Jorge Lorenzo’s MotoGP win at Mugello comes at just the right moment

JORGE Lorenzo’s victory at Mugello may have been the 25th MotoGP premier class win of his career, but it could also prove one of the most decisive.

The Spaniard produced a textbook ride to beat Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa by 5.4 seconds, with the latter taking a fortuitous second after teammate Marc Marquez crashed out in the closing stages.

Not only has the victory breathed new life into his title defence – he now trails Pedrosa by 12 points – but the manner in which it came will be a huge source of encouragement.

The 26-year-old produced a masterclass in defensive riding to keep the brace of Hondas at bay for the first half of the race, before pouncing to pull clear and win at a canter.

Time and again Lorenzo held off determined and sustained assaults down Mugello’s gargantuan straight from Pedrosa, despite a 7kmh top-end speed deficit.

His desperately late braking underlined his determination to win after a disastrous round at Le Mans, and was a sight one associates more with Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi than the Mallorcan.

To hold off not one but two hard-charging and in-form Hondas – particularly on a wide, flowing and high-speed circuit such as Mugello – was nothing short of miraculous.

Not only did he show the mental strength to fend the pair off, but he retained the aggression to exploit a waning Pedrosa in the latter stages of the contest to record an emphatic victory.

As well as late braking, Italian Rossi has been renowned over the years for taking big wins at crucial stages of the season – just ask Sete Gibernau after Jerez in 2005 or Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca in 2008.

It may be premature to put this victory in that category just yet, but Lorenzo has certainly stemmed a seemingly-irrepressible Honda tide.

Prior to Mugello, Honda had won an astonishing 13 of the previous 16 races, underscoring just what a shot in the arm this win was for both Lorenzo and Yamaha.

One win certainly does not mean Lorenzo has his third title in the bag. Pedrosa is still in superb form and, at just 20 years of age, Marquez continues to learn at an alarming pace.

But with both Hondas beaten fairly and squarely in a straight-up, gloves-off scrap at a circuit better-suited to their machines – and with a home race at Catalunya coming up next – Lorenzo’s title tilt is definitely back on track.

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