Yamaha’s defending champion Jorge Lorenzo held off a strong Honda challenge to win the Italian MotoGP last Sunday, cutting into Casey Stoner’s championship lead.
Australian Stoner led for the opening 17 laps but was caught with six laps to go, Lorenzo overtaking brilliantly on the inside before stretching clear.
Stoner was then ambushed by Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap, and had to be happy with third place on the podium.
Lorenzo’s victory just cuts Stoner’s lead at the top of the standings to 19 points after eight races of the season, while Dovizioso remains third.
“I’m so happy,” he said. “Casey was so quick but little by little, lap by lap I managed to catch him. I saw the opportunity [to take Stoner] on the downhill.”
Stoner blamed the hot weather condition for playing havoc with his tyre grip, which resulted in him noticeably slowing down in the latter stages.
“I did everything I could,” he said. “The tyre pressure went up too high and I lost all grip in the rear and you can’t do anything without it.
Cal Crutchlow of Britain failed to finish because of set-up problems with his bike which has made him convinced he would crash if he did not retire.
“We have struggled for a set-up all weekend and I was wide at every single corner out there,” Crutchlow told.
“In the end I decided to pit. It is devastating for me because I never give in, but I have a career to think about and I didn’t want to crash.”
Stoner still leads the championship 28 points clear of Lorenzo.