2017-06-06 03:13:37+0000 - Toscana, Italy

MotoGP Round 6 Recap: An All-Italian Victory

The Italian Grand Prix at the Mugello Circuit; An Italian, on an Italian bike winning the Italian GP, it was a great day to be an Italian

Before the race had even started there were problems for some of the premier classes' top riders; Rossi suffered an injury while doing some dirt riding, Dovizioso was sick the night before and morning of the race and Viñales suffered a violent 120mph+ crash earlier in the weekend. Nonetheless these top riders managed to put aside their ailments and take care of business when the lights went out this weekend at Mugello.

The race:

At the start of the race Rossi managed to get a surprisingly good start considering his front wheel was well off the ground but he nonetheless clinched the holeshot directly in front of his teammate Maverick Vinales. Behind the Yamaha’s was Jorge Lorenzo on the factory Ducati who experienced his worst qualifying at this venue since his rookie year started the race from the third row but was able to get into third place early into the first lap. Tailing the #99 rider was his teammate Andrea Dovizioso and then the pair of Repsol Honda’s with Marquez in fifth.

At the end of lap-one the riders exited the final corner onto the entire main straight for the first time giving the Ducatis a chance to demonstrate their power over the competition. Lorenzo attempted to take advantage of this earlier on and slipped past Vinales and then Rossi in the braking zone but was unable to make the pass stick on Vinales. On the next turn Lorenzo who appeared to be on a mission overtook Rossi, much to the dismay of the sea of yellow that was the 90-thousand person audience at the Doctor’s home circuit. The italian would do what he’s known for and strike-back as soon as possible, reclaiming the lead from his former Movistar Yamaha-teammate.

Half a lap later and Lorenzo would yet again pass Rossi but a few turns later and both Yamaha’s would make their way past the Ducati. Meanwhile, not only had Marquez and Pedrosa fallen back into sixth and seventh place, but Danielo Petrucci found himself in fifth place behind Dovi. Bautista who hadn’t been towards the front of the pack all season also managed to hop up to fifth place aboard his satellite Ducati.

At the start of the next lap the braking zone became a jumble of riders trying overtake each other with Vinales passing Rossi, Lorenzo getting on the tail of Rossi but not ahead of him, Dovizioso then jumped into third as Rossi retook the lead. It was an eventful turn to say the least. Later on in the same lap Vinales would make a move on his teammate that would only result in a successful pass because the following corner was an S-turn, putting the #25 rider exactly where he wanted to be in order to box out the nine-time world champion.

Petrucci would continue to impress by overtaking Lorenzo putting him in fourth which is the best position Petrucci has had all season. As one factory Ducati lost a position, the other piloted by Dovi did the opposite, snatching second place from Rossi. Lorenzo’s race wouldn’t get any better on the following lap when he would run wide in a corner allowing Marquez to breeze past him. Dovi repeatedly tried to setup an attack on Vinales but no sooner would he get on Maverick’s rear-wheel than Maverick would put the hammer down and break free from the Ducati.

Zarco who had been mid-pack up until this point would make Lorenzo’s day go from bad to worse with an aggressive pass on the Spaniard that would land the French rookie in seventh-place, but Lorenzo would soon reclaim his position from the Tech-3 Yamaha rider. At this point the race was halfway complete and the rider’s positions were as follow: Vinales in first, followed by Dovi then Rossi, Petrucci, Bautista, Marquez, Zarco, Lorenzo, Iannone, Pedrosa, Pirro, Rabat, Redding, Crutchlow, Barera, Miller, Folger, Espargaro, Abraham, Baz and finally Sam Lowes in last making up the 21-rider field.

At the start of the tenth lap Dovizioso would finally line up on Vinales for an attack, taking a late apex and going around the outside of the #25 Yamaha, taking the lead for the first time of the day. It might not have been Rossi in the lead but as you’d expect the fans at Mugello were happy to see an Italian rider on an Italian bike leading the Italian Grand Prix. As Dovi began to put some distance between himself and Vinales, Petrucci began setting up on the rear wheel of the Doctor. Even though it’s an older satellite Ducati, it’s a modern-era MotoGP Ducati nonetheless so Petrucci used its advantage on the straight to get right on Rossi’s shoulder, allowing him to slip past Rossi on the entry of the following corner. At the end of the lap Petrucci would use the same tactic, this time on the #25 Yamaha, passing Vinales on the final corner of the lap when Maverick ran slightly wide and flexing the satellite Ducati’s muscle on the long straight. Though Vinales stayed right on Petrucci’s tail, he was powerless to do anything more, forced to bide his time and wait for or create a future opening.

Eight-laps to go. KTM’s Pol Espargaro had to retire around this time, leaving KTM who had been using a new frame this weekend understandably disappointed. Vinales who was using the entire width of the track, going well into the paint and attempting to find his advantage in the corners, outbraking the Ducati of Petrucci. Getting a little bit too ambitious Vinales would brake far too late and run way too wide, loosing massive ground on the satellite Ducati. Two laps later VInales would make up enough ground on Petrucci to position himself for an attack. Using great drive out of the final corner and the advantage of Petrucci’s slipstream, Maverick was able to reclaim his second-place position. Only one-lap remaining…

Vinales, Petrucci and Rossi weren’t close enough to the rider ahead of them to make a last-minute overtake on the final lap. Dovizioso’s lead was big enough to comfortably be leading without having to worry about what was going on behind him. Pedrosa would lose the front end and not only crash his own bike, but also take out a livid Cal Crutchlow in the process. If there’s one thing racers absolutely hate it’s having another rider take them out on the final lap, something Pedrosa has been guilty of several times in his long career. Anyone remember the end of the 2006 season?

Dovizioso would go on to take home the win at his home GP. This was the first time a Ducati would win at Mugello since Casey Stoner in 2009, and the first Italian to win an Italian Grand Prix on an Italian motorcycle since Gianfranco Bonera in the 1970’s 500cc two-stroke era. Petrucci also had an amazing weekend, after qualifying ninth and starting the race from the back of the third row of the grid, he went on to claim his best results in several seasons. With such different results from previous races, (with the exception of the MoviStar Yamahas), who knows what will happen next round?

The final standings of the race were as follows...

  1. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 41m 32.126s
  2. Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 41m 33.407s
  3. Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP17) 41m 34.460s
  4. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 41m 35.811s
  5. Alvaro Bautista ESP Pull&Bear Aspar Team (Desmosedici GP16) 41m 37.928s
  6. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 41m 38.011s
  7. Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 41m 45.331s
  8. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 41m 46.519s
  9. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 41m 47.006s
  10. Andrea Iannone ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 41m 47.628s
  11. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 41m 54.130s
  12. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 41m 57.078s
  13. Jonas Folger GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 42m 0.286s
  14. Hector Barbera ESP Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 42m 2.802s
  15. Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 42m 2.905s
  16. Karel Abraham CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team (Desmosedici GP15) 42m 14.432s
  17. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 42m 18.420s
  18. Loris Baz FRA Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP15) 42m 22.857s
  19. Sam Lowes GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)* 42m 22.866s
  20. Bradley Smith GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16) 42m 23.023s
    Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) DNF
    Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) DNF
    Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF
    Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16) DNF
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