Jorge Lorenzo leads Ducati 1-2 at Mugello MotoGP
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) has taken his first win in red as he led a 1-2 for the Ducati Team at Mugello, uncatchable and untouchable to cross the line over six seconds clear for his first victory since Valencia 2016 – and his seventh Italian GP win.
Andrea Dovizioso made it double podium glory for the Borgo Panigale factory as he took second, fending off a late charge from polesitter and crowd favourite Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). The ‘Doctor’’s podium finish was another history maker in a milestone day at Mugello as the rider from Tavullia became the first to get more than 5000 premier class points, meanwhile Championship leader and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), crashed and remounted but failed to score.
Lorenzo took the holeshot as Marquez shot through from the second row to blast into Turn 1 fighting for second, but Rossi held onto it until the reigning Champion then struck a lap later into San Donato, tucking in behind Lorenzo followed by Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Dovizioso.
The number 99 was keeping the pace hot at the front and the first bolt of drama suddenly then hit just behind, as Marquez slid out into the gravel at Turn 10 – able to remount, but points looking like a pipe dream. That left Rossi trailing Lorenzo, as Dovi struck to take third from Iannone. The Italian then picked his way past another compatriot as he sliced past Rossi soon after, then left with only his teammate ahead of him. Rossi then went wide into Turn 1, letting Iannone past.
Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – after getting blocked wide by Marquez at the start – was on a charge back, up to fight and on Rossi’s tail with 16 to go. As Iannone began to suffer and the ‘Doctor’ too, ‘Petrux’ pouced and move through – but it was soon a five-rider fight for the podium as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) joined the battle.
At the front, however, the story was red. Dovizioso had been holding the gap at just over a second, but Lorenzo just kept pulling the pin. Lap after lap, the ‘Spartan’ got the hammer down and simply pulled away into the distance – six seconds clear over the line, collapsing on the tank to take in the emotions.
Jorge Lorenzo saying, “I am very happy! Yesterday I said that winning at Mugello with Ducati was a dream for me and today this dream came true. It’s one of the most special wins of my entire career, probably on the same level as my first win in 125 in 2003 and in MotoGP in 2008. I’m really thrilled about it and pleased for the team, because it was fantastic to score this victory on Ducati’s home track after a very challenging weekend. This morning I realized that we could do it and, even though I was worried about the performance of the tyres, I decided to push right from the start, in my usual style, and everything went perfectly. I couldn’t ask for anything more and we will have to celebrate this win in a big way. I haven’t managed to win a race for a long time and I did it my way. I’ve been through some difficult moments but I’ve always believed I could do it, I could see that every time we were closer and closer and in the end we did it!”
Andrea Dovizioso adding, “To tell the truth I expected more than a second place today, but in the end we found that the conditions were hotter in the race than yesterday and so we had a few doubts about the choice of front tyre. Rossi and I made a cautionary selection, opting to fit the harder tyre, but unfortunately it didn’t work well. Valentino almost crashed a couple of times in front of me and when I tried to push to catch Jorge, I wasn’t fast enough in corner entry and as a result through the corners as well. In addition I used up the rear tyre and at the end of the race I also had to manage this problem. In any case we scored a good second place and reduced the gap to Marquez in the standings. I want to congratulate Jorge, who did a superb race and was very good and precise in managing the tyres to perfection.”
As the laps ticked down, Rossi and Iannone had emerged at the head of the group fighting for third, with a fantastic battle between the two home heroes before the rider from Tavullia was able to escape. He was then even able to hone in on Dovizioso on the final lap but it wasn’t quite enough, taking third to take his premier class points total over 5000 as the grandstands erupted in yellow smoke.
Valentino Rossi later saying, “It was a very tough race because we had to start with the harder front tyre, which we knew wouldn’t provide a lot of grip, so the race was very difficult. I tried not to make any mistakes, which was hard, and I also tried not to lose contact with the podium contenders. In my group the guys were riding on the softer tyre, so I hoped I would have a little bit more grip than them at the end. In fact, it was exactly like this, so I’m very happy, because the podium was the target for me. It remained difficult to secure it until the very last lap, because Iannone didn’t give up, but at the end it’s a great feeling here in Mugello.”
Iannone took fourth just 0.022 ahead of his teammate Alex Rins, with Crutchlow able to get the better of Petrucci to take P6 from the initial hard charger. Maverick Viñales dropped back from his front row start to take eighth but was on Petrucci’s tail by the flag, and both had Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) for close company as the number 19 took his second top ten of the year in P9. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten after a more difficult weekend.
