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Lorenzo cuts Rossi’s title advantage with Estoril triumph

Lorenzo cuts Rossi’s title advantage with Estoril triumph

A great win for Jorge Lorenzo at the Grande Premio de Portugal saw him reduce the gap to Valentino Rossi in the standings to 18 points.

Jorge Lorenzo repeated his 2008 Estoril victory from pole on Sunday to significantly boost his title chances as Valentino Rossi could only manage fourth place at the challenging Portuguese circuit.

The Fiat Yamaha pair got away in first and second places on the grid but Rossi was unable to match the pace of Lorenzo as he pulled away quickly at the front. On his return to action Ducati’s Casey Stoner rode brilliantly to follow Lorenzo across the line in second place, whilst Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third.

Lorenzo will now feel that with three races to go and an 18 point deficit to Rossi the championship is far more achievable than before the visit to Portugal. The Spaniard was in unstoppable form in the Atlantic Coast sunshine and his fourth win of the year was eventually secured by a 6.3s margin.

Stoner performed admirably on his return to action after two months away due to illness, achieving his first podium since Assen in June – and he now has his home race at Phillip Island to look forward to in a fortnight’s time.

Pedrosa rode smoothly from fourth on the grid, taking the holeshot with one of his traditionally rapid starts onboard the factory RC212V and briefly holding the lead before Lorenzo slipped through. Pedrosa’s third place was his eighth podium of 2009.

World Champion Rossi appeared to be off-colour throughout the race, finishing off the podium for the first time at Estoril in the premier class. The championship leader will undertake a comprehensive inquest into his lack of competitiveness with his Fiat Yamaha crew after finishing 23 seconds behind Lorenzo.

Behind the MotoGP big guns at the front, Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was 10 seconds back on Rossi in fifth place, whilst Toni Elías (San Carlo Honda Gresini) held off Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) for sixth on the line.

The top ten also featured Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro), James Toseland (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki), with Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing) crashing out early on and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) and Alex de Angelis (San Carlo Honda Gresini) retiring due to technical problems.


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