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Matt Roberts MotoGP column

Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo

Stoner wins as Rossi and Lorenzo do battle

By Matt Roberts

When Jorge Lorenzo won his second 250cc World Championship in Malaysia back in 2007 he celebrated by dressing up as his film hero Rocky and shadow boxing in parc ferme.

Now the gloves are off for the remainder of the 2010 season, with the Spaniard threatening all out attack on Valentino Rossi after the Yamaha team-mates exchanged furious blows on the track at Motegi.

"His moves were very on the limit in my opinion," fumed Lorenzo after being edged out by the Italian in the battle for the last podium spot.

"Every time he overtook me he touched me and made me go wide. This is very similar to his typical moves in the past with [Sete] Gibernau and [Casey] Stoner in some races."

We can see Lorenzo going a little bit crazy and aggressive with Valentino in some crucial races

Jorge Lorenzo

Rossi is said to have been delighted by Lorenzo's outburst to the press, having initially been disappointed that his team-mate did not seem upset.

But the championship leader says he refuses to be intimidated, as many people believe Gibernau and Stoner were following incidents at Jerez and Laguna Seca in 2005 and 2008 respectively.

"I will not act like Gibernau or Casey," said Lorenzo, who only needs a ninth-place finish at Sepang this Sunday to secure the championship should Dani Pedrosa not recover in time to compete.

"When I win the title and I have another fight with Valentino, maybe I will be more aggressive and maybe fight like he normally does."

Asked whether he expected Rossi to keep his promise that he would help Lorenzo take the title if asked to by Yamaha, Lorenzo replied: "I don't think so, we will not see it.

"But we can see Lorenzo going a little bit crazy and aggressive with Valentino in some crucial races. This we can see in the future."

Lorenzo's only opportunity for revenge this year may be at Phillip Island, with Rossi still contemplating the possibility of skipping the final two rounds at Estoril and Valencia to undergo surgery to his injured shoulder.

British rider Cal Crutchlow, who will move into the satellite Yamaha team next season, is preparing his suitcase just in case.

"Yamaha has called me to tell me to be prepared if Rossi decides to have his shoulder operation before the end of the season," Crutchlow told Italian magazine Motosprint.

"I would have preferred to have taken my first ride of the M1 in a calmer situation. The plan was to test this month in Japan and then in Valencia after the final GP but if they need me I'll be there."

Motosprint claims Crutchlow would ride for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team, with whom he has signed for 2011, with Ben Spies slotting into the Fiat Yamaha team alongside Lorenzo.

Pedrosa's chances of travelling to Malaysia look slim.

Pedrosa prepares to leave hospital after surgery
Pedrosa prepares to leave hospital after surgery

The Spaniard spent 48 hours in hospital in Barcelona but was discharged on Monday and will return for a fitness check on Wednesday before making a final decision on his participation at Sepang and Phillip Island.

In his absence last Sunday, Andrea Dovizioso stepped up to the plate to secure the Repsol Honda Team's 250th MotoGP podium with an excellent second place.

The result could help persuade Honda to field three riders next year, as opposed to farming the Italian out to the satellite Gresini team.

If so, Dovizioso and Pedrosa will be joined by Stoner in the longest running and most successful team in the paddock.

Rossi, Gibernau, Biaggi, Alex Crivillé, Tadayuki Okada, Shinichi Itoh, Takuma Aoki, Tohru Ukawa, Alex Barros and Nicky Hayden have all scored podiums in the famous orange and blue colours.

It was not only Rossi and Lorenzo that provided the Japanese fans with some edge-of-the-seat overtaking at Motegi. Rookie Spies again turned on the style after running off track on the second lap.

Spies returned in second to last place, ahead of Hayden, but picked off Mika Kallio, Hiroshi Aoyama, Marco Melandri, Aleix Espargaro, Hector Barbera and Randy de Puniet to seal an impressive eighth place. Team-mate Colin Edwards scored a season-best result in fifth.

Toni Elias moved another step closer to the Moto2 title with a seventh win of the season that earned a hug and a slap on the wrists from team manager Fausto Gresini.

Elias had been instructed to ride a conservative race and focus on championship points but he produced a risky charge at the front of the pack to hold off Spanish compatriot Julian Simon for the win.

"After practice, [crew chief] Fabrizio Cecchini and I sat down with him and tried to make him understand that it wasn't so important to beat his most direct rival, which is Simon, but to bring some points home for the championship," explained Gresini.

"Even though he agreed with us, it was clear as soon as the race started that he only wanted to win!"

As well as moving him to within a second-place finish of winning his first world championship, Elias revealed that he had an extra motivation to take the chequered flag.

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"It was an important victory for me because I wanted to dedicate it to (Shoya) Tomizawa," he explained. "I would have liked to have done it at Aragon but maybe winning Shoya's home race for him is an even bigger tribute."

Scott Redding was once again on the pace all weekend in the Moto2 class, celebrating a new two-year contract with the Marc VDS team with an impressive fifth place on a good day for the Brits.

Bradley Smith scored his third podium in a row in the 125cc race, while Danny Webb took seventh place despite gearbox problems throughout the race.

Teenager Danny Kent made an encouraging grand prix debut, qualifying 16th and battling for 13th in the race before crashing due to an engine seizure.

Kent, runner-up in the Red Bull Rookies Cup, is set to complete the remainder of the season with the factory Lambretta team.



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see also
Stoner seals Japanese MotoGP win
03 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Dovizioso grabs his maiden pole
02 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Lorenzo signs to stay with Yamaha
02 Oct 10 |  MotoGP
Rossi to undergo shoulder surgery
15 Sep 10 |  MotoGP


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