There were a number of high-profile crashers including Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), ending his run of eight consecutive top tens, and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who went down in a tangle with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at Turn 2 near the start.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, turned around a difficult weekend to take P11, ahead of another impressive performance from Hafizh Syahrin, who was top rookie for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in P12. Marquez crossed the line in P16, taking no points home from Mugello.
Marc Marquez explaining, “We’ve been struggling the whole weekend to be perfectly comfortable with these particular spec tyres, but I wasn’t suffering that much in the race today. Instead, the front folded quite unexpectedly, as I wasn’t pushing that hard, and I crashed, though I almost saved it! When I re-joined the race, our pace wasn’t bad at all, despite the bike being a bit damaged, so that’s okay. Furthermore, we still have a 23-point advantage in the rankings, and this is also very positive; last year at this point we were 37 points back. Today also demonstrates what I’ve been saying for a while: things this year are pretty tight, the season is long, and anything can happen. That said, we’ll keep working as usual at Montmelò, where we’ll go back to the usual tyre spec, and we’ll try and come back strong.”
From a difficult weekend behind enemy lines in Italy, Marquez still leads the title fight as MotoGP returns onto his home turf. Next is the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – where Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi have some very good memories, and Dovizioso won last year.
MotoGP Race Results
- Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) DUCATI 41’43.230
- Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +6.370
- Valentino Rossi (ITA) YAMAHA +6.629
2018 MotoGP Standings following Mugello
- Marc MARQUEZ – Honda, SPA – 95
- Valentino ROSSI – Yamaha, ITA – 72
- Maverick VIÑALES – Yamaha, SPA – 67
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO – Ducati, ITA – 66
- Johann ZARCO – Yamaha, FRA – 64
- Danilo PETRUCCI – Ducati, ITA – 63
- Andrea IANNONE – Suzuki, ITA – 60
- Cal CRUTCHLOW – Honda, GBR – 56
- Jack MILLER – Ducati, AUS – 49
- Jorge LORENZO – Ducati, SPA – 41
Moto2: Oliveira wins spectacular race at Mugello
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took both his and KTM’s first win of the season in the Moto2 race at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley to close the Championship lead to just 13 points behind Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), who crossed the line fourth. Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) fought ferociously to get a home Grand Prix win but finished second, with rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) brilliantly taking his second consecutive podium in third.
Oliveira made a fantastic start, coming from P11 on the grid to make up six places going into the first corner as initial race leader Marcel Schroetter (Dynavolt Intact GP) crashed at Turn 2. The Portuguese rider climbed his way up to third by the end of the first lap, then hit the front on lap three, with Bagnaia, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Mir, Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) and Baldassarri chasing behind.
The Jerez winner then started to carve his way forward, passing Marquez into Turn 1 and taking the second EG 0,0 Marc VDS bike of Mir soon after. By this point, Oliveira was keeping tabs on leader Pasini, before the Italian tucked the front into Turn 1 – heartbreak for the pole sitter. This was the start of the battle between the number 44 and number 7, interchanging positions lap by lap, with the gap to Bagnaia and Mir stretching to over a second by lap 15.
It looked like it would be a two-horse race to the checkered flag between the two, however the ‘Jaws’ music then started to sound. With Baldassarri and Oliveira chopping and changing, Bagnaia and Mir smelt blood and the battle for the win soon became a four-way fight with three laps to go.
Going into a fantastic final lap, Baldassarri had a slight buffer. However, the 21-year-old then had a huge moment on the exit of Turn 5 pushing for an illustrious second home win, which allowed Oliveira to close in and pass the Italian into Turn 6. Bagnaia was third before running slightly wide at Savelli, allowing Mir to move into the final podium position. Despite Baldassarri’s best efforts, the KTM rider held firm and took the checkered flag, with rookie Mir fending off Championship leader Bagnaia.
Marquez couldn’t keep tabs with the leading quartet, the Spaniard finishing P5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a great ride, finishing sixth after starting from 19th on the grid, 2.448 back from Marquez. Luca Marini (SKY Racing Team VR46) had a strong ride at his home Grand Prix, finishing P7, with fellow Italian Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) getting his best result of the season in eighth.
Starting from P12, Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) grabbed at top ten place in ninth, as Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) recorded his best finish of the year on his 250th Grand Prix start. Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing) was P11 as he continues his good form. with Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) scoring a solid P12 on his injury return and Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) picking up a solid 13th.
