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Monday October 11, 2010
By SHAMSHUL FITRI
SEPANG: Jorge Lorenzo clinched the MotoGP world title in the Shell Advance Malaysian Grand Prix in cool manner with a third-place finish in a race won by team-mate Valentino Rossi at the Sepang International Circuit yesterday.
The Spaniard, who started from pole position, lost some traction of his tyres midway through the race and relinquished the lead to Andrea Dovozioso of Honda Repsol before Fiat-Yamaha team-mate Rossi stormed to the front.
Rossi, who started from sixth on the grid, did not have the best of starts when he slipped back to 11th after the first lap. But the Italian showed true determination to claw his way to the front to take his second chequered flag of the season winning the opening round in Qatar.
Rossi finished the 20-lap race in 41:3.448, followed by Dovizioso (41:3.672) and Lorenzo (41:9.483).
The celebration, however, belonged to Lorenzo as the result yesterday gave him an unassailable lead in the standings over second-placed Dani Pedrosa. With three more rounds to go, Lorenzo has 313 points against 228 for Pedrosa, who sat out the race to recover from a fractured collarbone.
Lorenzo’s celebration on the track was spiced up by the appearance of two characters from the Super Mario video games series and he held up a sign that read: Game Over.
“I started well at the front and was focused for the race today. After my tyres started slipping, I knew that I had to finish the race in a good position,” said Lorenzo.
“Finally my dream has come true. Now I just want to relax and take in the feeling of being a world champion. It’s difficult for me to find the right words to describe my feelings now.”
For the 23-year-old Lorenzo, he was very grateful to everyone that helped him clinch seven GP wins this season en route to be crowned champion.
“We started the season on the wrong foot with an injury to my thumb. But after the second-place finish in Qatar, we managed to improve ourselves to fight with others,” said Lorenzo, who signed a two-year contract with Yamaha at the preceding Japanese GP.
“Halfway though the season, we found ourselves caught up by other teams who have improved a lot, but Yamaha did a very good job to get us back in front.”
Rossi said that Lorenzo deserved the title.
“He fought hard to win the title and I congratulate him for that,” said Rossi.
On the race, Rossi, who clinched his 46th title for Yamaha yesterday, was delighted to take victory.
“It’s a very important victory for me and my team as it was long overdue since I struggled with my shoulder injury,” he said.
“I didn’t have a good start, but I tried to stay calm because I knew I had a fast machine and I can do it. I just rode like usual and I know I can go very fast in Sepang.”
Meanwhile, another world champion was crowned yesterday in the Moto2 class with Toni Elias (pic) claiming the title with a fourth-place finish.
Rodolfo Rolfo of Italy won the 19-lap race in 41:9.412 followed by Alex de Angelis (41:9.452) and Andrea Iannone (41:15.327). Elias stopped the clock at 41:15.734.
“When the race started, I didn’t think about the championship. My only focus was on the race and I’m glad that I managed a good result today,” said Elias.
In the 125cc class, pole sitter Marc Marquez dominated the show and finished in 40:29.035.
The win gives the Spaniard the championship lead on 247 points, three points ahead of compatriot Nicolas Terol (244 points) and 12 points clear of Pol Espargaro (235).
The championships move to Phillip Island for the Australian GP this weekend.
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