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Lorenzo extends championship lead with awesome Assen win

Jorge Lorenzo put in another textbook performance at Assen today, leaving his rivals trailing as he led from the front to win the 80th Dutch TT and take his fourth victory of the season. In doing so he becomes only the seventh rider in history to have won in three or more classes at the historic racetrack, with 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP wins to his name. Meanwhile Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies ensured that there were still two Yamahas in the top four, despite the absence of Valentino Rossi, with another brilliant performance to back up his maiden podium last week.

Mallorcan Lorenzo had looked the man to beat all weekend after topping both practice and qualifying and he got a great start from pole position and quickly pulled out a second’s gap, but by lap five Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner were looming large behind him and for a few laps it looked as if a tense three-way battle was in the offing. However Lorenzo’s choice of the harder Bridgestone tyre soon began to pay off and, with a lighter fuel load by mid-race distance, he was able to step things up a notch and gave himself an unassailable lead, crossing the line 2.935 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, with Stoner third and Spies fourth.

The Fiat Yamaha man’s second win on the bounce sees him extend his championship lead to an impressive 47 points from Pedrosa, while Rossi remains fourth in the standings. The next round comes in just a week’s time at Barcelona in Spain, when Wataru Yoshikawa will join the Fiat Yamaha Team to fill in until Rossi is back on board his M1.

Jorge Lorenzo – 1st, Time: 41’18.629
“This race was a bit more difficult than Silverstone because Dani was so fast with the softer tyre early on in the race and I had to really keep my concentration to stay in front of him at that point. I was confident that my harder Bridgestone tyre would help me later on and this was the case, so we made the right choice. It wasn’t easy though and at the end I was sliding quite a lot, in fact I made a mistake at the chicane and nearly crashed so I was quite glad to finish! I am really happy that I have won here in all three classes because it’s such a historic place and the football I had in Parc Ferme was to celebrate this ‘hat-trick.’ Thanks to all my Yamaha guys and also to Bridgestone for this win, we have a big lead in the championship so we can afford to stay calm and relaxed. Now we go to my home in Barcelona and I am excited about another chance to race in front of the Spanish fans.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager Jorge Lorenzo
“We knew before the start that Pedrosa and Stoner had chosen the softer tyre so we expected them to be fast at the beginning and in fact we were quite pleasantly surprised that Jorge was able to make a gap so early on. Then they came back to him but he is mentally very strong at the moment and he just kept his head and did very well to stay in front, because they were pushing him hard for a while. Once the laps went on and our fuel load was reduced, Jorge was able to use the harder tyre to his advantage and he succeeded brilliantly, we had no doubts about him. Well done to him and to all the team for this second win in a row on this special TT Anniversary”.

Ben Spies scores a brilliant fourth at Sun-kissed Assen

Ben Spies produced another outstanding ride today in the 80th running of the historic Dutch TT, the Texan thrilling a crowd of nearly 100,000 fans with a stunning fourth place.

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Spies made a blistering start from fourth on the grid to take up the tough challenge of fighting with dominant MotoGP world championship leader Jorge Lorenzo in the early stages. Opting to use the softer compound Bridgestone rear tyre, Spies kept Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner at bay with a hard charge in the opening laps before he slipped down to fourth on lap four. Unable to match the pace of the leading trio despite pushing his YZR-M1 machine to the limit, Spies became locked in a close dice with Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian looked at ease in fourth spot before Spies mounted a brilliant attack on lap 15 from fifth position. He started the lap over 0.7s adrift of Dovizioso but slashed the deficit to 0.103s at the end of lap 15.

Spies then produced a brilliantly executed overtake on Dovizioso at the final chicane on lap 16 and was able to use his superior speed to pull out a comfortable gap over the Repsol Honda rider. But Dovizioso wasn’t finished and inspired by Randy de Puniet’s attack, both began to hunt down Spies as the battle for fourth intensified. Spies responded with a masterful performance in the final four laps, the 25-year-old holding his nerve with some brilliantly aggressive riding to prevent de Puniet and Dovizioso from getting close to denying him fourth place. Spies took fourth by nearly two seconds at the conclusion of the 26-lap race to continue the excellent form he displayed when storming to a maiden podium at Silverstone last weekend. It is the second successive race that he has finished leading non-factory rider and he moved firmly into the battle for a top four championship placing.

