MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECAThe MotoGP circus landed in the U.S. for the first of its two 2010 rounds this past weekend and your humble narrator was actually in attendance. This was great for me but from the standpoint of race reporting, it’s tough to give a nice overview having seen the race from only one vantage point, this explains the more brief report. To compensate, some nice photos are included here... [read more]

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECAThis weekend’s festivities at Laguna Seca marked the end of the first half of the MotoGP calendar. Jorge Lorenzo began the weekend with a hefty 47 point lead ahead of second place Dani Pedrosa. To put this in context, in 2008, Valentino Rossi left Laguna Seca with 50 points over Casey Stoner and would go on to win the championship with the most points ever scored in a season (373).

Lorenzo’s chances for the title seem to be better than average at the moment, but less overt is the asterisk hanging over its authenticity given Rossi’s four-race absence. In order to erase that doubt, Jorge knows he must win convincingly with Rossi now back in action. Valentino, while arguably not at 100%, came maddeningly close to a podium spot one week ago in Germany and in both practice sessions appeared to be riding with a shot of contending a top-three spot at Laguna. Lorenzo responded by taking pole position away from Casey Stoner in the final moments of qualifying with an authoritative lap of 1:20.978. Behind them was Andrea Dovizioso with his first-ever front row starting spot. The rest of the top ten, in order were Dani Pedrosa, Ben Spies, Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards, Marco Simoncelli and Hector Barbera.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECALorenzo got off the line well but was quickly swallowed up by Pedrosa, Stoner, Spies and Dovizioso. Going into turn 4, he was in fifth place. When they crossed the line for the first time it was Pedrosa, Stoner, Lorenzo, Spies, Dovizioso, Rossi, Hayden, Simoncelli, Edwards and Melandri making up the top ten. Spies began to come under pressure from behind and dropped back to seventh. Meanwhile, Stoner, who was running close to Pedrosa, dropped back toward Lorenzo. A few seconds back, Rossi began to harass Dovizioso over fourth position.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECALap five saw Lorenzo pass Stoner into turn five as Stoner ran wide. Now Jorge had the job of chasing down Pedrosa who has a nasty habit of escaping at the front and running away with races. As things began to settle in, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner were away together at the front; they were followed by a tight group comprised of Dovizioso, Rossi, Hayden and Spies a few seconds back. Next was Melandri, Simoncelli and Edwards with a gap over the group of Capirossi, Kallio and Espargaro. At the rear were the replacement riders DeAngelis (subbing for Aoyama) and Roger Lee Hayden (subbing for DePuniet), Barbera and Bautista both out of the race already with a retirement and a crash respectively.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECALorenzo began to gap Stoner and simultaneously chip away at Pedrosas lead, lap by lap gaining a tenth here and there and putting pressure on his former nemesis. But just as it appeared the race was headed for a good battle between the two Spaniards, Pedrosa succumbed to the pressure and tucked the front going into turn five, flipping the bike sideways into the air fence. Dani knew his bike was gone and his race over, he just took his gloves off and walked away. Lorenzo then ticked off fast, consistent laps, eventually gaining more than four seconds on Stoner and cruising to his sixth win of the season. Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso had pulled nearly two seconds over Valentino Rossi and a third place finish seemed to be very likely for him.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECAUnfortunately for Dovizioso, his tires began to fail him just as Rossi put his head down to try and reel him in. Just as the race was about to dip under five laps to go, Rossi took over third going into turn eleven. Dovizioso fought back down the straight but Rossi managed to cut across him going over the hill through the slight left-handed turn one, sealing the pass going into the turn two-three complex. Dovizioso held on tenaciously but was never able to mount a pass, he had to settle for third place while Rossi achieved the dream finish that so narrowly eluded him at Sachsenring.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECALorenzo’s victory was his sixth of the year, but almost as impressive is the fact that he has finished in second in the other three races. His penchant for dramatic highsides has been tamed completely along with his Biaggi-esque win- or-fall attitude. The first half of this season has given us a Jorge Lorenzo that can control himself when he knows he can’t win a race, not letting himself be goaded into wild riding that throws points away. Even more importantly is the Jorge Lorenzo we saw this past weekend who has seemingly begun to master Rossi’s trick of pressuring a rider into making a mistake when he may not be quite close enough to mount a pass.

MotoGP // LORENZO WINS AGAIN @ LAGUNA SECAThe naysayers will always cite Rossi being gone for a good chunk of the season for Lorenzo’s title juggernaut but the absolute calm, smooth authority he has ridden with is dispelling that race by race. He may not have been 73 points (!) ahead of his closest rival if Rossi had been there the whole time but it’s hard to imagine him being anywhere but first place this year. Rossi has said this himself. If his march to the title is unstoppable, let’s at least hope Rossi’s return will give us some exciting racing to at least keep things interesting.

Photo/Editorial: Jeff Winterberg


  1. hey jeff, i should have contacted you before. i was there too! we rode motorcycles there. very fun. but the best part was riding home on the 1 and skyline.

  2. Rufus! Glad you made it, despite the fact I didn't see you.
    Hope you liked it. I'll be back next year for sure.