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Casey Stoner holds off Jorge Lorenzo to win Portugal grand prix

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May
6

Casey Stoner powered back to the top of the MotoGP standings by a single point after fending off Jorge Lorenzo to win in Portugal for the first time.

The Honda rider, who won the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, dominated Sunday’s race at Estoril after starting on pole position for the first time this season and leads the title race with 66 points after three races, with Yamaha’s Lorenzo on 65.

Dani Pedrosa, last year’s winner in Portugal and Stoner’s team?mate, finished third for his 100th grand prix podium – a feat achieved by only six other riders in the past 64 years.

Stoner made a great start and never lost the lead on a sunny afternoon, although the 2010 champion Lorenzo was close on his tail throughout – and particularly mid-race – to keep up the pressure.

“In the middle section of the race I did not feel so confident and I thought Jorge and Dani would catch me so I had to find a different way to ride, some different lines, different techniques,” the reigning champion said. “We felt good on the first lap with the new tyres and everything but as soon as that wore off, we had the most severe chattering we’ve had this season. I wasn’t feeling good, I wasn’t feeling comfortable.”

The victory at Estoril meant Stoner has stood on top of the podium at least once at every MotoGP circuit.

“Casey’s rhythm at the end of the race kept us from winning,” said Lorenzo, whose first MotoGP grand prix win was in Estoril in 2008. “To be honest I did not expect to finish second. We had a lot of problems in practice but the bike seems much better in the race.”

Lorenzo said he had clutch problems in the opening laps, which allowed Stoner to pull away.

Pedrosa also had a tough afternoon. “I tried to adapt my riding style because I had some problems in the middle of the corners. I tried to improve lap by lap but I couldn’t make it.”

Article source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/may/06/casey-stoner-portugal-grand-prix?newsfeed=true

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