Portugal, Oct 31st -Persistent torrential rain led to the qualifying sessions for the MotoGP, Moto2 and 125cc categories being cancelled on Saturday. With excessive standing water on the track surface, gusting winds and constant heavy rain, meaning that the starting grids for each race was based on the combined times from the three free practice sessions.
Jorge Lorenzo however won from pole position for the third year in succession as he took victory at the bwin Grande Premio de Portugal on Sunday, finishing ahead of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Fiat Yamaha rider, for whom this was an eighth win in his title-winning 2010 campaign, got the better of his rival and team-mate Rossi as they battled early on and when he took the lead on the 17th of 28 laps he did not look back, eventually taking the chequered flag 8.629s clear of the Italian. It was Lorenzo’s first win since the Brno round, and leaves him on course to still be able to beat Rossi’s 2008 record points haul (373) in a single season in MotoGP with one round still remaining.
Hear Lorenzos interview here.[audio:http://circuitprodigital.com/wp-content/uploads/lorenzo_Interview_Estoril.mp3|titles=lorenzo_Interview_Estoril]
Jorge Lorenzo – Position: 1stTime: 46’17.962
“On the warm-up lap I could see there were still a few wet parts and I knew that I was going to have to be careful at the beginning. I got a great start and was in the lead but eventually Valentino overtook me and then off he went. He had a better pace than me then and I couldn’t go with him. As the track got drier I found my pace improving and then step-by-step I closed the gap and was able to get past him. At that point I felt really good and I am so happy to win for the third time here at Estoril. It was a long time since I have won but my confidence has remained high and I haven’t been worried. I knew I could win here at my favourite track. We also confirmed the Triple Crown for Yamaha today so well done to the whole team for this victory.”
The Italian brought home his factory M1 in a lonely second position for his tenth podium at Estoril in 11 visits as he finished almost 18 seconds ahead of Dovizioso, who had engaged in a thrilling battle to the very finish with Marco Simoncelli for the final podium position.
Valentino Rossi – Position: 2ndTime: +8.629
“Like I said yesterday, a wet warm up and a dry race is a difficult one! I am happy about this weekend, we worked really well on the bike on the wet and this morning I was the fastest in the warm up, if it had been a wet race I could have been very competitive. For the dry we started blind so I had to try to take some risks at the beginning because the setting was ok, but it was not enough because when Jorge got into his rhythm he was faster than me, I had no way to fight with him. I tried to stay with him but he was too fast. Anyway second place is positive for my championship because I am back in third place and I’m not so far from Dani Pedrosa in second. I’m happy to have improved the setting of the bike but we are still not strong enough so we will try to improve for Valencia for a final win with Yamaha.”
It was the Repsol Honda rider who edged it – by just 0.059s – to take his seventh podium of the season and leave the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider still looking for his first rostrum in the premier class.
Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden placed fifth after coming close to the podium, the American just 0.620s behind Simoncelli, whilst Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top seven, both within three seconds of Hayden.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) came in eighth, with Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Héctor Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) inside the top ten. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) were the final three riders to finish the race.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) suffered the bitter disappointment of crashing out at turn 13 on lap five as he pushed hard while in third position, whilst Pramac Racing pair Aleix Espargaró and Carlos Checa both failed to finish too, the former crashing on lap one and the latter retiring with an arm pump problem with 15 laps remaining.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) didn’t start the race after crashing on the second of two sighting laps at turn four and was unable to start the 28-lap encounter. Spies suffered a dislocated left ankle and aggravated injuries suffered in Le Mans and Silverstone earlier in the season. The 26-year-old will now travel to Spain where he will undergo MRI scans on the ankle, though he is determined to end his outstanding rookie campaign by participating in the final round in Valencia next weekend.
The battle for the runner-up spot in the Championship will now be determined next weekend, with Pedrosa on 236 points and Rossi on 217 and the only two who can now possibly end the campaign in second.