Lorenzo Finishes First But Everyone Is Talking About Rossi

May 20, 2012 View Comments by

The fourth round of the MotoGP™ at the Le Mans race circuit in France added quite the handicap for the racers with the relentless rain that made conditions extremely challenging. Though Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) was in pole position until the end, the true excitement followed Valentino Rossi (Ducati).

Through most of the race the focus was on the breath-taking fight for third place between the Italian with the number 46 and the two Yamaha Tech 3 riders Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso. In true MotoGP fashion Rossi left the two contenders in the (wet) dust, and remained glued to Casey Stoner’s (Repsol Honda) rear tire towards the end of the race. After a heated battle Rossi passed the Australian and finished second in the last lap.

Well done Valentino Rossi and thanks for bringing back the excitement that has been lacking thus far this year.

 

Race Report

On a day that saw all three classes of the MotoGP™ World Championship come up against the worst weather condition seen so far this season at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans, it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo who retook the championship lead as he dominated in tricky conditions. He finished ahead of Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who recorded his and the Italian outfit’s best result since joining them last season.

At the start of the race it was however Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who got off to one of his trademark starts followed closely by teammate Casey Stoner. Their lead was short lived, as Lorenzo charged past the pair and instantly pulled out a gap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also made a good start in fourth, followed by a surging Rossi in fifth.

It was heartache for the French fans from the beginning as Power Electronics Aspar’s local rider Randy de Puniet dropped his bike on the grid, and had to head out on his spare one. Near the front, Rossi soon moved past Crutchlow to take fourth, with Dovizioso following suit almost instantly. Avintia Blusens’ Iván Silva’s race was ended early as he fell foul of the wet conditions, crashing out of the race in the opening stages.

With Lorenzo building a three second lead, Stoner pushed past Pedrosa to chase down his championship rival. Pedrosa seemed to struggling on the wet surface, with Rossi capitalising on this to take third with 21 laps left. The Tech3 pair passed Pedrosa even further down the order as they looked to hunt down Rossi.

Towards the back, Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies was struggling and had a wobble at the end of turn two, shortly after which he entered the pits. Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham retired with 17 laps to go, with NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s replacement rider Chris Vermeulen also having to come in for a helmet change.

As Lorenzo was maintaining his lead around the three-second mark ahead of Stoner, it was the ensuing tussle for third between Crutchlow, Dovizioso and Rossi that was providing some breath-taking overtaking in horrific conditions. Ten laps before the end it was misery for Crutchlow as he lost the front in the first chicane, leaving the two Italians to fight it out for the final podium spot, with Rossi taking third just two corners later. The Brit managed to restart his bike and re-join in eighth. Meanwhile, Lorenzo had extended his lead to six seconds at the front with Stoner a further four seconds ahead of Rossi.

With five laps to go Stoner was held up slightly by Avintia’s Yonny Hernandez, who was being lapped, allowing Rossi to get to within half a second of the Australian world champion. Two laps later, Dovizioso crashed out of fourth tying to stick with the pair, while down the field Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci crashed out of 11th.

The last three laps gave MotoGP fans a racing delight, as old adversaries Stoner and Rossi swapped positions throughout. It was however Rossi who looked back to his old self as he passed Stoner in the first chicane on the last lap, after which he pulled out a lead big enough to secure second.

At the end it was Lorenzo who took the chequered flag to take an eight-point lead at the top of the championship ahead of Stoner, who came home in third. Pedrosa managed fourth, while LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl recorded his best ever result in fifth, ahead or Rossi’s teammate Nicky Hayden. Dovizioso, who managed to re-join after crashing, finished seventh ahead of his teammate Crutchlow, while Pramac Racing’s Héctor Barberá and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista completed the top ten. Paul Bird Motorsport’s James Ellison put in a great performance to finish as top CRT in 11th.

Source: MotoGP

Photos courtesy of motogp.com.

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I've been riding street bikes since my early teens, and I've been addicted ever since. I can currently be found in Northern New Jersey on my quest to discover all the great backroads.