Jorge Lorenzo led a Spanish 1-2 at the MotoGP world championship race here on Sunday ahead of compatriot Dani Pedrosa with Italy’s world champion Valentino Rossi finishing third.
The victory sees Lorenzo overtake Rossi, the winner in Jerez last year, at the top of the MotoGP world championship standings to the delight of the home crowd.
“It’s the greatest victory of my career,” said Lorenzo, who picks up just his sixth Moto GP win in his third year in motorcycling’s elite category.
Yahama rider Rossi had gotten off to a flying start, moving up from fourth on the grid to place himself behind pole sitter Pedrosa on the first turn, as Italy’s Loris Capirossi crashed his Rizla Suzuki on the third lap.
Pedrosa, riding a Honda, was leading Rossi by over two seconds at the half-way point with Lorenzo a further two seconds back in third.
Pole sitter Pedrosa would go on to settle for the runner-up spot, but admitted: “I couldn’t figure out why they left me on out on my own for so long.”
His chasers, however, were never too far behind.
Despite his deficit Lorenzo started to believe in his chances after 13 of the race’s 27 laps but did not make a move until lap 21 when he overtook Rossi. A fantastic duel ensued with Pedrosa, culminating with Lorenzo crossing the line 0,543sec clear.
“After I’d attacked I threw all caution to the wind. I didn’t care if I crashed, all I wanted was to win,” added Lorenzo, a 22-year-old from Mallorca.
Rossi said he had “struggled” throughout with the shoulder injury he recently suffered in a motocross accident, and with a choice of tyres that left him simply trying to finish as high up as possible.
The Italian admitted: “It just wasn’t to be our race this year. First I had to battle with my shoulder, then I had a few glitches with the bike.
“I had a good start and for the first 10 laps I felt good, then my tyres started to slide and from then on I was just hanging on.
“I had no major mistakes and picking up 16 points is important for the main goal of the championship.”
Ducati riders Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner were fourth and fifth respectively with Andrea Dovizioso sixth and Finn Mika Kallio of Pramac Racing completeing an impressive rise from last place on the grid to place seventh.
It was a golden day for Spain with Spanish rider Toni Elias of Moriwaki winning the Moto2 category with Derbi rider Pol Espargaro leading a Spanish sweep of the 125cc category ahead of Aprilia duo
Nicolas Terol and Esteve Rabat. – AFP