Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo has stretched his MotoGP lead at the half-way point in the season, winning round nine at Mugello in Italy. German rookie Stefan Bradl finished fourth, the best result of his career.
The 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo took the lead from pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa at the start and never looked back. The Spanish Yamaha rider led the rest of the race and found time to wave to the crowd on the last lap, as he cruised across the line five seconds ahead of his countryman, Pedrosa.
Lorenzo stretches his championship lead to 19 points at the half-way stage in the MotoGP season, ahead of Pedrosa on his Honda. Pedrosa jumped up into second in the overall standings at the expense of his teammate Casey Stoner.
The reigning world champion, who is competing in his last season before retirement, suffered an off-track excursion at half-distance and could only recover to finish ninth. This poor result, coupled with his last-lap retirement in Germany last weekend, means Stoner now trails Lorenzo by 37 points after leading for much of the season.
Bradl battles for first podium
German rider Stefan Bradl occupied third place for most of the race, but was overtaken by Italian Andrea Dovizioso in the closing laps. Bradl held off a further challenge from Ducati's Nicky Hayden to finish fourth, the best finish of his career in the MotoGP class.
Bradl is in his rookie season, having comfortably won the championship in the Moto2 feeder series on smaller bikes last year. His fifth place finish last week at the Sachsenring near Chemnitz in eastern Germany had equalled his best performance of the season to date, until he topped it at Mugello on Sunday.
Riding on a "satellite bike," a motorcycle operated by an independent customer team rather than a manufacturer, Bradl is an impressive seventh in the overall standings - ahead of two riders, Hayden and Ben Spies, on factory bikes.
Hayden's teammate, multiple champion Valentino Rossi, ultimately rolled in fifth behind Bradl in front of his Italian home fans, with the American nipping at his heels in sixth.
Author: Mark Hallam
Editor: Chuck Penfold