Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo (above) struck again at the MotoGP Mugello International Circuit in Italy to claim his third successive victory leading home championship leader Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Britain’s Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha Tech3).
Pedrosa started from pole position and led off the line, but was pushed into second by Lorenzo with an aggressive move at the first corner. Lorenzo later apologised to his fellow Spaniard and title rival. The reigning World Champion kept Pedrosa and Marc Marquez close behind until the halfway point, then put the hammer down, delivering a series of untouchable laps to build a gap that had grown to nearly five and a half seconds as he crossed the finish line.
“The conditions and the circumstances were good for us and I didn’t make a mistake, I made my best performance even if the conditions were much hotter than this morning. We are still struggling so much when the conditions get hotter. Anyway the key of the race was in the middle where I improved my riding, I was able to brake later with less fuel in the tank so I was able to improve the lap time by two tenths, from this moment Dani gave up a little pace and I could get away and win the race, more or less like last year. It’s very special; I won the last three years here so this track is magic for me and very positive for Yamaha. It also reminds us to keep working on the bike as at the tracks which are not so flowing like Mugello we will struggle.”
After Pedrosa was forced to ease his pace Marquez moved through to second, intent on preserving his perfect rostrum record in his rookie season. He had pulled clear when two laps later he slipped off at the Savelli left-hander, sliding to a safe but frustrated stop. It was the 20-year-old sensation’s first non-finish of the year. This ended his chances of achieving five podium finishes in the first five races of a rookie’s MotoGP career, also meaning he is the rider to have crashed most so far this year – with seven falls to his name.
“I didn’t feel fully comfortable in the race today, but I’m happy because I was able to gain a large number of points. In general, this was a difficult weekend. The back tyre was giving me a lot of problems with grip but taking 20 points from this race and maintaining the lead in the World Championship is something positive.”
Marquez’s demise allowed Pedrosa to retake second place as Cal Crutchlow made the podium for the second time in two weeks, becoming the first British rider since 1987 to take back-to-back podium finishes.
“Today we had our first DNF of the season, but after three difficult days of setbacks and hard work, I finally felt good during the race. I don’t fully understand why I crashed, as I lost both the front and the back at the same time and was unable to save it. It’s clear that we made a mistake, but we can’t go looking for excuses. We’ve looked at the telemetry and it shows that I was going at the same speed and on the same line as before but, anyway, you learn from these mistakes. We can’t forget that this is my first year in the class and I am here to learn how things are in MotoGP. In spite of everything we were still fighting for second place, which is a reason to be happy. I want to apologise to Honda and to the team, as they always support me and work so hard. Now we are turning our focus to Montmelo, and I can’t wait to race there.”
Stefan Bradl delivered a mature ride to fourth place to equal his career-best result for LCR Honda MotoGP, which had coincidently been achieved at the same race last year. Ducati Team filled positions five to seven, with Andrea Dovizioso eventually winning a battle with team-mate Nicky Hayden, while Michele Pirro raced the GP13 Lap bike for a second time.
Aleix Espargaro carried his Power Electronics Aspar CRT bike to its best result yet in eighth spot, with Tech 3’s Bradley Smith achieving ninth despite being in immense pain with an injured wrist and finger. Hector Barbera completed the top ten for Avintia Blusens.
The biggest drama of the day for the Italian crowd was Valentino Rossi’s retirement only three corners into the race; the seven-time Mugello winner was involved in a collision with GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, with both men heading into the barriers at Poggio Secco. After the event, Race Direction declared the coming together a ‘racing incident’.
“Unfortunately in the start I had a problem with the clutch spinning and I lost two or three positions. Then I was attacking because we had a good pace and I was fast. On the second corner I was on the outside already in front of Bautista. For me, from the inside he opened the throttle to close the line so he doesn’t lose another position but I was already in front so he came to me and took me on the boot. I was lucky because it was a bad crash and I arrived at the wall but I’m ok.”
“There is not much I can say really. Unfortunately in turn three I made contact with Valentino and we both crashed out of a race that was very important for both of us. Valentino and I have watched the incident back together in race direction and it was just a racing incident that leaves us both with a bitter taste in the mouth but neither of us is to blame.”
Grand Prix rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) finished 18th, thwarted in his attempt to put his Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike in the points for the first time. A crash yesterday had robbed his weekend of momentum, but another finish marked continuing progress as he gets to grips with the top class in motorcycle racing.
The action continues with the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from Barcelona in two weeks’ time.
1. Jorge Lorenzo 41’39.733 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2. Dani Pedrosa +5.400 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3. Cal Crutchlow +6.412 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4. Stefan Bradl +19.321 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
5. Andrea Dovizioso +19.540 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
6. Nicky Hayden +26.321 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
7. Michele Pirro +38.144 ITA DUCATI Ducati Test Team
8. Aleix Espargaro +39.802 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
9. Bradley Smith +40.243 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
10. Hector Barbera +48.392 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
11. Randy De Puniet +48.480 FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
12. Danilo Petrucci +1’13.708 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
13. Andrea Iannone +1’14.601 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14. Colin Edwards +1’21.249 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
15. Karel Abraham +1’25.738 CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
16. Yonny Hernandez +1’27.339 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
17. Michael Laverty +1’27.758 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
18. Bryan Staring +1’44.424 AUS FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
19. Lukas Pesek +1’45.227 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
20. Marc Marquez DNF SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
21. Claudio Corti DNF ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
22. Hiroshi Aoyama DNF JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
23. Valentino Rossi DNF ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
24. Alvaro Bautista DNF SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
25. Ben Spies DNS USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
1. Dani Pedrosa SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team, 103
2. Jorge Lorenzo SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing, 91
3. Marc Marquez SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team , 77
4. Cal Crutchlow GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 71
5. Andrea Dovizioso ITA DUCATI Ducati Team, 50
6. Valentino Rossi ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing, 47
7. Nicky Hayden USA DUCATI Ducati Team, 45
8. Alvaro Bautista SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini, 38
9. Stefan Bradl GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP, 30
10. Aleix Espargaro SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar, 28
11. Bradley Smith GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 24
12. Michele Pirro ITA DUCATI Ducati Test Team, 22