Fiat Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi put in a superb team performance today at the Grand Prix of Portugal on the Estoril circuit, taking first and second respectively to deliver Yamaha it’s third consecutive Triple Crown with the Team, Rider and Manufacturers’ titles. The achievement marks the first time since the Triple Crown’s inception that any manufacturer has won it three times in a row. After a weekend of disruption from the weather today’s race was run mainly in bright sunshine, although rain earlier in the day meant the track was still patchy to begin with.
2010 World Champion Lorenzo made a strong start from pole, taking the lead into the first corner before briefly relinquishing it to Nicky Hayden for a few seconds before taking back control of the race. Team-mate Rossi made a play for the lead on lap four, relegating Lorenzo to second until lap 17 where a decisive out braking manoeuvre saw the Spaniard retake the lead, putting his head down to build an impressive eight second lead over Rossi by the chequered flag. The victory was another landmark for Lorenzo, being the third consecutive time he has won from pole position at this track. Rossi’s second position finish continues his impressive record in Portugal, giving him his tenth podium here in all classes.
Rossi’s second-place and a non-finish from Casey Stoner means the Italian has moved back to third in the championship standings, 19 points off Dani Pedrosa and second place. The final round of the season comes in one week’s time at Valencia in Spain.
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.”
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.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Team Manager
“They were strange conditions for the race today, being run in the dry after all the wet practice sessions. We struggled at the start a bit with a full fuel tank, Jorge over braked a little on the end of the straight so P1 was not so good in the beginning. After eight or nine laps however the feeling was a lot better and he was able to catch up with Valentino and pass for the win. This is victory number eight and after a few races of not winning we are happy to be first again! We need to keep our focus for Valencia because it would be great to finish this fantastic season with one more win.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“On one side it was a very good race because we went into a dry race with a blind setting and we got a very good result, but unfortunately when you are so very close to the victory it’s hard to not get there. Anyway we took a positive second position and we learned a lot today about out setting for the final race. It was a very positive day for Yamaha too because we took the Triple Crown again, well done to everyone.”
Mixed fortunes for Edwards and Spies in Estoril
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha Team experienced mixed fortunes at the Grand Prix of Portugal today, Colin Edwards racing to a gutsy seventh position while Ben Spies was unfortunately unable to start after a heavy fall on the sighting lap.
After a weekend of atrocious weather severely disrupted the practice and qualifying schedule, the MotoGP race started on a drying track in bright and sunny but blustery conditions. Some damp patches were still visible on the surface after further torrential rain this morning, but with no dry track time under his belt, set-up and tyre choice became a lottery for Edwards.
Edwards needed to call on all his experie nce as tricky conditions in the early laps presented the 36-year-old with a severe test of skill and bravery. Working out quickly where he could push, Edwards spent the majority of the race on the fringes of an exciting five-rider fight for third place. He got up to seventh on lap 18 with an overtake on Randy de Puniet and at that point he was only 1.6s behind Marco Simoncelli in third.
Frustratingly for the Texan, he was unable to force his way into contention for a rostrum, despite launching numerous attempts to close down on the podium battle unfolding directly in front of him. He eventually finished seventh and heading to the final round in Valencia next weekend, Edwards is just one-point behind Marco Melandri in his bid to claim a top ten overall championship finish.
It was a difficult afternoon for fellow American Spies, who had impressed all weekend on his first visit to the Estoril track. Spies w as confident of a strong race despite having never completed a single lap of the track in the dry. But he crashed 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.
Colin Edwards – Position: 7th 99-points
“It was a lottery before the race because we’d had no dry track time and at the start there was still quite a few damp patches around. My guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 though did an awesome job because what we ran on the bike worked pretty good. But if you don’t adapt in a couple of laps then you’re in big trouble and off the pace. I felt pretty good from the start even though it was so difficult in the first few laps. It was hard to find the limit or work out when you were going to slide and everybody was having big moments. This is all going on why you’re trying to push at the same time and it was a bit of a lottery just to keep it on two wheels. I caught that group and I could see third but I couldn’t do anything with them and that was pretty frustrating. I made up time on them on the brakes but they just had a bit more punch coming out of the corners. So each time I’d close up, they’d gap me leaving the next corner. The podium was right there, I could see it, but I just couldn’t get close enough.”
Ben Spies – DNS 163-points
“I knew the race was going to be tough because I had never turned a lap in the dry on this track. The first sighting lap was fine and o n the second I just made a mistake at turn four. Aoyama and Capirossi were in front of me and they nearly did the same thing. I just didn’t have the left side of the tyre heated up enough and it spat me off. I’m frustrated because I’m sure even in the dry I could have had a fairly good race. I’ve hurt my left ankle again and it’s pretty painful right now. I’ll have some more scans in Spain but my intention is to go to Valencia and race and hopefully do the test too. We’ll have to wait and see but that’s my plan right now.”
Herve Poncharal – Team Manager
“It was certainly a mixed day for us. Colin rode a great race and he was always in that group fighting for the podium. He gave his maximum effort and he wasn’t that far away from the podium at the end in a race that was very difficult considering nobody had any dry track time over the weekend. I was standing on the grid when Race Direction told me that Ben had crashed at turn four and I feel really sorry for him because all weekend he’s done an incredible job. He’d never seen this track and in atrocious conditions he was always one of the fastest on track. When you look at the race it is not impossible to imagine Ben being capable of fighting for the podium again. We hope he’ll be fine for Valencia and I know already that he wants to race. Congratulations also to Jorge for another fantastic win in what has been an amazing year for him and Yamaha.”
Circuit Length: 4182
Lap Record: 1’36.937 (Daniel Pedrosa, 01/01/2009)
Fastest Lap Ever: 1’35.715 (Jorge Lorenzo, 13/04/2008)
Last Years Winner: Jorge Lorenzo
|2010 MotoGP Portugal – Estoril 31/10/2010|
|6||Randy De Puniet||Honda||FRA||0’28.297|
|9.||Randy De Puniet||Honda||FRA||110|