MotoGP Laguna Seca Results & Race Report: Lorenzo Romps to Victory After Pedrosa Crashes, Rossi Podiums


What Happens When Home Isn’t Always the Best Place to Race

5:58pm EST — Jorge Lorenzo ran away with the United States Grand Prix after countryman Dani Pedrosa crashed out from the lead a third of the way through the race.  Casey Stoner finished second and a hard-fought battle between Italians ended with Valentino Rossi on the podium in his second race back from a compound fracture.  Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden rounded out the top five.  Fellow Americans Ben Spies and Colin Edwards finished behind Hayden, though Spies had a chance at Rossi, but for running wide in one turn.  Roger Lee Hayden, filling in for Randy de Puniet, finished second to last in a race of attrition that saw Pedrosa, Marco Simoncelli, Alvaro Bautista, and Aleix Espargaro crashing out at Turn 5.

It was another Jorge Lorenzo-Casey Stoner show during Saturday qualifying for the United States Grand Prix, with the young Spaniard having the speed when it counted, winning pole at the end of the hour qualifying session with the only lap time of the weekend to break into the 1:20s.  Andrea Dovizioso will make the first front row start of his premier class career with the third fastest time.  His teammate Dani Pedrosa qualified fourth, before the fastest American Ben Spies.  Spies benefited from actual track knowledge and the subsequent ability to make set-up changes on Friday instead of spending early sessions learning the circuit.  Still healing Valentino Rossi managed sixth as the cheese in an American, Italian, American, American sandwich with Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards to start seventh and eighth.  Rookies Marco Simoncelli and Hector Barbera rounded out the top ten.  Lorenzo continued his weekend fast pace in the morning warm-up, leading Stoner at the end of the session by less than a tenth on a cool and foggy morning.  Pedrosa, Rossi, and Melandri rounded out the top five, with Spies the leading American in sixth.

Lorenzo got a good start, but the Pedrosa an even better one to led into Turn 1, with Stoner right next to him, and a great start for Spies to slid into third.  He had a look on Stoner, but could not take the position.  However, Lorenzo soon overtook Spies for third, with Dovizioso, Rossi, Hayden, Simoncelli, Edwards, and Melandri as the top ten at the end of the first lap.  Pedrosa had only one tenth on Stoner who kept with him early on, as they ran away from the rest of the field a bit, with over half a second back to Lorenzo and more than a second back to Spies by the end of the second lap.  Spies was under fire from Dovizioso, but kept his position, despite the amount of riders (Dovi, Rossi, Hayden, Simoncelli) looking to get around him.  Bautista crashed out on L2 from a broken chain, without injury, while Pedrosa attempted to run away with the race, as both Hayden and Rossi got around Spies. 

Four laps into the thirty-two lap race and Pedrosa still led Stoner, Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Rossi, and Hayden as the top five.  Pedrosa, Stoner and Lorenzo as a group had a two and a half second lead over fourth place Dovizioso, who had Rossi breathing down his neck after passing Hayden for the position.  He wasn’t too far back, only three tenths.  The times settled down for a bit, until Stoner ran wide on L6, leaving room for Lorenzo to take second away from him.  Nine laps in and the battle for eighth was between Honda Gresini riders and Edwards.  At the front, Pedrosa was running away from his countryman, who had a similar margin in front and behind him to Stoner.  As the laps ticked away, the times kept dropping and the order remained the same.

On L11, Pedrosa crashed out from the lead, having lost the front into Turn 5.  Lorenzo was gifted the lead, with Stoner, Dovizioso, Rossi, and Hayden the top five.  By the halfway point of the race, the leader order hadn’t changed, though Stoner was losing time to Lorenzo.  The gap from first to second had gone up to nearly two and a half seconds.  Stoner also did not have to worry about Dovizioso, who was another seven seconds back.  The real fighting was between Rossi, Hayden, and Spies for fourth, and further back for seventh, with Edwards then leading Melandri and Simoncelli.  The teammates felt no need to be gentle with each other, either.  Soon, Simoncelli would end his race at Turn 5, as did bautista.  The race from Laguna Sea seemed to be flying by with Lorenzo’s pace at the front, with Spies making a move that stuck on Hayden to chase after Rossi for fourth on L20.

With just ten laps to go, Spies was well in the hunt for Rossi, with the young American quite close to Rossi, who had a two second gap in front of him to Dovizioso.  Spies, however, was not quite close enough to make a move.  In fact, he lost position to countryman Hayden on L26 at Turn 11 by running very wide, whereupon Hayden went after Rossi, but could not come close enough to catch the Italian, who was chasing Dovizioso for a podium on his second race back after a broken leg.  With five laps to go, Rossi took third from Dovizioso.  Meanwhile, Stoner was over four seconds behind race leader Lorenzo with four laps to go.  Espargaro also crashed out at Turn 5 with just three laps to go, leading Capirossi and Kallio.  Dovizioso was very close to Rossi for the final podium position with just two to go.  Rossi looked just far enough ahead, but it was only a tenth between them at the stripe at the start of the last lap.  Hayden was close behind to pick up any pieces, but Lorenzo was well away at the front with Stoner in second.  Dovizioso was very, very close to Rossi going through the corkscrew, but not close enough to steal the older Italian’s move.  Dovizioso ran wide at the final turn, leaving Rossi the position and Hayden not quite close enough to take fourth.

Final Positions for the 2010 United States Grand Prix:
1. Lorenzo
2. Stoner +3.517
3. Rossi +13.420
4. Dovizioso +14.188
5. Hayden +14.601
6. Spies +19.037
7. Edwards +40.721
8. Melandri +47.219
9. Capirossi +52.813
10. Kallio +52.814
11. Hayden +1:14.089
12. de Angeli +1:14.666

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