It was a great afternoon for the NTS RW Racing GP team at Mugello. Joe Roberts crossed the line P14 to take his first points of the season, with teammate Steven Odendaal just 0.019 behind him to take the final point scoring position for the new chassis manufacturer.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors), Danny Kent (MB Conveyors – Speed Up Racing), Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jules Danilo (Nashi Argan SAG Team) crashed – riders ok. It was hard luck for Fenati at his home Grand Prix, he retired from the race after battling with the top six. Hector Barbera (Pons HP40) then made contact with Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) at Turn 3, with both riders crashing out.
Moto2 Race Results
- Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM 39’42.018
- Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA) KALEX +0.184
- Joan Mir (SPA) KALEX +0.334
2018 Moto2 Standings following Mugello
- Francesco BAGNAIA – Kalex, ITA – 111
- Miguel OLIVEIRA – KTM, POR – 98
- Lorenzo BALDASSARRI – Kalex, ITA – 84
- Alex MARQUEZ – Kalex, SPA – 78
- Joan MIR – Kalex, SPA – 64
…16. Remy Gardner – Tech 3, AUS – 14
Moto3: Martin beats Bezzecchi and ‘Diggia’ in Italy
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) has taken a stunning win at the Autodromo del Mugello to claw back some momentum in the title fight after two consecutive DNFs, taking the flag by thousandths ahead of home heroes Marco Bezzecchi (Redox Prüstel GP) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) in a classic three-way photo finish.
The fifth closest podium of all time in the class didn’t disappoint, and it leaves Bezzecchi just three points ahead of Martin at the top of the Championship, with ‘Diggia’ only five points further in arrears. It also means KTM are just a single point ahead of Honda in the constructors Championship as Moto3 stays as close as ever.
Under sunny Tuscan skies, Martin took the holeshot with a dream start from pole, putting some daylight between him and the chasing pack even into San Donato for the first time. But it was an equally ideal start for Championship leader Bezzecchi, who pounced from the second row to slot into second. Martin immediately got his head down and was already trying to pull away, but Bezzecchi and Di Giannantonio, who also had a great start. were able to hunt him down – thus beginning a stunning three-way fight for the win that would go down to the wire.
Bezzecchi would blast through on the straight, and then the two Del Conca Gresini Moto3 machines would be able to pull away in the first two sectors – with a concertina of tantalising stakes seeing the three bikes stuck back together by the time they tucked in over the main straight. The number 12 of Bezzecchi looked to have been just starting to lose out to the Honda duo ahead over the last few laps, however, before the KTM’s legs on the straight propelled him back into touch. Much closer as the last lap dawned, the Italian then blasted past into San Donato but headed wide – with Martin leading ‘Diggia’ back past and the trio remaining in that order down to that all-important final corner.
After testing out the slipstream throughout the race, the three entered Bucine in line with Martin aiming to get the best exit and stay ahead, Di Giannantonio hoping to slipstream his teammate before the line and Bezzecchi back in touch to try and attack both. And Martin was the man whose plan worked to perfection and the three thundered towards the flag – ahead by just 0.019 to head the three-way photo finish. Bezzecchi just pipped ‘Diggia’ for second, with just 0.024 splitting the two Italians in the fifth closest podium finish in the history of the lightweight class.
It was a huge group battle for fourth that Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) emerged in the lead of for some time, before it began to split into smaller groups and Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team) and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) caught the Leopard machine. Battling throughout the latter stages, it was Rodrigo who took P4 over the line – a tenth ahead of Migno, with 0.082 back to Bastianini and just 0.029 to Arbolino in P7.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) crossed the line in eighth at the head of an Italian trio, with Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and impressive wildcard Manuel Pagliani (Leopard Junior Team) completing the top ten. Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) had an expensive day in the title fight in P11, ahead of John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) and a much improved finish for Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in 13th. Le Mans winner Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) took P14, with the points completed by Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai).
Moto3 Race Results
- Jorge Martin (SPA) Honda 39’20.810
- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM +0.019
- Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) Honda +0.043
2018 Moto3 Standings following Mugello
- Marco BEZZECCHI – KTM, ITA – 83
- Jorge MARTIN – Honda, SPA – 80
- Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO – Honda, ITA – 75
- Aron CANET – Honda, SPA – 61
- Andrea MIGNO – KTM, ITA – 56