Misano Adriatico, Italy – Ducati privateer Danilo Petrucci very nearly pulled off the upset win of a lifetime in streaming wet conditions at his home circuit, before Honda’s reigning world champion Marc Marquez, who’d been almost within touching distance since lap six, blasted past on the final lap to win by a little more than second.
That moved Marquez up to a tie at the top of the championship standings with Andrea Dovizioso, each on 199 points, after the Ducati Team leader completed the podium in third - although Marquez was technically ahead with more second places.
South Africa’s reigning Moto3 world champion Brad Binder posted his best result yet in Moto2, coming home fifth on the only KTM to finish a race of attrition in streaming wet conditions.
Marquez took his fourth win of the year in a high stakes duel, with the conditions torrential and the top three in the title fight lining up for the challenge on the front row.
But as the spray cleared, it was Jorge Lorenzo on the second Ducati Team machine who got away best from the second row of the grid, taking the lead through the first two corners after bumping elbows with Marquez and than shooting away into the distance. Marquez slotted into second and Dovizioso in third, as Petrucci sliced round the outside of Maverick Viñales on the sole factory Yamaha MotoGP at the start of lap two to begin his charge, passing Dovizioso on lap six to take second.
A lap later Lorenzo, well clear in the lead, suddenly highsided out at Turn 6, handing Petrucci the lead and setting up a long game of high-speed chess with Marquez and Dovizioso, and nothing between them.
As the laps ticked down, however, Dovizioso began to fade and the battle for the lead became a duel. Marquez chose his moment well to pounce, diving through in Turn 1 at the start of the final lap, and posting the fasest lap of the race and opening a small but vital lead to take the win and the championship lead.
Petrucci took his fourth premier class podium, with Dovizioso taking a safe third - his first podium finish at his home circuit – and Vñales finishing fourth to keep himself very much in the title fight.
Michele Pirro again impressed as a wild card for the Ducati Team, making steady progress in to fifth, while Honda privateer Jack Miller put in a signature stunner in the wet from way down on the grid, at one point challenging Vinales for fourth before eventually finishing sixth.
Seventh was Petrucci’s team-mate Scott Redding, ahead of a quality ride from rookie Alex Rins on the second Suzuki after team leader Andrea Iannone crashed out of 13th on lap 14.
Yamaha Tech 3’s Jonas Folger shot through the field from 16th on the grid to take ninth, with an impressive double act behind him for KTM Factory Racing, as Bradley Smith took his first top 10 for the Austrian factory and team-mate Pol Espargaro followed him home in 11th.
Dominique Aegerter mastered the soaking conditions at Misano to take his second ever Grand Prix victory, under pressure from title challenger and compatriot Tom Luthi throughout until he pulled away during the final laps to take the first win on a Suter since Valencia 2014.
Championship leader Franco Morbidelli crashed out of the lead early on, so Luthi’s second place brought him up to nine points off the top of the standings. Hafizh Syhrin put his wet weather pace to good use to join the first Swiss 1-2 in Grand Prix history (motorsport is still illegal in Switzerland) on a rainy rostrum.
It was Morbidelli who got the best start as pole-sitter Mattia Pasini lost out slightly off the line, and the championship leader soon began pulling away in the lead. But it wasn’t to be; he crashed out soon after, leaving Aegerter and Luthi in charge. Pasini then crashed out soon after, followed by KTM factory rider Miguel Oliveira, but the frontrunners held firm.
The two Swiss riders remained locked together for much of the race, with Aergerter ahead bar one mistake that allowed his compatriot briefly through. But once back in the lead, Aegerter was back in control and held firm under the pressure, finally pulling away to win by 1.4 seconds.
Francesco Bagnaia kept calm and carried on in torrential conditions for another incredible rookie result to take fourth, with reigning Moto3 champion Brad Binder achieving his best Moto2 result yet in fifth.
Another rookie, Fabio Quartaroro, finisghedc sixth on the road but was classified seventh behind German veteran Sandro Cortese (Suter) after a time penalty.
Speed Up’s Simone Corsi crashed out of sixth at the final corner but remounted quickly to lose only two places, finishing ahead of rookies Khairul Idham Pawi and Jesko Raffin.
Local hero Romano Fenati delivered in a master class in wet riding, taking his ninth Grand Prix win by more than 28 to claw back some points in the Championship over Joan Mir, who came home second. Front-row starter and second home track rider Fabio Di Giannantonio completed an all-Honda podium Gresini Moto3), with only 15 finishers in a race of attrition.
Pole sitter Jorge Martin, also Honda-mounted, took the early lead, but on lap three Fenati hit the front ahead of Martin and Mir – and didn’t look back. Di Giannantonio had a big moment and dropped back slightly from the podium battle, before Enea Bastianini (Honda) took a tumble – the first of two.
Martin saved a huge moment at Turn 6, soon followed by Mir, bringing the two rivals back together on track in second and third. But it didn’t stay that way for long, as Martin slid out at Turn 1, luckily without injury.
That left Mir free to chase the leader but he simply didn’t have the pace and the gap kept steadily increasing; nevertheless, the championship leader kept calm and kept it all together as the battle for the final podium place reignited behind him.
Di Giannantonio was the man in third, but Aron Canet (Honda) was lighting up the timesheets, catching the Italian and passing him. Di Giannantonio hit back but Canet wan’t about to settle for fourth and pushed on – until he crashed out of contention with three laps to go.
Philipp Oettl (KTM) came through from 11th on the grid join the battle for third but dropped back in the end finish a lonely fourth, well ahead Nicolo Bulega (KTM), who stayed out of trouble and collected 11 pointes for finishing more than a minute behind the leader.
KTM works rider Bo Bendsneyder and Peugeot’s Jakub Kornfeil finished less than a second apart in sixth and seventh, after each had crash and remounted, slicing back through the field once back on board. Albert Arenas (Mahindra) took his first top 10 result – despite missing the morning’s warm-up, which meant that the race itself was the fist time he’s ridden Misano in the wet!
Mugello winner Andrea Migno (KTM) got more points on home turf for ninth, ahead of Spanish rookie Jaume Masia, standing in for injured Platinum Bay KTM rider Darryn Binder.