Motorcycling: Lorenzo on pole at Misano with best lap yet

Eugene Laverty finished 14th in Sunday's San Marino MotoGP in Misano.

Valentino Rossi has admitted that Misano MotoGP victor Dani Pedrosa was too strong to match - but added that he was happy enough just to beat Marc Marquez.

Runner-up Rossi closed the gap at the top of the standings to Marquez to 43 points with five races to go.

Pedrosa started only eighth on the grid but the Honda rider produced a tactically flawless race to steadily move up to the front after Rossi had taken the lead from the second of the race's 28 laps.

Lorenzo fended off Pedrosa for a while before eventually yielding second place with 11 laps remaining, his attempts to block proving fruitless.

Lorenzo, a victor in Qatar, France and Italy this term, has plummeted from first to third in the championship since his triumph at Mugello and trails Marquez by 64 points.

"A little later I could see I could catch Valentino, so I tried to keep focused for last part of the race, and actually take the chance for a victory today".

It was the first time since the motorcycling world championship began in 1949 that eight different riders had won eight successive races in the same season in the top category.

"In San Marino I expect to fight again for the podium if we work well during the weekend", said Marquez, who came fourth at the British Grand Prix.

"I felt like I had the speed to stay ahead but then Dani approached and he was just too fast", Rossi said after saluting his home fans, many of them carrying yellow flags featuring his No. 46.

Spanish youngster Maverick Vinales claimed his maiden MotoGP win last time out, Suzuki's first victory in the category since 2007, and will aim to push on this weekend following his breakthrough performance. "He admitted his disappointment at failing to challenge and is already looking ahead to the Aragon GP in three weeks" time. I don't know what I have to say.

Rossi meanwhile insisted that he would not want his number to be retired, "But I hope it is still a long time until we have to talk about this", the Italian joked.

Lorenzo is placed third in the ridersĀ“ championship, 64 points behind his fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez, who was fourth quickest in qualifying to start on the second row.

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