News 5 Oct 2009

MotoGP: Yamaha's rocket man Lorenzo too good in Portugal


Jorge Lorenzo was untouchable once again in Portugal this afternoon and took a stunning fourth win of the season, 16 months on from his maiden MotoGP victory at this same track. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi had a disappointing day and came home a distant fourth, although the Fiat Yamaha Team secured the Teams’ Championship title, the first leg of the ‘triple crown’.

22-year-old Lorenzo had looked invincible all weekend and today was no different as he blasted off from pole for the 35th time in his career, reaching turn one in second place but regaining the lead a couple of corners later. Wearing special ‘astronaut’ leathers and helmet to commemorate the Moon Landing and match the one-off white ‘Fiat Punto Evo’ livery on his YZR-M1, the Mallorcan was unchallenged from then on and stretched his lead until the end, finishing a commanding 6.294 seconds clear of Casey Stoner to take his 26th career win.

Rossi had struggled to match his team-mate’s pace all weekend and a problem with rear grip plagued him today and compounded his difficulties. He dropped to fourth on the first lap after starting from second and was unable to make any headway into the gap to Stoner and Pedrosa, eventually coming home some 13 seconds behind the Spaniard. It was the Italian’s 100th start for Yamaha, from which he has won an incredible 43 times.

Yamaha are now assured of one of their riders being crowned World Champion but with Rossi’s lead now cut to 18 points from Lorenzo in second, the tension is mounting as to which one it will be. MotoGP now has a week off before the ‘flyaway’ double-header in Australia and Malaysia.

Masahiko Nakajima – Fiat Yamaha Team Director
“Today we have achieved the first objective of our season – the Fiat Yamaha Team becoming 2009 Teams’ Champion. I would like to thank our riders, our team staff and YMC MotoGP Group Engineers for their invaluable support, which has allowed us to achieve this great result. My appreciation also goes to our sponsors and technical partners, because their contribution has been crucial for Yamaha and for our Factory Team. We look forward to working with all of them in the future and to being able to repay their support with many more victories”.

Jorge Lorenzo
Position: 1st Time: 45’35.522

“What a day! I’m so happy to win here again in the same track where I won my first MotoGP race last year. I worked so hard in the break on my fitness with my father and maybe that’s given me a little bit of extra speed, I certainly felt so strong this weekend and it is great to win like this after being top in every session as well. I got a good start and it took me just a couple of corners to get past Dani and take the lead, but I honestly didn’t expect to be unchallenged from then on or to finish with such a big gap. This is a good track for me but I am fast more or less everywhere now. The championship is closer now; it’s still not easy but we have nothing to lose! I’m proud that we have won the Team Title and I want to say thanks and congratulations to everyone. I liked my leathers and helmet a lot this weekend and I wanted to celebrate Neil Armstong and his landing on the moon so this is why I made this ‘moonwalk show’ after the race!”

Valentino Rossi
Position: 4th Time: +23.428

“It was a very difficult race for me. I was never able to be fast because I did not have enough grip in the rear and our tyre did not work well, but I think it was more a problem of setting. After a few laps I was in great difficulties and I immediately understood that this was not going to be “our” race. Throughout the practice sessions I had some problems but I thought that today I would be able to at least stay with Stoner and Pedrosa, but they made another step forward for the race and then there was no chance for me. On Friday I was three tenths off the pace and unfortunately this stayed the same all weekend and in the race today. Here in Estoril we struggled last year as well, so it might be that, with our setting, the rear tyre gets very hot and this causes a lack of grip. It is a pity that I am off the podium, but we have three more races and they are three great tracks. We must think race by race and we must work to understand what the problem was today in order to make sure that we fix it in time for Phillip Island”.

Daniele Romagnoli
Team Manager

“We were confident today that we had a strong chance for a good race, but we didn’t expect such domination. We were consistently fast through all the weekend but even so the team made another improvement after qualifying and Jorge rode the best he’s ever ridden. Now the championship is even more interesting and the last few races will bring great attention on us all, but we’re looking forward to the challenge! Finally I want to say well done to everyone in the team for winning the Team title again.”

