MUGELLO, Italy: Defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo eased to victory in the Italian MotoGP for his third successive win of the grand prix.
The 26-year-old—the world champion in 2010—brought home his Yamaha well clear of world championship leader Dani Pedrosa on a Honda while Cal Crutchlow recorded his second successive podium place, finishing third on a Yamaha Tech3.
There was huge disappointment for the Italian fans as local hero Valentino Rossi—also Lorenzo’s teammate—crashed out on the first lap on his Yamaha after Alvaro Bautista collided with him. Rossi, who has made a stuttering start to his return to Yamaha, got back on his feet to allay fears of a repeat of the broken leg he suffered at Mugello two years ago in qualifying.
Pedrosa still leads the world title race with 103 points, with Lorenzo in second 12 points adrift. Lorenzo, who halted Honda’s dominance of the past year, which had seen them win 13 of the last 16 MotoGPs, feted his victory.
“This is a special win for us as we have been working very hard as a team,” said Lorenzo, who won the season-opening Qatar MotoGP. “I really tried hard to establish a gap over Dani but he kept at me until finally I succeeded at around halfway, and then it was race over.”
Pedrosa, who has yet to win the world title having finished runner-up three times, said it was a good result given they had not had high hopes.
“It was not my day today,” said the 27-year-old, who saw Lorenzo edge ahead of him in MotoGP wins with 25. “We had loads of problems with our grip on the tires and it was difficult keeping on the track, especially on the corners.”
Crutchlow, who finished second in France a fortnight ago despite a broken leg, was more than satisfied with his performance and said he would have probably caught Pedrosa but eased up when he saw the other Honda rider, Marc Marquez, crash out when in second three laps from the end.
“I knew when I saw that Marc had gone out that I was assured of a podium finish and played safe,” Crutchlow said.
Marquez made a stunning start, moving from sixth to third on the first lap and sitting on Pedrosa’s shoulder, before taking a spill.