Dovizioso's victory was the first for Ducati at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009. Picture:

Mugello, Italy – Andrea Doviziosio set the crowd alight with a superb Italian MotoGP win at both his and his Ducati Team’s home circuit, catapulting himself from sixth to second in the world standings.

Both Binders, meanwhile, covered themselves in glory, with big brother Brad finishing an impressive 10th on Moto in his comeback ride from arm surgery and Darryn equalling his career best result with a fighting fourth in a Moto3 stunner.


Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian GP – the red, white and green flew high over the podium at Mugello, as Dovizioso took a magnificent win, battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line more than a second clear of Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and an impressive home podium for Danilo Petrucci on a satellite Ducati.

Local hero Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) shot off the line for the lead from second on the grid, denying team-mate and polesitter Vinales as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) stormed up from seventh to fight off Dovizioso for third.

At the end of lap one Lorenzo used the incredible speed of the Ducati to take the lead for the first time on a Desmosedici, dicing with former team-mate and arch rival Rossi. Then it was ‘DesmoDovi’ on the move after Vinales had passed Rossi, as the trio began to break away from Lorenzo – with Petrucci on the charge.

Andrea Iannone (Suzuki) had an incredible start from 16th on the grid after having suffered with illness throughout the weekend, moving up into seventh, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) was handed a ride through penalty for a jump start.

Petrucci soon caught the leading group, just as Dovizioso took over at the front, and then pounced on Vinales after a small mistake, to follow Dovizioso.

The factory Ducati in the lead opened a small gap – and every member of the Borgo Panigale team held their breath as championship leader Vinales took over in second, with only a few laps remaining. The pendulum swung between the two men until the final lap – as ‘Desmo Dovi’ kept it inch-perfect around every corner to take a career third Grand Prix win, and the first for Ducati at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009.

Vinales finished second to stretch his championship lead to 26 points (105 to Dovizioso’s 79) 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 caught and passed reigning champion Marc Marquez (Honda) for fifth, with Johann Zarco (Yamaha Tech 3), Lorenzo (who’d suffered grip issues later in the race), Ducati test rider Michele Pirro and Iannone completing the top 10.

A tough day for Dani Pedrosa on the second works Honda concluded in a crash as he slid out on the final lap, unfortunately skittling Honda privateer Cal Crutchlow in thec process.



Brad Binder put in a stunning comeback ride from his arm injury. Picture:


Mattia Pasini took his first win in the world championship since 2009, coming out on top after a fight to the flag with Tom Luthi and Alex Marquez, as the three crossed the line covered by little more than 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 grabbed the lead to lead at the end of lap one from polesitter Franco Morbidelli and Marquez.

Drama struck on the first lap just behind the front three, as Lorenzo Baldassarri highsided in Turn 15 – collecting title hopeful Takaaaki Nakagami as the two tumbled out into the gravel, but both riders escaped the incident unharmed.

Back at the front, Marquez passed Morbidelli for second to settle into the rhythm behind Pasini, as Luthi pushed to catch the leading trio.

Marquez then took the lead, Pasini hit back, as the front four pulled more the two and a half seconds clear of chasing Miguel Oliveira on the first of the KTMs.

Morbidelli then began to drop back, trailing the top three by more than a second. Then the race burst back into life as Pasini, Marquez and Luthi took the gloves off and a three-way fight for the win lit up Mugello. Luthi grabbed the lead in spectacular style at the start of the final lap but Pasini dug in on home turf. Having been pushed back to third, he pulled a classic move on Marquez through Casanovi and Savelli, before blitzing Luthi immediately afterwards.

Pasini kept himself clear in the lead and pushed hard through the final corners to hold it over the line as the two riders behind tried to slipstream; he took his first win in the Moto2 class and his first since the 250 race at Mugello in 2009 by just 0.052s from Luthi, with Marquez another 0.084s further back after an incredible showdown.

Morbidelli came home 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 just pipped Dominique Aegerter (Suter) over the line to sixth, with Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up) eighth on home soil.

Jorge Navarro crowned an impressive weekend as top rookie in ninth, after key rookie rival Francesco Bagnaia crashed out late in the race, while reigning Moto3 world champion Brad Binder (KTM) put in a stunning comeback ride from his arm injury, finishing 10th in his first ride since Argentina.



Andrea Migno (KTM) took his maiden Grand Prix win on home turf, staying just ahead of compatriot Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) as the two broke free from the pack on the final lap. Juanfran Guevara (KTM) took his first podium in third, breaking free of the mayhem out of the final corner.

Di Giannantonio got the best start, taking the lead into Turn 1 as team-mate Jorge Martin also got a spectacular first few corners from 13th on the grid to move up into the top six. Romano Fenati (Honda) was another good starter, as Nicolo Bulega (KTM) dropped back outside the top 10.

The front group saw Fenati leading Di Giannantonio, Martin, Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda), John McPhee (Honda) and Marcos Ramirez (KTM), as Ramirez’ team-mate Darryn Binder looked to tag onto the back.

With more than 20 riders in the ‘lead group’ – a spectacular sight down the straight – positions switched and changed at the sharp end as advantages were gained and lost in the slipstream, and riders went eight or nine abreast into Turn 1.

The timesheets seemed to flip every time over the line, but at the start of the final lap Migno and Di Giannantonio managed to pull a tiny gap over the mayhem behind them, with the VR46 academy rider holding on to take his first ever Grand Prix win by just 0.037s. Di Giannantonio – who had also been trying for his first win – took another podium as he gained traction in 2017, and showed great sportsmanship as he congratulated Migno a split second after the pair crossed the line.

Guevara’s first podium came ahead of an equal best-ever result for Darryn Binder (KTM) in fourth, with Honda riders Aron Canet, John McPhee, championship leader Joan Mir and top rookie Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) filling the places down to eighth, and Marcos Ramirez and Nicolo Bulega, each on a KTM, completing the top 10, just 1.125s behind the leader, with the top 16 within two seconds of the leader!


IOL Motoring

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