David Brivio
Team Manager

“In reality, we weren’t really racing today. Valentino experienced some problems, which meant that he was never able to make the tyres work well and he was unable to be competitive. We will go into these problems in detail in our technical debrief later this afternoon. Valentino was bravo to finish the race in a very difficult situation, but he knew that taking points was key and we got 13 very important points here. As a consequence of the entire season, which has been dominated by the two Fiat Yamaha Team riders, we have won the Team title today, which is the first step on the road to our main goal”.

Colin Edwards strengthened his bid for a top five MotoGP world championship finish after a strong ride to fifth place at a sun-drenched Estoril circuit today.

And helping the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team claim another double top ten finish was James Toseland’s determined performance, the British rider shrugging off the affects of a head cold to finish in a thoroughly deserved ninth place.

Edwards started and finished the 28-lap race in fifth, the American fighting hard to match the blistering pace set by Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi in front of him in the early stages. But his consistent pace saw him comf ortably pull away from a chasing group that included Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi.

Edwards’ sixth top six finish of the season leaves the American trailing Dovizioso in the overall standings by just eight-points with three races remaining. And the 35-year-old easily maintained his position as leading non-factory rider.

Toseland produced a rousing performance in front of 45,539 fans basking in glorious temperatures that hit 27 degrees, the 28-year-old ending ninth after he’d fought superbly in the opening half of the race to get involved in a battle involving Hayden and Capirossi for seventh.

Today’s result saw Toseland move to within 12-points of a top seven championship finish.

Colin Edwards 5th – 134 points

“Like I said yesterday, if you’re the next best rider behind the top four in the world then you’ve done a good job and I rode the strongest race I could today. I got a good start but we’ve been fighting some front-end movement all weekend and I knew early on I wasn’t going to be able to go with Valentino (Rossi) in front of me. The tyres worked great but we were just missing something on the set-up that meant even though Valentino was struggling a little bit, I couldn’t really put any pressure on him. As much as I couldn’t comfortably stay with the four guys in front, it was pretty easy for me to run a pace that meant I could pull away from the group behind me. Once I’d got a comfortable gap it was just a case of staying consistent to make sure I didn’t give anybody a chance of catching me. I got a few more points back on Dovizioso for fifth in the championship and that is a good reward for the all effort my guys at Monster Yamaha Tech 3 have put in.We’ve got three races to go and I’ll be giving it my all as alw ays because I really want that fifth spot in the championship.”

James Toseland 9th – 85 points

“I really enjoyed that race and it was good to be in an exciting battle with the second group. I was running pretty much the same lap times as Dovizioso and (Toni) Elias for most of the race and there was a great battle between myself, Hayden and Capirossi. I was having the most fun in that race that I’ve had for a while. The difficulty for me was that I’ve been struggling with a cold all weekend and it is very difficult to take any kind of medication when you’ve got to race. Over the whole race distance I didn’t realise how much the cold had taken out of me but it wasn’t a big problem. The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team have worked incredibly hard all weekend to give me a really good package to ride today. I’m still only twelve points off seventh in the championship and that is my target now for the remaining three races. I really want that seventh place in the championship and am looking forward to giving the team a good finish to the year.”

Herve Poncharal – Team Manager

“I’m really happy with the effort of the whole Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team this weekend and a double ten is a good reward for all of us. Colin had a brilliant weekend and though I don’t like to say it, we were the best of the rest again. The top four are pretty much untouchable but to be the first of the rest is a great achievement for us. Colin could open a gap on the group behind him quite comfortably and he made no mistakes, which is always crucial. I’d also like to thank. James again for another determined race and again he proved he is a quality MotoGP rider. His lap times were really close to the top six again and today’s result helps us go on the long trip to Australia and Malaysia in a really positive frame of mind. Finally congratulations to Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha today. Jorge was incredible and Yamaha has won the Constructor Championship again which is a fantastic achievement.”