Lorenzo Wins Grand Prix of Spain
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo used his YZR-M1 to deliver a masterful lesson in wet riding to take his first MotoGP win of the year before his home crowd in Jerez, Spain on Sunday, April 3. Besides being his first professional victory in the wet, the win vaults Lorenzo to the top of the MotoGP championship standings with 45 points, nine points clear of Dani Pedrosa in second. But the treacherous conditions also derailed the hopes of several riders, notably including Lorenzo’s teammate Ben Spies who crashed out of the race. Spies drops to 12th in the standings and will be looking to make up ground at the next round in Estoril, Portugal on May 1.
Slipping comfortably into second position on the first of 27 race laps, Lorenzo stayed in contention within the top three for several laps, staying calm and then moving into first as rivals Casey Stoner, Valentino Rossi and Marco Simoncelli all crashed out of contention. Keeping a steady rhythm and inch-perfect lines finally rewarded Yamaha’s reigning world champion with the checkered flag. “With the competition so high this year I never imagined I would be the leader after two races,” Lorenzo admitted afterwards. “I am so happy to have won this weekend. It’s a great victory!”
In contrast, Spies was denied his first MotoGP podium as a factory rider with just three laps remaining. Having initially dropped to sixth after the start, Spies’ riding style was on par with Lorenzo’s, and the Texan laid down smooth, consistent laps on a track that was wet in some places and drying in others. He gained a half-second per lap on second-place Pedrosa, then caught and passed him, raising the possibility of a 1-2 Yamaha finish. Disaster then struck as the slippery conditions and worn tires brought Spies’ race to a premature end as he lost the front and slid off the track. “I don’t think of it as a race today, it was more attrition,” Spies mused. “As soon as I passed Dani I knew that we had second place under control. I was taking it easy then all of a sudden I was on the floor. It was one of those things, and I think tires were the limiting factor today. It was a great show for the crowd though!”
|2011 MotoGP Points||4/3/11|
|1||Jorge Lorenzo – Yamaha||45|
Stewart Fourth in Dramatic Texas Supercross
The already heated 2011 Supercross season went to full broil with a clash of former champions, and yet another changeup in the points standings, in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night, April 2. When the dust finally settled, San Manuel/Red Bull Yamaha’s James Stewart had finished fourth as rival Ryan Villopoto regained the points lead, Chad Reed dropped to second in the standings, and rookie Trey Canard won his third Supercross main event of the season and moved to fourth in points. Meanwhile Stewart dropped to fifth in the standings, and now trails Villopoto by 21 points with four events – a total of 100 points worth – up for grabs. Any one of five riders can still win the title.
The evening at Cowboys Stadium started exactly like many others have this year – with Stewart fastest in qualifying practice and comfortably winning his heat race over Canard. But just as in every other race this season, there was simply no predicting what might happen in the 20-lap main event. This time, Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot before quickly fading, and so after the first lap, all five title contenders were nose to tail in perfect formation for a historic fight, with the order Canard, Reed, Stewart, Dungey and Villopoto. For the 51,509 fans present, the excitement couldn’t have been any higher.
Stewart passed Reed for second on lap two, but his rival returned the favor on lap four as Canard maintained his lead. The pair battled vigorously until lap nine, when the former champions collided and fell after a whoops section. Stewart remounted in fifth, while Reed rejoined the race back in ninth. From then on, Stewart rode like the wind, quickly advancing into fourth and then chasing a podium finish until the laps ultimately ran out. The YZ450F rider must work hard to make up the points deficit with only four races remaining, and there will certainly be some fireworks in the process. “It’s been a long time – if ever – that five guys have all won races and are this close in points, this far into the season,” remarked Jim Perry, Yamaha’s Supercross manager. The next round is Saturday night, April 9 in St. Louis, Missouri.
|2011 AMA Supercross Points||4/2/11|
|5||James Stewart – Yamaha||234|
|2011 AMA Supercross Lites East Points||4/2/11|
|3||Ryan Sipes – Yamaha||119|