MotoGP // FIRST BACK-TO-BACK WIN FOR PEDROSANo account of Sunday’s race at Misano will ever be viewed except through the lens of Shoya Tomizawa’s terrible accident and subsequent death. Tomizawa, a well-liked Moto2 rider, fell from his bike on lap 12 and was struck by two riders following close behind him. Initial reports said his injuries were not life-threatening but he succumbed to his injuries about halfway through the MotoGP race that followed. The riders were not made aware of Shoya’s death until the race had finished (obviously)... [read more]

Misano this year fell on the weekend immediately after Indianapolis. Dani Pedrosa was keen to continue his momentum after his win there. That win marked the first season in the premier class where he has won more than two races. A win at Misano would mark his first back-to-back victory in the class. Jorge Lorenzo, 68 points up coming into the weekend, would be keen to win, but just as eager to limit the damage to his title lead that crashing out while pushing too hard might cause.

Practice and qualifying sessions were largely dominated by Pedrosa, who came first in all but the second free practice. In that session, he trailed Lorenzo by 0.104s. Pedrosa would be the only rider to come in under the 1:34 mark in qualifying. He looked pretty ominous. The starting grid was as follows: Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Stoner, Rossi, Spies, DePuniet, Edwards, Dovizioso, Simoncelli, Melandri, Capirossi, Barbera, Aoyama, Hayden, Espargaro, Bautista and Kallio.

MotoGP // FIRST BACK-TO-BACK WIN FOR PEDROSAPedrosa was quick off the line as usual and entered turn one first. He was followed by Stoner, Lorenzo and Rossi. By turn two, Nicky Hayden, in a turnabout from last year (he and Edwards were dealt the same blow by DeAngelis in 2009) knocked Loris Capirossi and himself off, effectively ruining both their days. Ben Spies meanwhile had dropped back to tenth. Lorenzo quickly passed Stoner a few turns later to take second. Crossing the line for the first time the top ten were: Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Stoner, Rossi, Dovizioso, Edwards, Simoncelli, DePuniet, Melandri and Spies. Pedrosa, having taken the lead from the start would proceed to bang out laps each quicker than the one previous until he had a lead of over five seconds on Lorenzo. He would not be passed the entire race. Lorenzo would not drop from second either after his pass on Stoner on lap one. Rossi would pass Stoner on lap eleven and Dovizioso followed soon after. The top five was now cemented.

Further down the pack, Ben Spies would valiantly claw back positions until he reached sixth where his forward momentum was stopped by the huge chasm to Stoner. He would finish there. In the back of the pack, it was Alvaro Bautista who again did a lot with a sub-par bike. He had qualified sixteenth but clawed his way back up to eighth place in the end. In the end though, the final standings were pretty close to the qualifying standings. All in all, a rather processional race.

MotoGP @ Misano // Complete Results:

1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Jorge Lorenzo
3. Valentino Rossi
4. Andrea Dovizioso
5. Casey Stoner
6. Ben Spies
7. Colin Edwards
8. Alvaro Bautista
9. Hector Barbera
10. Marco Melandri
11. Aleix Espargaro
12. Hiroshi Aoyama
13. Marco Simoncelli

Pedrosa’s win chips Lorenzo’s championship lead down to 63 points. Maybe Lorenzo’s freight train is not as unstoppable as once thought, but if he can stay at or near the podium, Dani has little chance.

Apologies if this race report seems unnecessarily cursory. The race had little action to speak of. What’s more, as soon as the race ended, the riders were informed of Tomizawa’s death and a palpable sadness descended upon the entire paddock. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta could be seen walking up to each rider in parc ferme, presumably doling out the bad news. Although the crowd was likely unaware, the sadness on the faces of Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi standing on the podium was unmistakable. The rider’s national flags were at half-mast and champagne was out of the question. As Valentino Rossi later put it “when something so sad like this happens everything else goes to zero and the result doesn't matter.” That sentiment was universal among the riders, teams and anyone else who was asked.

Photo(s): MotoGP
Editorial: Jeff Winterberg

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