BARCELONA (Reuters) - Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo slashed team mate Valentino Rossi’s championship lead to a single point on Sunday with his fourth win in a row at an eventful Catalan Grand Prix.
The victory on a scorching afternoon also handed the Spaniard a MotoGP record with 103 successive laps led, breaking Australian Casey Stoner’s previous benchmark of 88.
Rossi completed a one-two finish for Yamaha, the team’s second of the season, while Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third.
“The conditions were difficult as it was very hot,” Lorenzo told reporters. “Valentino likes these conditions and performs better but it is the opposite for me.
“The bike was moving a lot but I didn’t make any mistakes and the hard work paid off.”
Rossi now has 138 points to Lorenzo’s 137.
World champion Marc Marquez’s poor season continued as he failed to finish for the second successive race, crashing out on the third lap while challenging Lorenzo for the lead.
“I was on my home circuit and I wanted to give 100 percent,” the Honda rider, now 69 points behind Rossi and with his hopes of a third successive title fading fast, told reporters.
“The thing is though that if you are not at your best then these things can happen. I felt strong but couldn’t brake into the corner.”
Rossi’s poor form in qualifying continued and he had to work his way through the pack, having started in seventh, but could not put any real pressure on Lorenzo once in second place.
“This time I was happy with the bike. Starting on the third row meant that I lost time but I am pleased with my race,” Rossi told reporters.
“My speed was equal to Jorge’s today and so now after seven races there is only one point between us so it should be interesting.”
Local rider Alex Espargaro, on pole for Suzuki, dropped to ninth at the start and then crashed with only 16 riders finishing the race.
Editing by Pritha Sarkar/Alan Baldwin