Fellow American Colin Edwards extended his impressive record of scoring points in all six races so far this season with a solid ride to eighth place. Edwards continued to adapt to a new front-end geometry set-up he first tried this weekend and gained crucial information that he hopes will help him close the gap to the leading group in future races. The 21-points collected by Spies and Edwards today moved the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad into fourth place in the Team World Championship standings, the French squad once again the leading independent squad in the series.

Ben Spies – 4th, Time: +13.265
“I got a good start and was happy with that. I ran the soft rear tyre because it made the front load better for turning and the track temperature was hotter than all weekend. But it didn’t work as well I’d hoped in the first ten laps and then when Dani and Casey came by I knew I was holding them up. But I was sticking with my game plan. I tried as hard as I could and 12 laps in Andrea passed me. But then his tyres dropped down to where I was with mine and I reeled him back in. The podium battle had gone away and then over the last three laps I heard Andrea and Randy putting the pressure on. I put my head down hard and managed to open a gap. I was sliding a lot but I managed to stretch away and I could cruise the last lap. I wanted at least fourth place today and I’m happy but I didn’t have the pace for the podium like in Silverstone. I’m happy with the result and we go to Catalunya next week not knowing the track and I think we will be a little bit on the back foot again. But I’ll do the same as the past two weeks and push as hard as I can.”

Colin Edwards – 8th, Time: +28.991
“I can’t be disappointed or upset with eighth place and wonder why I didn’t get a better result when I rode my heart out. There was nothing else I could have done today but I know what we can improve. We’ve been experimenting with some different front-end settings and we’ve made it better, but I just lose a bit of time when I release the brakes and can’t turn the bike how I want. And losing that little bit everywhere adds up by the end of the lap and makes it difficult. I know I rode harder than last year when I finished fourth, but I’m eighth. I guess that proves that those guys at the front are running an unbelievable pace. I was behind Nicky for a long time but I could never get close enough to put a pass on him. Looking at Ben it can be better and once again, I can’t praise him enough. He’s riding really good and I have to congratulate him because at the last two races he’s been really impressive.”

Herve Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“I can’t say enough good things about Ben. He made an incredible start and he almost took the lead. We knew Casey and Dani would push hard and in the first few laps I don’t think Ben had a great feeling with the bike. But he dug deep and continued to push and I have to give him enormous credit for that. Dovizioso and de Puniet were pushing really hard at the end but Ben’s strength is his pace on used tyres and he demonstrated this again. Being greedy we’d have liked to be on the podium again but fourth showed he is the best of the rest of the moment. His confidence is really high and he’s proving a massive asset for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Colin had a strong race and after Silverstone he found a direction with the bike, which we hope will work in the future. He was pushing hard and never gave up and the points he scored have helped us move back into fourth place in the Team Championship. That is very important for us. I said that in 2010 the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team had its strongest line-up ever in MotoGP and I think today again we proved that.”

Circuit Length: 4555
Temp: 23
Crowd: 100000
Weather: SunnyLap Record: 1’36.411 (John Hopkins, 01/01/2006)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’34.515 (Jorge Lorenzo, 26/06/2010)
Last Years Winner: Valentino Rossi
2010 MotoGP Netherlands – Assen 26/06/2010

Race 1 – 26 Laps

Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Total Time
1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 41’18.629
2 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 0’02.935
3 Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 0’07.022
4 Ben Spies Yamaha USA 0’13.265
5 Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 0’15.323
6 Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 0’15.772
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 0’25.867
8 Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 0’28.991
9 Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 0’35.658
10 Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 0’35.837
11 Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 0’56.769
12 Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 0’56.890
13 Loris Capirossi Suzuki ITA 1’00.615
14 Alvaro Bautista Suzuki ESP 1’08.074
15 Kousuke Akiyoshi Honda JPN -1Laps

 

Rider Standings 26/06/2010
Pos. Rider Manu. Nat. Points
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 140
2. Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 93
3. Andrea Dovizioso Honda ITA 89
4. Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 61
5. Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 61
6. Randy De Puniet Honda FRA 56
7. Casey Stoner Ducati AUS 51
8. Ben Spies Yamaha USA 49
9. Marco Simoncelli Honda ITA 39
10. Colin Edwards Yamaha USA 34
11. Marco Melandri Honda ITA 32
12. Aleix Espargaro Ducati ESP 28
13. Hector Barbera Ducati ESP 28
14. Mika Kallio Ducati FIN 20
15. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda JPN 18

 

Manufacturer Standings 26/06/2010
Pos. Manufacturer Points
1. Yamaha 145
2. Honda 117
3. Ducati 81
4. Suzuki 26