Mugello MotoGP magic as Lorenzo leads Ducati 1-2
Mugello, Italy – Jorge Lorenzo turned the MotoGP form book on its ear at Ducati’s home circuit with an emphatic six-second victory at the Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix, his first ever for the Bologna team, while team-mate Andrea Dovizioso made it a Ducati 1-2, just holding off a late charge from Valentino Rossi.
Nevertheless, The Doctor’s 16 points for third made him the first rider to score more than 5000 points in Grands Prix – a record unlikely ever to be approached, let alone surpassed.
All three South African riders upped their game for much improved results at Mugello, with Brad Binder fifth and Steven Odendaal 15th in Moto2 and Darryn Binder scoring valuable points for 13th in Moto3.
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).
Honda’s championship leader and reigning champion Marc Marquez, crashed and remounted but failed to score, finishing 16th.
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 Marquez outbraked him into San Donato a lap later to tuck in behind Lorenzo, followed by Rossi, Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso.
Then drama hit just as Marquez slid out into the gravel at Turn 10; he was able to remount, but points looked like a pipe dream. That left Rossi trailing Lorenzo as Dovizioso took third from Iannone, and sliced past Rossi soon after, leaving only his team-mate ahead of him. And then Rossi ran wide into Turn 1, letting Iannone past.
Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci on the satellite Pramac Ducati - after being forced wide by Marquez at the start - was on a charge, right on Rossi’s tail with 16 laps to go. As both Iannone’s and Rossi’s tyres began to suffer, Petrucci pounced and moved into third – but soon it was five-rider fight for the podium as top Honda privateer Cal Crutchlow joined in.
As the laps ticked down, Rossi and Iannone emerged at the head of the group fighting for third, with a fantastic battle between the two local heroes before Rossi was able to pull away and reel in Dovizioso on the final lap. But it wasn’t quite enough as Rossi came home less than a quarter of a second behind the Ducati.
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, he simply pulled away into the distance - six seconds clear over the line, collapsing on the tank to take in the emotions.
Iannone took fourth, just 0.022s ahead of Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins, with Crutchlow getting the better of Petrucci to take sixth, and Maverick Viñales on the second factory Yamaha dropping back from his front row start to take eighth – although he was right on Petrucci’s tail at the flag.
Both had Ducati privateer Alvaro Bautista Ducati in close company, with Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) completing the top 10 after a difficult weekend.
KTM factory lead rider Miguel Oliviera won a phenomenal Moto2™ race to close the championship lead to just 13 points behind Francesco Bagnaia, who finished fourth. Lorenzo Baldassarri fought ferociously for a home Grand Prix win but had to settle for second, with Joan Mir brilliantly taking his second consecutive podium in third.
Oliveira made a fantastic start, coming from 11th on the grid to make up six places going into the first corner. Early leader Marcel Schroetter crashed out at Turn 2 enabling Oliviera to move up to third by the end of the first lap, then hit the front on lap three, with Bagnaia, Mattia Pasini, Alex Marquez, Mir, Romano Fenati and Baldassarri hard on his heels.
The Jerez winner then started to carve his way forward, passing Marquez into Turn 1 and taking Mir soon after. By this point, Oliveira was keeping tabs on leader Pasini, before the latter tucked the front into Turn 1, setting up a second half battle between Oliviera and Baldassari, as they swopped places on almost every lap, with the gap to Bagnaia and Mir stretching to more than a second by lap 15.
In the final stages, however, Bagnaia and Mir closed in the and the battle for the win became a four-way fight with three laps to go.
Baldassari held a slight lead going into the final lap, but had a huge moment on the exit of Turn 5, allowing Oliveira to close in and pass him into Turn 6. Bagnaia was third before running slightly wide at Savelli, whereupon Mir dived past to grab the final podium position.
Despite Baldassarri’s best efforts, Oliviera held firm and took the chequered flag, with rookie Mir fending off championship leader Bagnaia - who still finished within half a second of the winner.
Marquez couldn’t stay with the leading four, finishing three seconds further adrift in fifth, with Binder sixth after starting from 19th on the grid. Luca Marini had a strong ride to seventh at his home Grand Prix, with fellow Italian Andrea Locatelli getting his best result of the season in eighth.
Xavi Vierge started 12th but converted that into a top 10 fin ish in ninth while 31-year-old veteran Simone Corsi recorded his best finish of the year in his 250th Grand Prix.
Jorge Martin (Honda) grabbed a stunning win to claw back some momentum in the title fight after two consecutive DNFs, taking the flag by thousandths ahead of local heroes Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) 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.
Martin took the holeshot with a dream start from pole, putting some daylight between himself and the chasing pack as the dived into San Donato for the first time. But championship leader Bezzecchi 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, setting up a three-way fight for the win that would go down to the wire.
Bezzecchi would blast through on the straight, and then the two Gresini Hondas 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.
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 put him back in touch. He then blasted past into San Donato but ran wide, with Martin leading ‘Diggia’ back past and the trio remaining in that order down to that all-important final corner.
They went into Bucine in line with Martin aiming to get the best exit and stay ahead, Di Giannantonio hoping to slipstream his team-mate before the line and Bezzecchi back in touch to try and attack both. Martin’s plan worked to perfection as the three sprinted towards the flag – he was ahead by just 0.019s to head the three-way photo finish. Bezzecchi just pipped ‘Diggia’ for second, with a scant 0.024s splitting the two Italians in the fifth closest podium finish in the history of the lightweight class.
Enea Bastianini (Honda) led a huge battle for fourth, until it began to split into smaller groups and Gabriel Rodrigo (KTM), Andrea Migno (KTM) and Tony Arbolino (Honda) caught up to Bastianini. Rodrigo took fourth, a tenth ahead of Migno, with 0.082s back to Bastianini and just 0.029s to Arbolino in seventh - that’s less than a quarter of a second covering all four.
Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Honda) came home eighth, ahead of local heroes Niccolo Antonelli (Honda) and impressive wildcard Manuel Pagliani (Honda).