Starting from second on the grid, Lorenzo catapulted from the line to take the hole shot into turn one, leading the MotoGP pack into the first ever MotoGP race at the circuit.
Teammate Valentino Rossi jumped two places to fourth as the story of the first laps began. What happened next was a flurry of activity with Jorge dropping initially to third with a wide corner and Rossi climbing to second. The positions were not to last as the Yamaha riders shuffled again, Lorenzo climbing back to retake the lead and Rossi dropping initially to fourth before passing Andrea Iannone for third.
With 22 laps to go a brief state of grace saw the Yamaha riders running in first and second. The moment was not to last as Rossi ran wide, dropping to seventh and giving himself a challenge to fight back up the rankings and chase down Sefan Bradl, Dani Pedrosa and Iannone in front.
Rossi began to move forward and showed a fast enough pace to have kept with the ultimate race winner. Unfortunately a mistake by Stefan Bradl under braking pushed him wide whilst running in fourth, costing valuable time and any chance of a podium. He was able to retain fourth, crossing the line less than five seconds from first place.
Lorenzo was meanwhile leading the race, back to his old self and holding off championship leader Marc Marquez for as long as possible. It wasn’t until just nine laps remaining that Marquez was able to take the lead, passing on turn five to move up. Lorenzo then did everything possible to hold second but was forced to concede and settle for third on the final lap as Pedrosa was able to pass.
The third place finish moves Lorenzo up to seventh in the standings on 22 points whilst Rossi retains his third position with 41 points.
The MotoGP paddock will move directly to Spain now for the first European round of the season at Jerez next weekend.
I’m really happy, this is probably the most sweet third place in my career in MotoGP, arriving after two difficult races. We have demonstrated that even in not our best shape we can fight with the Hondas and arrive in a proud third position. We want to improve; I want to improve my physical condition still and also the bike and when the moment arrives I think we will be ready to win races. We have to keep improving and have patience and wait for our moment.
I had the potential and the pace to end on the podium and especially to fight with the three guys in front. Unfortunately in the first laps first of all I made a mistake and lost a bit but the place I lost some more was when Bradl made a mistake. He arrived too deep in braking and he pushed me out of the track and I lost two seconds on that lap and so the podium.