SUR­PRISE, SUR­PRISE

Race-win­ning Brit con­cedes ti­tle chances af­ter dis­as­trous San Marino race

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - SI­MON PAT­TER­SON IN ITALY MOTOGP RE­PORTER si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

Just when it looked like Dani Pe­drosa was lit­tle more than a bum on a seat in the Re­spol Honda team than the wily Spa­niard pops up and rides the wheels off his RCV to up­stage every­one at the Misano GP. It looked for a while like Valentino Rossi was go­ing to win in front of his ador­ing home fans, but he could not keep the mini rocket at bay. Although the much-loved Ital­ian clawed an­other seven points back on ti­tle leader Marc Mar­quez, he was still frus­trated that he was not able to win his home race.

Sam Lowes has now all but lost the fight for the 2016 Moto2 world cham­pi­onship, af­ter yet an­other dis­as­trous week­end that saw him crash out of fourth place halfway through the race. The mis­take means that the Fed­eral Oil Gresini rider has now dropped to fourth in the stand­ings, trail­ing ti­tle ri­vals Alex Rins and Jo­hann Zarco by over 50 points.

Strug­gling all week­end to find grip from his Kalex ma­chine, the Brit was nonethe­less able to up his game for qual­i­fy­ing, tak­ing a se­cond row start and look­ing like be­ing in with a chance of fight­ing for the podium.

He backed that up with a strong start to the race, get­ting stuck into the bat­tle for third and en­sur­ing that fierce ri­val Zarco, de­moted last time out in Sil­ver­stone for caus­ing Lowes to fall, was be­hind him as he searched for valu­able cham­pi­onship points.

But an er­ror caused him to tum­ble from the race while bat­tling with Franco Mor­bidelli. It meant he failed to score any points for the se­cond race in a row.

“I had a prob­lem with the quick­shifter, and when I went into the cor­ner the bike wasn’t quite in gear and when I came out it un­set­tled it and I tucked the front. It’s been a dif­fi­cult week­end, some things out of our con­trol and some out of the team’s con­trol, which has been the story of the year.

“I can’t say what those is­sues are, but it’s a s**t sit­u­a­tion. It’s con­trolled the re­sults in a lot of races this year.

“We didn’t have the best bike for the race, but it wasn’t that bad – it was ca­pa­ble of a podium. Apart from Nak­agami, who had a good pace, I was still faster than the other rid­ers in­volved in the fight for third place, so I was de­ter­mined to pass them to try to pull away.”

And to add in­sult to in­jury for Lowes,

while it might have been a bad race for him, it was a stun­ning suc­cess for ti­tle ri­val Alex Rins, who took a strong se­cond place – and the ti­tle lead – de­spite rid­ing with a bro­ken col­lar­bone.

Rins re­fused to let up on home favourite Lorenzo Bal­das­sarri un­til a mis­take on the last lap handed the Ital­ian his de­but win. The 2017 Suzuki Motogp racer has now clawed back 22 points on Zarco in only two races.

Rins said: “For sure I didn’t want to fin­ish se­cond, but Lorenzo braked later than I thought he would and I had to sit up! But I’m happy, be­cause be­fore Sil­ver­stone we thought the cham­pi­onship was over.”

‘I can’t say what those is­sues are, but it’s a s**t sit­u­a­tion’ SAM LOWES

Los­ing the front at turn 15, Sam Lowes’ ti­tle hopes were left scat­tered in the Misano gravel Adding in­sult to in­jury, Lowes’ Gresini digs into the gravel and flips over

Lowes hits the deck the yel­low flag as Sam Misano mar­shals ready

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