Lorenzo clinches 2010 rider’s title
11th Oct 2010 7:00 am
Rossi takes race win, Lorenzo clinches 2010 Rider's title.
Jorge Lorenzo clinches the 2010 rider’s title with a third place finish at Sepang. Lorenzo took pole position in Malaysia and led the first half of the race, resisting pressure from Honda's Andrea Dovizioso.
His Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi - with whom Lorenzo had been embroiled in a fierce battle at Motegi last weekend - also joined the lead fight, with both the Italians passing Lorenzo. The new champion stayed with them, but eventually decided to prioritise the title over trying to earn another race win and settled for third.
Having dominated the championship for most of the year, Lorenzo only needed ninth place in Malaysia to clinch his first title in the premier class - Dani Pedrosa's collarbone injury having removed his last real threat in the standings.
Valentino Rossi charged back from a poor start at Sepang to take his first race win since returning following his injury lay-off. Ducati's Casey Stoner was with the leading pack - but not for long, as he crashed out at the final corner before the opening lap was even complete. At that stage, Rossi was nowhere near the lead fight, as an appalling start had dropped him right back to 11th from his disappointing sixth on the grid.
But his fight-back was breathtaking. Up to sixth within two laps, he was third by lap four - and soon setting fastest lap after fastest lap as he chased down Lorenzo and Dovizioso. On lap nine Dovizioso finally managed to take the lead from Lorenzo into the first corner, with Rossi also passing his team-mate a lap later. It only took one more lap for Rossi to catch and pass Dovizioso too, diving down the inside at Turn 9 just as he had to so many riders earlier in the race.
Dovizioso never let him escape - and even thrust his Honda back in front for half a lap five from the end - but Rossi used his Turn 9 move again to reclaim the lead, and then held his countryman at bay all the way to the chequered flag.
The win ended Rossi's longest-ever MotoGP victory drought, as he had not triumphed since the Qatar season opener six months ago. His reign as world champion ended though, as Lorenzo cruised to third place and claimed more than enough points to win his first title.
Marco Simoncelli held fourth for Gresini Honda for much of the race, but his pace faded in the second half and he was reeled in by Ben Spies - who passed him and grabbed fourth for Tech 3 Yamaha.