Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo extended his lead in the overall standings yesterday as he won his second successive race, the Catalunya MotoGP.
The Yamaha-riding 2010 world champion came home clear of compatriot Dani Pedrosa on a Honda, while Andrea Dovizioso, on a Yamaha, edged world champion Casey Stoner for third.
Lorenzo, 25, was winning his third race of the season and 20th MotoGP, having taken the opener in Qatar and then added the French race last time, and holds a 20 point lead over Stoner heading into the British MotoGP in a fortnight.
Pedrosa got a terrific start bursting past those in front of him on the grid, including Cal Crutchlow and the two riders on the front row, Lorenzo and Stoner.
Pedrosa was closely followed by Ben Spies on a Yamaha as Lorenzo dropped back to third and Stoner in fifth.
Spies looked to have rediscovered some of his great form from last year as he pressured Pedrosa going into a corner on the second lap and the American duly passed the Spaniard, but disaster struck as he went too wide and slid into the gravel.
Pedrosa carried on in front until Lorenzo swooped with 19 laps remaining to pass him and, unlike his Yamaha teammate, did not make an error on taking the lead — Stoner along with his Honda teammate had been the only riders to opt for hard tires, but unlike Pedrosa he was struggling and was trailing in fourth.
Stoner was two seconds adrift of the front three — Dovizioso was in third — with 17 laps remaining, but making no inroads into their lead.
Pedrosa and Lorenzo were having a thrilling battle up front with the lead changing hands on several occasions, the former moving back into the lead with 14 laps to go.
Lorenzo had a wobbly moment going into the following lap as going wide into the first corner his bike slid and the Spaniard was at pains to correct it and get going again, but lost valuable time on his compatriot.
Lorenzo, though, rediscovered his rhythm and within five laps had regained all the ground he had lost on Pedrosa and was right up on the Honda rider’s shoulder.
Lorenzo was probing the whole time at his rival and was repelled on several occasions before he finally got the better of him with six laps remaining and from then on he cruised to victory as Pedrosa eased off.
Among the also-rans were nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who finished a respectable seventh on his Ducati, while Spies did get into the points after fighting his way back to 10th spot.