Jorge Lorenzo. The guy rides a great season, wins lots of races,
collects his first Moto GP world title with three races left on the
schedule — and all anybody can talk about is Valentino Rossi’s
fantastic ride to victory at the Sepang race. Lorenzo has got to be
there’s good reason for it. All he had to do was finish ninth to
clinch the crown, since the only guy who could mathematically have
caught him was at home in Barcelona nursing a broken collarbone. On
the other hand, Rossi was utterly brilliant at Sepang.
guy is still not completely healthy from an early-season shoulder
injury, missed four races in mid-season with two bones broken in his
left leg, qualified on the second row and then had an utterly
horrible start. He was 11th
on the first lap while Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha and Andrea Dovizioso’s
Repsol Honda started splitting from the field almost at once. To come
back from all that and win only his second race of the year was a
great triumph, and a superb ride.
Doctor" said himself that he thought "it
was a fantastic race, one of the best of my career I think." Nobody
watching would argue against that; great to see some actual racing
and passing in Moto GP for a change.
and Dovi’s early break was made easier by Casey Stoner crashing his
Marlboro Ducati on the first lap; he blamed a cold front tire, but
everyone else made it around the corner, including the two guys he
was chasing, so who knows? Dovizioso kept the pressure on Lorenzo,
passing him for the lead on the ninth lap of 20. But Rossi was
unbelievably already there; third on the field by the fourth lap
after scything through the world’s fastest racers as though they
weren’t even there.
caught his team-mate Lorenzo for second on the next lap, then pushed
Dovi wide to take the lead on the next. From there he was never
headed, although his fellow Italian kept the pressure on, eventually
finishing only two-tenths of a second back. Lorenzo also pushed for a
bit, but finally settled down to a more relaxed pace to take third
and his first Moto GP title.
Majorcan said, "This is a dream come true for me today …
This is something I have always wanted and something I’ve dreamed of
my whole life."
the top three left the rest of the field for dead, there was also
some pretty damn good racing farther back. Alvaro Bautista got an
amazing fifth on the Rizla Suzuki, his best Moto GP result ever,
after an entertaining battle with Ben Spies, who put his Tech 3
Yamaha ahead of Bautista for good just a couple of laps from the
them, Nicky Hayden took his Ducati to sixth, after getting past
Hiroshi Aoyama and Marco Simoncelli with two laps to go when the
Japanese and Italian forced each other wide in a ding-dong battle and
let the American slip through. It was an amazing display from Aoyama,
his best result of the season and by far his best since returning
from multiple broken vertebrae — he’s still wearing a special
brace for his back.
three races left to go there are still some championship standings to
settle, but with the title settled, for sure the main action will
focus on the individual rivalries, none more so than that between the
Fiat Yamaha team-mates.
is going to want to rub it in that he’s still The Man and that
Yamaha made a mistake in basically choosing Lorenzo over him, while
Lorenzo is going to have exactly the opposite goal.
Casey Stoner is going to have to work hard to impress his new Honda
bosses for next year – while he’s won two races since signing
with them, he’s also crashed out of three.
lots of seats are still up for grabs. These last three races could be
the best of the year.
GP standings after 15 of 18 races
Jorge Lorenzo (champion), Spain, Fiat Yamaha, 313 points; 2. Dani
Pedrosa, Spain, Repsol Honda, 228; 3. Valentino Rossi, Italy, Fiat
Yamaha, 181; 4. Casey Stoner, Australia, Marlboro Ducati, 180; 5.
Andrea Dovizioso, Italy, Repsol Honda, 179;
Ben Spies, U.S.A., Tech 3 Yamaha, 152; 7. Nicky Hayden, U.S.A.,
Marlboro Ducati, 139; 8. Randy de Puniet, France, LCR Honda, 94; 9.
Marco Simoncelli, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 92; 10. Marco
Melandri, Italy, San Carlo Gresini Honda, 86.
race, October 17, Philip Island, Australia