Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian GP…and the tricolore flew high over the podium at Mugello, as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso took a magnificent win battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line over a second clear of Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and an impressive home podium for second Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing).
Home hero Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) shot off the line for the lead from P2 on the grid, denying teammate and polesitter Viñales as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) stormed up from seventh to fight off Dovizioso for third.
With the leaders in-line, over the line saw Lorenzo use the incredible speed of the Ducati to take the lead for the first time in red, dueling with old nemesis Rossi before the Italian took him back – and the next lap proved almost a replay as two of the men to have dominated the sport this decade found themselves sharing the front of the race for the first time this season.
Then it was ‘DesmoDovi’ on the move past his teammate after Viñales had gone through on Rossi, the Championship leader taking the ‘Doctor’ as the trio began to break away from Lorenzo – with Petrucci on the chase.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) had an incredible start from P16 after having suffered with illness throughout the weekend, moving up into seventh, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) suffered a different fate and got a ride through for a jump start.
Petrucci caught the group before too long as Dovizioso took over at the front, and the Pramac rider then pounced on Viñales after a small mistake to follow ‘DesmoDovi’. Then it was holding station as the gaps grew and then shrunk, before the factory Ducati in the lead gained a small gap – and every member of the Borgo Panigale team held their breath as Viñales took over in second, only a few laps remaining and the Championship leader with his head down.
Closing in and then falling back, the pendulum swung between the two men until the last lap dawned – and ‘DesmoDovi’ kept it inch-perfect around every corner to take his third ever Grand Prix victory, and the first for a red machine at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009.
Viñales took second to increase his Championship lead once again, with Petrucci putting in the dry-weather ride of his life to complete the podium after staying clear of Rossi over the last couple of laps. The ‘Doctor’, who suffered a motocross crash in training the week before the event, pushed hard through the pain barrier at home and just missed the podium but took good points – as always, putting on a great show.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took a big scalp as he caught and passed reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to complete the top five, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) coming home in P7 behind Marquez.
Lorenzo, after his early duel for the lead, suffered grip issues later in the race and crossed the line in eighth, beating Ducati test rider Michele Pirro over the line. Iannone’s heroics following his illness saw him complete the top ten at home.
The late drama a little further off the front saw a tough day for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) conclude in a crash as the ‘Baby Samurai’ slid out, unfortunately collecting LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took P11, with the top fifteen completed by Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) has taken his first victory in the World Championship since 2009 at the Italian GP, coming out on top in style after a fight to the flag against Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). The three men crossed the line covered by just over a tenth in one of the closest Moto2™ races of the season so far.
It was tight into Turn 1 but there were no changes in the top three on the grid past the first corner, before Pasini struck for the lead soon after to cross the line in P1 first time round, ahead of polesitter Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Marquez.
Drama then struck on the first lap just behind the front three, as Forward Racing Team’s Lorenzo Baldassarri highsided into Turn 15 – collecting title hopeful Takaaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) as the two tumbled out into the gravel, but both riders escaped the incident unharmed.
Back at the front, Marquez took Morbidelli for second to settle into the rhythm behind Pasini, as Lüthi pushed to stay with and catch the front trio. Marquez then took the lead, Pasini hit back, and the front four found themselves the pacesetters as they pulled over two and a half seconds clear of chasing Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P5.
Morbidelli then began to drop back, trailing the top three by over a second as the trio at the head of the pack held station. Then, the race burst back into life as Pasini, Marquez and Lüthi took the gloves off, with a three-way fight for the win lighting up Mugello.
As the final lap dawned, Lüthi struck for the lead in spectacular style, but Pasini dug in on home turf. Having been pushed back to third, the Italian pulled his almost signature move on Marquez through Casanovi and Savelli, before striking against Lüthi straight after. Ahead as the end of the lap appeared, Pasini kept himself clear in the lead and pushed hard through the final corners to hold it over the line as the two men behind tried to slipstream. The Italian took his first win in the Moto2™ class and his first win since the 250 race at Mugello in 2009 by only 0.052 over Lüthi, with Marquez only another 0.084 back after the incredible showdown.
