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Lorenzo extends Championship lead with Le Mans victory

Lorenzo extends Championship lead with Le Mans victory

The Fiat Yamaha rider took a commanding win at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, ahead of team-mate Valentino Rossi. Andrea Dovizioso was third after a great fight for the final podium spot.

Jorge Lorenzo’s lead at the top of the MotoGP World Championship is now nine points after the Spaniard won the third round at Le Mans, his second victory of the season, triumphing in the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France ahead of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso. Lorenzo’s success also made it three Yamaha wins in the opening three races of the season for the first time since 1980.

A superb start from Rossi from his pole position saw the Italian lead into the first turn ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo, but the latter quickly moved into second and set his sights on his Fiat Yamaha team-mate. The early race order saw Ducati Marlboro pair Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner and Dovizioso inside the top five, whilst San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri shot up from 11th on the grid to sixth.

A decisive moment in the race came on only the second lap when Stoner slid out at Turn 6, and the Australian was unable to get back on his Desmosedici GP10 machine as he experienced the second non-finish of his season. Shortly after the race of Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech3) was ended prematurely with a fall, and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) was forced to retire too after damaging his bike when he went down..

The fight for the win started on lap seven when Lorenzo took the lead from Rossi, only to see the Italian immediately reclaim it. Undeterred, Lorenzo pushed again on lap ten, this time making his move stick as he moved into first and began to open up an advantage.

As the Fiat Yamaha riders occupied the top two positions, the battle for third was also an extremely engrossing one and involved another pair of team-mates. Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa and Dovizioso were tight in third and fourth, with Hayden refusing to lose touch in fifth as well.

Lorenzo’s lead over Rossi at the front had stretched to over four seconds with four laps to go, and Pedrosa and Dovizioso were by now locked in a marvellous duel for the final podium spot. Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini Team), Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) were involved in another tricky encounter for eighth position, as was Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) until a moment on his bike saw him lose valuable seconds.

A thrilling last lap played out as Dovizioso forced his way through on Pedrosa to take third, and Hayden also squeezed past the Spaniard. Lorenzo crossed the line to take victory by a gap of 5.672s from Rossi, with Dovizioso taking his second podium of the season in third place.

Hayden finished fourth for the third consecutive race, with Pedrosa ending the race in fifth. Melandri was sixth as a switch of suspension paid off for him, with Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) taking seventh in his home GP. The top ten was completed by Barberá, Aleix Espargaró (Pramac Racing) and Simoncelli. Aoyama took 11th place, and was followed by Edwards and Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing).


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