There were only three "aliens" at the front of the
second Moto GP event of the year instead of four, but they dominated
the race, finishing close together nine seconds ahead of fourth
Jorge Lorenzo stuck his Fiat Yamaha past fellow Spaniard (and
hated rival) Dani Pedrosa on the last lap to snatch the victory from
Pedrosa, who’d taken his Repsol Honda to pole position, got the
holeshot, and let the entire race up to that point.
Lorenzo’s team-mate, defending series champion
Valentino Rossi, took the final podium position and was happy to get
that after struggling with handling problems and a painful shoulder
he injured in a motocross accident only a couple of weeks ago.
Alien No. 4, Casey Stoner, was uncharacteristically
nowhere, after chasing the set-up on the factory Ducati all weekend.
In the race he nearly crashed with front-end issues several times and
eventually settled for fifth behind his team-mate Nicky Hayden, who
repeated his excellent Qatar performance, albeit too far back to be
in contention for a podium.
The other Repsol Honda, piloted by Andrea Dovizioso, was
sixth after a sub-par performance for him, especially after his
dazzling show in the first race at Qatar. He qualified poorly and
just never got going quickly enough to challenge at the front.
While the Ducati team weren’t impressed with being so
far behind at the flag, they were certainly pleased that their bike
seems finally rideable enough that they aren’t solely dependent on
Casey Stoner. Hayden was strong all weekend, and Mika Kallio on the
satellite Pramac team took an impressive seventh, coming from the
final starting position to just edge Marco Melandri on the San Carlo
Suzuki had a middling weekend at best. Loris Capirossi
crashed out of the race on the third lap, but new boy (up from the
250 ranks) Alvaro Bautista got his first Moto GP finish, making three
Spaniards in the top 10.
The Tech 3 Yamaha squad had a terrible outing after the great start to
their season in Qatar. Ben Spies retired after eight laps with a
front end problem that made the bike nearly unrideable, while
team-mate Colin Edwards struggled with rear tire grip and finished
way down in 12th
Moto GP Standings after two of 18 races
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain, Fiat Yamaha, 45 points; 2.
Valentino Rossi, Italy, Fiat Yamaha, 41; 3. Dani Pedrosa, Spain,
Repsol Honda, 29; 4. TIE, Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda and
Nicky Hayden, USA, Marlboro Ducati, 26;
6. Randy de Puniet, France, LCR Honda, 17; 7. Colin
Edwards, USA, Tech 3 Yamaha, 12; 8. TIE Casey Stoner, Australia,
Marlboro Ducati, and Ben Spies, USA, Tech 3 Yamaha, and Marco
Melandri, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 11.
Next race is at le Mans in France, May 23.