Morbidelli came home in a solid fourth place as he kept it calm to take home good points for his Championship charge, ahead of an equally lonely ride for Miguel Oliveira to take yet another top finish in fifth.
Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) just pipped Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) over the line to sixth, with Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) taking eighth on home soil. Top rookie was an impressive weekend from Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) to cross the line in ninth, after key rookie rival Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) crashed out late on.
Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a stunning comeback from his arm injury to take tenth, riding for the first time since Argentina and putting on an impressive show.
Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) were 11th to 13th respectively, with Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) finding some better luck to come home in P14. Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completed the points.
Now it’s Marquez turf at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as the Championship closes back up a little on the road back from Mugello.
Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) has taken his first ever Grand Prix win on home turf in the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, staying just ahead of compatriot Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) as the two broke free from the pack on the final lap. Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) took his first ever podium in P3, breaking free of the Moto3™ mayhem out of the final corner.
It was Di Giannantonio who got the best start, taking the lead into Turn 1 as teammate Jorge Martin also got a spectacular first few corners from P13 on the grid to move up into the top six. Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) was another good starter, as the big loser off the line proved Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and the Italian dropped back outside the top ten.
The initial front group that emerged saw Fenati leading Di Giannantonio, Jorge Martin, Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), John McPhee (British Talent Team) and Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay Real Estate), as Ramirez’ teammate Darryn Binder looked to tag onto the back. Bulega regrouped to then lead the second freight train, but the slipstream down the more than kilometer long straight soon came into play as the top eleven closed up, followed by almost the entirety of the field.
With over twenty riders in the “front group” – a spectacular sight down the straight – positions switched and changed at the sharp end as advantages were gained and lost in the slipstream. Some stunning overtakes around the rest of the lap made for a signature Moto3™ spectacle, with riders going eight or nine abreast into Turn 1 and the fight through the field one of the best displays of Grand Prix racing in the lightweight class seen this year, this decade – or possibly even this century.
The timesheets seemed to flip every time over the line, but as the last lap dawned it was Migno and Di Giannantonio who managed to pull a tiny gap from the tousle behind – with the VR46 academy rider able to just stay ahead over the line to take his first ever Grand Prix win, by only 0.037.
‘Diggia’ – who had also been hunting his first win – took another podium as he gains traction in 2017, and showed incredible sportsmanship as he congratulated his compatriot on the win just past the line.
Juanfran Guevara’s first podium came ahead of an equal best-ever result for Darryn Binder in fourth, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) completing the top five. BTT rider John McPhee took sixth in a solid ride to bag more points, and crucially finished just ahead of Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing).
Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) was the rookie of the day, as the former Asia Talent Cup winner took an incredible P8 after fighting at the front for the first time on the world stage – and coming from P24 on the grid. Marcos Ramirez took P9, ahead of Italian duo Nicolo Bulega and Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
Bo Bendsneyder took P12, ahead of a more difficult finish for initial leader Romano Fenati. Philipp Oettl (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing) was fourteenth, in front of another key title challenger to lose out in the latter stages of the race: Jorge Martin.
Now there’s almost enough time to catch your breath before we head over to the Monster Energy Gran Premi de Catalunya in Barcelona, ready to fire up the ever-frenetic Moto3™ field once again.
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- Tito Rabat conquers eighth in a great Texas fight April 23, 2018
- Points for Pol Espargaro in Texas April 23, 2018
- Maverick Viñales cruises to second at COTA April 23, 2018
- Marquez has Rossi and Agostini records in sight April 26, 2018
- Octo Telematics announced as title sponsor for San Marino GP April 26, 2018
- Motegi test for Suzuki and Guintoli April 26, 2018
- Nakagami: “finishing as top rookie is a nice feeling” April 25, 2018
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- Leaders will be leaders April 25, 2018