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Lorenzo wins Misano, Rossi second, Pedrosa misery

16 September 2012

Jorge Lorenzo almost trebled his MotoGP title lead after victory in Sunday's San Marino MotoGP was combined with a disastrous sequence of events for rival Dani Pedrosa.

In Pedrosa's absence, local star Valentino Rossi provided Lorenzo's closest opposition on his way to an equal Ducati-best of second in his final home Italian appearance for the factory.

Alvaro Bautista took a first ever MotoGP podium in third for the home Gresini Honda team, at a track recently re-named after their late rider Marco Simoncelli, following a photo finish with Italian Andrea Dovizioso.

The initial start was halted at the last moment due to a problem with Karel Abraham's Ducati - pole sitter Pedrosa then suffering technical issues on the grid just before the restart.

Pedrosa's Repsol Honda team worked frantically to free the front tyre warmer from the locked wheel - and Pedrosa was eventually able to join the sighting lap - but all was far from fine as he was seen gesturing and pressing numerous buttons on his RCV.

Forced to line-up in last place, Pedrosa made quick progress in the opening turns - only to be taken out by Hector Barbera, who slammed into Pedrosa's back wheel at the apex of the left-hand turn at the end of the first back straight.

Pramac Ducati rider Barbera was starting his first race since a training injury in July.

While Pedrosa suffered his first non-score of the year, Lorenzo led from start to finish for his sixth victory, ballooning his points lead from 13 to 38 points over Pedrosa.

Lorenzo suffered a DNF when he was taken out at turn one at Assen earlier this year.

Local star Rossi, making his final home appearance as a Ducati rider, began the grand prix from sixth - which he converted into second behind Lorenzo at turn one.

The seven time MotoGP champion faced pressure for much of the race, initially from rookie Stefan Bradl and then, in the closing stages, from Gresini Honda's Alvaro Bautista.

Sporting a special helmet fearing a cartoon image of Rossi as a bruised boxer on the ropes, Rossi used his new chassis and swingarm to keep a slight buffer over Bautista.

Rossi finished 4.3s from Lorenzo and 1.6s ahead of Bautista, then headed straight to the fans to celebrate.

Bautista had been overtaken by Andrea Dovizioso into the final turn, but got a better exit and claimed his first MotoGP rostrum by just 0.003s.

Dovizioso's Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who began the race from the front row, was third into the first chicane - then passed by Bradl and later Dovizioso before crashing out on lap 5 of 27.

Having held third for much of the race, Bradl dropped down the order to sixth, Lorenzo's team-mate Ben Spies also overtaking the Honda LCR rider.

Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden finished seventh on his return from injury, with Jonathan Rea two-seconds behind the American on his MotoGP debut.

World Superbike star Rea, replacing the injured Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda, began the race in ninth place - and had lost out more than most due to the damp free practice sessions.

Rea is all but certain to get another race outing at Aragon.

Aspar Aprilia's Randy de Puniet was forced to take avoiding action in the Barbera/Pedrosa clash, but reached ninth and top CRT rider by the finish.

Gresini CRT rider Michele Pirro took tenth in his home race, followed by Colin Edwards (Forward Racing).

Yonny Hernandez (Avintia), James Ellison (PBM), Danilo Petrucci - making his Suter-BMW debut for Ioda - and David Salom (Avintia) were the final riders to reach the flag. It was Salom's first race as a replacement for Ivan Silva.

Abraham's bike suffered another problem on the restart.

All 21 riders began the race with the harder Bridgestone front tyre and softer rear.

Round 14 of 18 will be held at Aragon, Spain on September 28-30.

San Marino Grand Prix:

1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Alvaro Bautista
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Ben Spies
6. Stefan Bradl
7. Nicky Hayden
8. Jonathan Rea
9. Randy De Puniet
10. Michele Pirro
11. Colin Edwards
12. Yonny Hernandez
13. James Ellison
14. Danilo Petrucci
15. David Salom


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