© AP

MotoGP: Lorenzo wins in Aragon as Marquez crashes

Leave a comment

Jorge Lorenzo cut Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi’s lead in the 2015 MotoGP riders’ championship down to just 14 points by claiming a dominant victory in Sunday’s Aragon Grand Prix in Spain.

Starting second on the grid, Lorenzo managed to get the jump on pole-sitting Honda rider Marc Marquez off the line to take the lead of the race.

As Marquez tried to keep up with Lorenzo and apply pressure in second place, he pushed too hard, crashing off at high speed on just the second lap of the race.

Despite trying to get his bike back going, Marquez was forced to retire from the race. It marked his fifth DNF of the year and ends his already-faint title hopes as the gap to Rossi at the top of the championship now stands at 79 points.

After starting sixth, Rossi made a good start to rise up to fourth in the opening stages of the race. The Italian picked off Ducati rider Andrea Iannone to claim third before becoming embroiled in a titanic battle for second place with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in the final laps of the race.

Both drivers produced some impressive overtaking and defensive moves, but it was Pedrosa who managed to finish ahead at the flag, albeit only by less than one-tenth of a second.

In third, Rossi limited the damage of Lorenzo’s victory, ensuring that he retains a 14-point lead heading into the flyaway triple header of Japan, Australia and Malaysia that begins in two weeks’ time.

Iannone led Ducati’s charge at Motorland Aragon by finishing fourth ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso, whilst Aleix Espargaro ran well to P6 in front of his home fans in Spain. Cal Crutchlow ended the day seventh ahead of fellow Briton Bradley Smith, while Pol Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez rounded out the points in P9 and P10 respectively.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.