x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Lorenzo closes gap on Rossi

Jorge Lorenzo took a chunk out of teammate Valentino Rossi's MotoGP title lead with victory at Estoril.

Jorge Lorenzo took a chunk out of teammate Valentino Rossi's MotoGP title lead with victory at Estoril today. Rossi could only manage fourth place on his Fiat Yamaha, despite starting second, allowing Lorenzo to cut the gap at the top of the standings to 18 points. Lorenzo won the race from pole, pulling immediately away from Rossi and the rest of the field. There was a brief challenge from Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who made a rapid start before eventually slipping back, but Lorenzo ultimately crossed the line a comfortable 6.3 seconds ahead of Ducati's Casey Stoner. Stoner, making his return from two months out with illness, can celebrate his first podium finish since Assen in June. Stoner will now look forward to his home race at Phillip Island, but all eyes there will be on the Fiat Yamaha pair, and particularly on Rossi, who will need a big improvement on today's showing if he is to retain his world championship crown. Unable to keep up with the pace at the front, Rossi finished a disappointing 23 seconds adrift of Lorenzo as he missed the podium on this circuit for the first time in the premier class. With three races left to go, Lorenzo suddenly seems much closer to Rossi, leaving the Italian with much to ponder until they race again in a fortnight's time. Colin Edwards rode his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 to fifth place behind Rossi, while Toni Elias' San Carlo Honda Gresini finished just ahead of Repsol Honda's Andrea Divizioso to claim sixth. James Toseland, who is fighting for his future in MotoGP, could only manage eighth place on his Monster Yamaha Tech 3.

* PA Sport