Lorenzo cruises towards title

Spaniard beats Pedrosa at Czech MotoGP to go 77 points clear of compatriot in standings.

    Lorenzo went 77 points clear with his win over Pedrosa [EPA]

    Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo recorded his seventh MotoGp victory of the season at the Czech MotoGP to stamp his authority on the race for the championship.

    The 23-year-old Yamaha rider, who in an unusual celebration got off his bike and walked on to a neighbouring golf course to take a putt beat compatriot and pole sitter Dani Pedrosa on a Honda while Australia's former world champion Casey Stoner was third.

    "I couldn't put the ball in the hole but at least I could win the race!" said Lorenzo, who equalled Australian legend Michael Doohan and Agostino's record of finishing first or second in the first 10 races of the season.

    "It was a very difficult day as I had crashed in qualifying so my confidence was not so high. The wind made it difficult for the riders but for me its a fantastic win."

    Pedrosa said he had been unable to stick with Lorenzo as he consistently lapped faster times, but he saw a silver lining to the race result on Sunday.

    "After crashing in the last race to be back on the podium is a happy moment for me," said the 24-year-old.

    Stoner, the 2007 world champion, said that he hadn't fancied his chances of winning as the Ducati team had employed a new set-up for his bike on the morning of the race.

    "I had to wait a while to really get a proper rhythm in the race," said the 24-year-old.

    "I was maybe trying to push too hard but then everyone of the riders is riding so well at the moment it is a constant battle to compete at this level."


    Lorenzo took the lead from pole sitter Pedrosa on the first of the 22 laps as five riders battled for the top three in the opening exchanges including Stoner while nine-time champion Valentino Rossi was adrift in eighth.

    Italian Andrea Dovizioso was the first of the front five to crack as he came to grief in the middle of the track on the fourth lap and was extremely fortunate not to suffer a serious injury by being hit by one of the oncoming bikes.

    The Repsol rider – winner this season of the British MotoGp – resumed the race but tailed off in last place and eventually gave up the ghost and pulled into his stable.

    "I don't know exactly what happened," said the 24-year-old Italian, who was 125cc world champion in 2004.

    "There was a lot of wind so that explains the slower times out there. I made one mistake as I really pushed hard at the beginning to keep in touch with Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

    "However, I am really angry because the way the race has panned  out I think we would have been really challenging for second or third place."

    Both Lorenzo and his compatriot Pedrosa slowly started to open a gap on third placed American rookie Ben Spies and Stoner, who was also cast adrift by the young American.

    The Spanish duo had a lead of over four seconds over Spies and Stoner while that pair had a sizeable lead over a group including fifth placed Rossi, who was some nine seconds adrift along with Nicky Hayden with 12 laps to go.

    Stoner stoically had stuck to his task and passed Spies to take third place with 11 laps remaining and it was at this point that Lorenzo wound up the pressure on Pedrosa opening a gap of over a second on him with 10 laps remaining.

    Pedrosa was unable to peg him back and Lorenzo ended up coasting to victory and ever nearer to his first MotoGp world title.



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