Australia MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo suffers title blow

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Jorge Lorenzo’s MotoGP title hopes suffered a massive blow in Australia today, the factory Yamaha rider crashing out of the 27-lap Phillip Island race at the first corner.

Trying to recover from a sluggish start from the second row of the grid, the Spaniard ran into the back of Nicky Hayden’s factory Ducati GP9 and crashed moments later after the impact had damaged the front brake disc on his Yamaha YZR-M1.

Lorenzo needed treatment for a cut nose and a damaged right little finger but the most painful blow was to his world title hopes.

With team-mate Valentino Rossi claiming 20 valuable points after a race long but unsuccessful pursuit of home favourite Casey Stoner, Lorenzo trails the Italian by a massive 38-points with only two races remaining.

“I’m a little bit sad for this crash, not for the championship but for my mistake; I didn’t expect this kind of mistake from myself.

“It was totally my fault, I miscalculated the distance off the line and Nicky braked earlier than I was expecting and I hit him.

“I thought I could save it but my front brake was broken and so when I tried to brake for the corner I couldn’t and the rear made a big slide.

“I have a bit of damage to my nose and my finger but it could have been a lot worse.

“This is what happens in racing and, although I am disappointed about the race, the most important thing is that I am not badly injured, “said a dejected Lorenzo.

He was also quick to offer an apology to a luckless Hayden, who has now been taken out three times on the first lap in 2009 through no fault of his own.

The double world 250GP champion added: “I want to say sorry to Nicky because I ruined his race today.

“As for the points, the title was a long shot anyway and now I just want to look forward to the final two races.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt