Jorge Lorenzo will head for the MotoGP summer break with a huge 72 point title lead after victory in the US Grand Prix at Laguna Seca on Sunday.

The Fiat Yamaha rider claimed his sixth win from nine races after nearest title rival Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the lead on lap 12 of 32, just as Lorenzo was beginning to put the Repsol Honda rider under pressure.

Pedrosa had shot from fourth on the grid to first with a brave outside-line over the crest into the turn two hairpin, with Lorenzo in third behind Ducati's Casey Stoner by the end of the first lap.

Stoner surrendered second to Lorenzo when he ran wide on lap six, just as Pedrosa looked in danger of breaking clear at the front.

Lorenzo then began to claw time back from his fellow Spaniard, and was 0.6sec behind when Pedrosa saw his hopes of victory end in a cloud of dust after a lowside fall.

The accident marked Pedrosa's first non-finish of the year and has at least delayed his hopes of scoring three wins in one season for the very first time in MotoGP. Pedrosa will have plenty more chances to do that, but the title damage may prove irreparable.

Thereafter, Lorenzo slowly edged away from Stoner - who backed off after several front-end scares - to win by 3.517sec.

The #99 celebrated by changing into a NASA-type spacesuit and doing a mock moonwalk before planting his Lorenzo Land flag at the top of the corkscrew.

The only hiccup for Lorenzo on Sunday happened when the Italian anthem was initially played on the podium instead of the Spanish anthem!

It wasn't entirely inappropriate, since there was one very famous Italian on the podium in the form of Valentino Rossi.

The Italian legend returned to the podium just seven weeks after breaking his leg at Mugello after catching and overtaking Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

The battle went right to the final turn, when Dovi ran wide after a last-gasp attempt to reclaim third.

That mistake almost handed fourth place to top American Nicky Hayden, who crossed the line less than half a second from Dovizioso.

Another American, rookie Ben Spies, got an electric start and followed Pedrosa through from the second row to hold a threatening fourth place in the opening laps.

However, an unseen moment on lap three dropped the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider back to seventh.

Spies then worked his way forwards and took fifth from Hayden on lap 21 and was setting himself up for a move on Rossi (then in fourth) when he dropped back behind Hayden once again on lap 25.

Spies was visibly frustrated as he returned to the pits after finishing in sixth.

One place, but 20 seconds, behind Spies was team-mate Colin Edwards, with Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda), Mika Kallio (Pramac Ducati) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) completing the top ten.

Roger Lee Hayden, replacing the injured Randy de Puniet at LCR Honda, finished his first MotoGP race since Laguna Seca 2007 in eleventh place - as he and fellow stand-in Alex de Angelis (Interwetten Honda) fought to the flag to avoid being last.

Joining Pedrosa on the DNF list were Laguna Seca rookies Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Hector Barbara (Aspar Ducati), Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) and Aleix Espargaro (Pramac Ducati). All fell except Barbera who looked to suffer a technical problem.

A two-weekend summer break will now take place under round ten of 18, at Brno in the Czech Republic, is held on August 13-15. Rossi is set to confirm his future plans at that event, which is immediately followed by the second and final day of in-season testing.

US Grand Prix:

1. Lorenzo
2. Stoner
3. Rossi
4. Dovizioso
5. N. Hayden
6. Spies
7. Edwards
8. Melandri
9. Kallio
10. Capirossi
11. R. Hayden
12. de Angelis



Loading Comments...