x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Lorenzo makes it seven

The championship leader wins in Brno as Pedrosa falls further adrift despite finishing second and Stoner is content with third.

Jorge Lorenzo never looked back after taking the lead on the first lap as he won the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno yesterday.
Jorge Lorenzo never looked back after taking the lead on the first lap as he won the Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno yesterday.

Jorge Lorenzo continued his domination of the MotoGP season yesterday as he raced to his seventh win of the campaign in the Czech Republic Grand Prix. The Spaniard - who in an unusual celebration on his slowing down lap got off his bike and walked on to a neighbouring golf course to take a putt which he needed two to hole - beat compatriot and pole sitter Dani Pedrosa on a Honda while Casey Stoner, Australia's former world champion, was third.

"I couldn't put the ball in the hole but at least I could win the race," Lorenzo, who equalled the record of Michael Doohan and Giacomo Agostino by finishing first or second in the first 10 races of the season, said of his post race golfing exploits. "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 it is a fantastic win," the 23-year-old said.

Pedrosa confessed he had been unable to stick with Lorenzo as he consistently lapped faster times, but he saw a silver lining to the race result despite falling further adrift of his countryman in the points standings . "After crashing in the last race [the American Grand Prix in Laguna Seca] to be back on the podium is a happy moment for me," said the 24-year-old, who is 77 points behind Lorenzo.

Stoner, the 2007 world champion, said that he had not 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, while Valentino Rossi, the nine-time champion, made a poor start as he slipped to eighth. Andrea Dovizioso was the first of the front five to crack as the Honda rider 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 Italian resumed the race, but tailed off in last place and eventually gave up and pulled into his stable. Stoner enjoyed a good tussle with Ben Spies, the American rider on the Tech 3 Yamaha bike in the early laps, but passed him with 11 laps to go to take the final spot on the podium, while Rossi had to be content with a distant fifth in the end. * Agency France-Presse