the cooler weather - a possibility of further light rain - made the softer option already favoured by the Yamaha riders less of a gamble.
Ultimately, the front row of Stoner, Lorenzo and Crutchlow picked the hard/soft/soft rear respectively, while the second row of Spies, Pedrosa and Dovizioso selected the soft/hard/soft options.
Of the top six, only the Honda riders were running the older spec hard front.
The unlucky Spies charged all the way from last to tenth after his fall.
Alvaro Bautista (Honda), Valentino Rossi (Ducati), Stefan Bradl (Honda) and Nicky Hayden (Ducati) finished between Crutchlow and Spies.
Karel Abraham become the final full time rider to score a point this year in a distant twelfth place for Cardion AB Ducati.
Local star Aleix Espargaro beat Gresini FTR's Michele Pirro and his Aspar Aprilia team-mate Randy de Puniet to be the top CRT rider in 13th.
de Puniet was the only CRT rider to choose the harder rear.
Colin Edwards, making his return after missing Le Mans with a broken collarbone, was the only rider not to be classified after finishing through the pits on his Suter-BMW.
An official port-race test will take place back at Catalunya on Monday, with another test at Aragon on Wednesday (in place of the cancelled Estoril test).
Round six of the MotoGP World Championship will then be held at Silverstone from June 15-17.Catalan Grand Prix:
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Andrea Dovizioso
4. Casey Stoner
5. Cal Crutchlow
6. Alvaro Bautista
7. Valentino Rossi
8. Stefan Bradl
9. Nicky Hayden
10. Ben Spies
11. Hector Barbera
12. Karel Abraham
13. Aleix Espargaro
14. Michele Pirro
15. Randy De Puniet
16. James Ellison
17. Mattia Pasini
18. Yonny Hernandez
19. Danilo Petrucci
20. Ivan Silva