Jorge Lorenzo won from pole position for the third year in succession at Estoril as he took victory at the bwin Grande Premio de Portugal on Sunday, finishing ahead of Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso.
The Fiat Yamaha rider, for whom this was an eight win in his title-winning 2010 campaign, edged out his rival and team-mate Rossi as they battled early on and when he took the lead on the 17th of 28 laps he did not look back, eventually taking the checkered flag 8.629s clear of the Italian. It was Lorenzo’s first win since the Brno round, and leaves him on course to still be able to beat Rossi’s 2008 record points haul (373) in a single season in MotoGP.
The Italian brought home his factory M1 in a lonely second position as he finished almost 18 seconds ahead of Dovizioso, who had engaged in a thrilling battle to the very finish with Marco Simoncelli for the final podium position. It was the Repsol Honda rider who edged it – by just 0.059s – to take his seventh podium of the season and leave the San Carlo Honda Gresini rider still looking for his first rostrum in the premier class. Simoncelli will not be disappointed with a season’s best finish of fourth however.
Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden finished fifth after coming close to the podium scrap, the American just 0.620s behind Simoncelli, whilst Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top seven, both within three seconds of Hayden.
On his return to racing after missing the past three Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) came in eighth, with Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Hector Barberá (Páginas Amarillas Aspar) inside the top ten. Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki), Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP) and Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) were the final three riders to finish the race.
Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) suffered the bitter disappointment of crashing out at turn 13 on lap five as he pushed hard in third position, whilst Pramac Racing pair Aleix Espargaro and Carlos Checa both failed to finish too, the former crashing on lap one and the latter pitting in with an arm pump problem with 15 laps remaining.
Ben Spies (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was unable to take his starting grid position of fifth after crashing on the sighting lap and dislocating his left ankle. The American is hopeful however of being fit to race in the final round of the season at Valencia next weekend.
The battle for the runner-up spot in the Championship will now be determined next weekend, with Pedrosa on 236 points and Rossi on 217 and the only two who can end the campaign in second.
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