Jorge Lorenzo - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

Jorge Lorenzo - Photo Credit: MotoGP.com

 

Jorge Lorenzo strengthened his position at the top of the MotoGP World Championship standings after edging out Dani Pedrosa in a tense battle for victory in Barcelona. The two Spaniards fought a private duel at the front as he likes of Casey Stoner struggled with Lorenzo making the decisive move six laps from the end.

The charge towards turn one saw the usual sight of a rapid Pedrosa bolting through the pack to take the lead. The front row starters all made poor starts with Ben Spies diving through into second ahead of Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso, Stoner and Cal Crutchlow. The world champion appeared to be lacking grip early on and a mistake on lap two allowed the second Tech 3 Yamaha past him into fifth.

Pedrosa's lead was coming under increased threat from Spies and the American made his move on lap three, diving up the inside of the Repsol Honda into turn four. Sadly for Spies, he only led for a matter of metres as he ran wide on the exit of the corner. To make matters worse, he made contact with the grass on the outside of the corner, causing him to drop the bike.

Dani's attention was now on the other factory Yamaha as Lorenzo piled on the pressure. The championship leader surged past his compatriot into turn one on lap seven but couldn't break away. Instead, Pedrosa struck back and slipstreamed his way into the lead once again at half distance.

There was very little to choose between the Honda and the Yamaha in race conditions and Lorenzo was able to keep himself in contention as the tyres entered the critical closing stages. With six laps remaining, Pedrosa blinked first and outbraked himself at turn ten, handing the lead, and race victory on a plate to Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso tagged onto the back of the leading duo in the early stages but gradually fell back, eventually coming under pressure from Stoner in the last couple of laps. Stoner had been shadowed by Crutchlow for most of the race but managed to break free late on, although he failed to deny Dovizioso the final podium position.

Crutchlow finished fifth, extending his wait for a maiden MotoGP podium, while Alvaro Bautista beat Valentino Rossi to sixth. The other satellite Honda went into battle with the second factory Ducati as Stefan Bradl fought it out with Nicky Hayden. As with the battle ahead, Honda had the edge and Bradl took eighth, beating the former world champion by seven seconds in the end.

Ben Spies recovered to tenth after his early fall while Aleix Espargaro claimed top-CRT status on home soil. James Ellison finished fourth in that particular class but with that translating to sixteenth overall, the Paul Bird rider missed out on a championship point.