Jorge Lorenzo claimed victory in the Catalunya Grand Prix
Last Updated: 16/06/13 5:00pm
Jorge Lorenzo en route to victory in Catalunya
Jorge Lorenzo produced a faultless ride to win the Catalunya Grand Prix and close the gap to MotoGP championship leader Dani Pedrosa.
The reigning champion made a blistering start from third to squeeze out pole sitter Pedrosa on the first turn for a lead he would not relinquish.
The Yamaha rider was stalked by Pedrosa and Marc Marquez for the entire race as the Repsol Honda pair completed a Spanish clean-sweep of the podium.
Pedrosa and Marquez remained in touch for much of the race but the former began to lose a little pace with seven laps to go.
That left Lorenzo with a clear run to the line for his third win of the season to close to within seven points of Pedrosa, who had his work cut out to hold off his team-mate.
Marquez was definitely the quicker of the two Honda riders and he had a little nibble at Pedrosa with two laps remaining, almost bringing down both bikes when he nearly lost his front end.
That caused the rookie to back off briefly but he had another go at Pedrosa on the final turn with the more senior rider hanging on to take second.
Valentino Rossi claimed fourth after the Yamaha rider benefited from a spill by Cal Crutchlow five laps in when the Briton was running in fourth place and well in touch with the leaders.
Crutchlow remounted his Tech 3 Yamaha but was too far off the pace to continue and retired shortly afterwards while his team-mate, Bradley Smith claimed a creditable sixth behind Stefan Bradl.
Rossi himself almost suffered a second successive first-lap wipe out when he was narrowly missed by Alvaro Bautista - the same man who took him out at Mugello a fortnight ago - as he slid off the track.
"A perfect day, to be honest I didn't expect to win," said Lorenzo, who claimed victory last time at the Italian Grand Prix a fortnight ago.
"I knew I had some chance but not like in Mugello where I was more convinced we could get the victory.
"It was really difficult physically as it was the hottest race of the year. I kept pushing 100% all race because any mistake would have been a disaster.
"I was surprised at the start as I expected to just pass Cal but I passed Dani also. I took profit from it and tried to open the gap but it was not enough to go away.
"Dani was there and we played some games, I was 0.5 seconds ahead then 0.2; I was going then he was recovering.
"Finally because I was tough mentally and never gave up I could open, in the last five laps, a little gap that was enough to win."
Pedrosa added: "At the beginning it was reasonably comfortable with a decent rhythm but then the tyres started to deteriorate and the three of us slowed down.
"I was never able to get to the straight right behind Jorge to attempt a pass. It was an easy day to fall and I wanted to push him (Lorenzo) but I knew that I couldn't make any mistakes."