Lorenzo Closes On Rossi with Barcelona Victory

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Jorge Lorenzo has now closed to within a single point of Valentino Rossi in the MotoGP championship battle after leading home another Yamaha 1-2 in Barcelona. The Spaniard maintained his record of leading every lap for the fourth consecutive race to hold off his teammate with Dani Pedrosa salvaging a podium for Repsol Honda on another day which ended in despair for Marc Marquez.

After their fairytale result in qualifying, Suzuki were brought back down to earth at the start with Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales both engulfed on the approach to turn one. Predictably, Lorenzo grabbed the holeshot from Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso with Valentino Rossi eventually holding fourth after fighting his way past the Tech 3 Yamahas. Cal Crutchlow’s race didn’t last longer than the fourth corner though after being eased off by the recovering Aleix Espargaro.

Marquez wouldn’t be in the running for much longer either as his desperate efforts to keep in touch with Lorenzo’s Yamaha finally came to a head on lap three. Under braking for turn ten, Marquez lost control of his RC213V and came perilously close to tailgating Lorenzo. He fortunately managed to dodge the no.99 but as soon as he hit the gravel trap, Marc’s machine hit the deck and took him out of the action.

Dovizioso inherited second but his spell between the Movistar Yamahas was rather brief with the Italian sliding out himself in a rare error on lap six. Rossi was thus promoted to second but two seconds of empty tarmac separated him and his teammate out in front. Unlike in previous races, Rossi not only matched Lorenzo but started to reel him in but try as he might, ‘The Doctor’ ran out of laps with Jorge taking the chequered flag with 0.885s in hand.

Pedrosa ghosted through to third with Andrea Iannone next up on the sole remaining factory Ducati. The Italian was among the riders to benefit from crashes for both Espargaro brothers with Pol tumbling on lap five and Aleix throwing away a possible fourth place five laps from the finish.

Bradley Smith continued to avoid such pitfalls, extending his 100% finishing record in fifth, while Maverick Vinales took a career-best MotoGP result in sixth after seeing off an improving Scott Redding. The British youngster brought his Honda home in seventh ahead of open-class winner Stefan Bradl and Danilo Petrucci while Alvaro Bautista gave Aprilia their best finish since returning to MotoGP in tenth.



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