News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Auto Racing

August 30, 2009

Jorge Lorenzo cruises to MotoGP victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Speedway — Two-thirds of the front row for MotoGP’s Indianapolis Grand Prix tasted pavement.

Jorge Lorenzo savored victory … becoming the first Indianapolis Motor Speedway champion to victoriously cross the bricks on one wheel.

The Spaniard passed Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi on Lap 8 and had it made when Rossi — the six-time MotoGP champion and current points leader — crashed two laps later. Lorenzo had no serious competition the rest of the way on his way to victory by 9.435 seconds over San Marino’s Alex de Angelis in the second edition of world championship motorcycle racing at the track.

Lorenzo had an insurmountable lead as he made the final turn to complete the final lap, so he did a wheelie for the entire length of the Speedway’s front straightaway. It was the start of a wild celebration for a man who’s viewed as the understudy to Rossi, his iconic teammate.

“With every lap I see, ‘OK, maybe I will try.’ So I try and I thought, ‘OK, I’m going to do 100 meters only or 200 meters,’ but I did almost one kilometer,” said Lorenzo on his wheelie. “The sensation to be on the wheelie was nice.”

It was Lorenzo’s third victory of the season, but his first since the French Grand Prix in May. He chopped Rossi’s championship lead, which had been 50 points, in half.

Lorenzo started second, but got off slower than pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa and Rossi, who started third. Lorenzo began to reel them even before misfortune struck both riders.

Pedrosa wrecked on Lap 3, handing the lead to Rossi. But Rossi could not shake Lorenzo, who was no more than 0.231 seconds behind Rossi for the next five laps.

Lorenzo passed Rossi going into Turn 1 on Lap 8. Rossi tried in vain to stay with his teammate, but met disaster in the effort.

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