Lorenzo gets first MotoGP win
In the realization of a lifelong dream, Jorge Lorenzo took his maiden MotoGP victory in a thrilling bwin.com Grande Premio de Portugal. The Spaniard had an incredible race onboard his Fiat Yamaha M1, and now leads the World Championship after his phenomenal start to 2008.
Lorenzo achieved the `holy trinity´ of pole position, fastest lap and race win at the circuit where he had never previously triumphed in the lower cylinder categories, joining 2005 race winner Alex Barros as the only rider to perform the feat in Estoril.
The rider level on points with Lorenzo in the standings –conceding leadership of the classification by virtue of the most recent result- Dani Pedrosa was again the main thorn in his arch rival’s side. The Repsol Honda rider took the holeshot at a packed first corner, but was swamped by fellow front row starters Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. The trio had a fearsome battle in the opening stages, until Lorenzo passed both he and Rossi definitively and in rapid succession on lap thirteen.
Two laps later, Pedrosa made his push for second place, overtaking Rossi for the final time. He will now have his sights set on China, the scene of his own rookie victory back in 2006.
Five-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi took the second Fiat Yamaha machine to a podium finish, tire manufacturer Bridgestone’s first ever rostrum at Estoril. His second consecutive podium also helps Fiat Yamaha to the lead in the team standings.
Behind the rostrum battle, fourth spot saw two crashes in quick succession from JiR Team Scot’s Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda’s Nicky Hayden, leaving Colin Edwards to take the spot onboard his pneumatic valve engine powered Tech 3 Yamaha. John Hopkins had his best finish so far as a Kawasaki rider in fifth, ahead of reigning World Champion Casey Stoner. The Ducati Marlboro man experienced a string of problems in the race, which began with him swapping grid positions with Loris Capirossi after a sighting lap mix-up. He now lies fourth in the standings, ahead of today’s seventh place finisher James Toseland.
Rizla Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen and Capirossi, alongside San Carlo Honda Gresini newcomer Shiny Nakano, completed the top ten.
||Alex de Angelis
||Randy de Puniet