Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi took battling podium positions in the Italian Grand Prix today, after an action-packed afternoon saw the riders forced to swap bikes for the second race in a row due to changing weather conditions. Lorenzo recovered from a crash on the sighting lap to come home in second behind Casey Stoner, whilst Rossi finally surrendered the crown he has worn at his home track for the past seven years and had to be content with third.
Jorge Lorenzo took his second pole and fifth front row of the season after a scintillating qualifying session in Italy this afternoon, which left the top four riders separated by less than two tenths of a second. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Valentino Rossi qualified fourth and finds himself off the front row at Mugello for the first time since 1999, when he was still in 250s.
Fans at Mugello were treated to a great battle in qualifying on Saturday afternoon, with Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo upstaging his teammate Valentino Rossi at the World Champion's home track - the Spaniard taking pole and the Italian left off the front row.
In brilliant sunshine at the Gran Premio d'Italia Alice four riders fought for pole right at the death. Lorenzo eventually emerged on top, courtesy of a 1'48.987 time on the 29th of his 30 laps, beating Casey Stoner by a tight margin (0.021s).
Lorenzo leads the championship from his team-mate by just one point and he looked in top form once again this afternoon.
Below is a brief summary of each of his thirteen GP races he has started at Mugello:
1996/125cc/Aprilia: Qualified 8th/Finished 4th: His first Grand Prix appearance at Mugello was just his 5th GP start, and after leading a Grand Prix for the first time he finished 4th just 1.6 seconds behind race victor Peter Ottl.
With the track still wet from a rainy morning all riders started the race on rain tyres, with the mechanics readying the dry bikes in pit lane in anticipation of an early change as the track dried out.
After yesterdays rain it was another grey morning and the practice session was run in the dry but with track temperatures reaching only 17 degrees.
Casey Stoner's third place finish in 2007 is his only podium in any class of racing at the Le Mans circuit.
Despite concerns expressed by some riders about the softness of even the harder compound choice, the Jerez showdown was a quicker outing for eventual victor Rossi than it was for 2008 racewinner Dani Pedrosa.
Having made a big step forward on Sunday at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España Valentino Rossi thanked his Fiat Yamaha crew for the changes they made to his bike, after qualifying, which helped him to his first win of 2009.
The MotoGP World Champion built on his two second places at Qatar and Japan with his Spanish success, to give himself an 11 point lead at the head of the standings after three races of his title-defence.
Not normally happy with third place finishes Ducati Marlboro's Casey Stoner was a relieved man after the Gran Premio bwin.com de España concluded on Sunday, as he stepped onto the rostrum at the Spanish venue for the first time.
Enjoying the Spanish sunshine on Sunday morning at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, and with yesterday's wind having died down, Valentino Rossi looked comfortable once more in the premier class warm-up at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España.
It was Lorenzo's second consecutive pole at this track, having taken the top grid spot this time last year before finishing the race third.
Eight-time MotoGP world champion, Valentino Rossi, has confirmed today that he will make his first visit to the world-famous Isle of Man TT races in June this year with Dainese, who recently renewed their current partnership with the Isle of Man TT races as Official Safety Partner for the second successive year. The company's founder and CEO Mr. Lino Dainese will accompany Rossi and Italian legend Giacomo Agostini on this historic visit.