MotoGP: Marquez misery and Lorenzo joy in Mugello


Ducati may have stolen the headlines in the MotoGP visit to Mugello but it was again Lorenzo that dominated in race, staking his claim for the title…


Jorge Lorenzo unstoppable in Mugello

Jorge Lorenzo was simply untouchable at the ItalianGP, taking his 36th MotoGP™ victory and reducing Rossi’s championship lead to 6 points.

The picturesque setting of the Tuscan hills played host to a spectacular MotoGP™ race at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM. With the sun shining and track temperatures at the Autodromo del Mugello hitting 50 degrees, the Italian fans were treated to a dominant performance from Jorge Lorenzo as he stormed away to the win the race by over 5.5s.

As Lorenzo disappeared off into the distance, the real battle would be for second place. This fight was originally between the two Factory Ducati’s of Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone, and the Repsol Honda’s of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, although Valentino Rossi would join in the fun before the end of the race.

Marquez had enjoyed an amazing start, moving up from 13th on the grid into sixth at the very first corner. In contrast, Valentino Rossi suffered a disastrous opening lap that would see him down drop down to tenth, before mounting an incredible charge through the field to join the podium fight with eight laps to go.

There was even more drama to come though, as Dovizioso was forced to retire due to rear end chatter issues and then Marc Marquez, who was once more involved in an excellent scrap with Iannone for second, crashed out of the race leaving Iannone to claim second ahead of the inspired Rossi in third.

It was Lorenzo’s third victory in a row and he has now closed the gap to Rossi at the top of the World Championship standings to six points. After a start to the season plagued with troubles, the Spaniard has responded brilliantly to answer any critics.

Iannone claimed his second podium of the season as he rode through the pain after fracturing his humerus at a testing crash in Mugello before the French GP. The Italian delighted his home fans by putting the GP15 on the podium after getting the better of Marquez and holding off Rossi, and has not finished outside the top six this season.

Rossi showed all of his class to work his way back from tenth on the first lap to claim third, and remain the leader in the championship standings. The Italian once again saved his best for the race after having to start from eighth on the grid, and has a six-point lead over Lorenzo in the World Championship standings having not finished off the podium yet in 2015.

Dani Pedrosa rode a solid race to claim fourth, just over three seconds behind Rossi, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith the leading Satellite rider in fifth, benefitting from Cal Crutchlow’s crash with just three laps remaining. Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro was next across the line in sixth, while Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), wild card Michele Pirro (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten.

Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding again struggled, finishing down in eleventh. Loris Baz took his first Open class victory for his Athina Forward Racing team, as he crossed the line in 12th ahead of Hector Barbera, Alvaro Bautista and Eugene Laverty, who claimed the last championship point on offer.

There were DNF’s for Stefan Bradl, Nicky Hayden, Aleix Espargaro, Jack Miller and Alex De Angelis, while Karel Abraham was guilty of a jump-start off the line and had to serve a ride through penalty before finishing in 17th.


Rabat marks 150th Grand Prix start with victory

The Gran Premio d’Italia TIM saw Tito Rabat took his first victory of the 2015 season despite a late charge from Zarco.

Round six of the Moto2™ World Championship began as a very Swiss affair, as Thomas Luthi and Dominique Aegerter both started strongly as soon as the lights went out. Luthi’s lead would not last long as the Le Mans winner suffered a crash as he pushed to increase the gap over Aegerter. Luthi was unhurt, saying after the race that scoring zero points hurt more than the crash itself.

Mugello has seen Dominique Aegerter return to his 2014 form as he and the team begin to fully understand the Kalex after racing the Suter for multiple seasons. Aegerter’s riding style of high corner entry speed and low mid corner speed makes him very difficult to pass, but Rabat did eventually manage it. From here the 2014 Moto2™ champion attempted to push and expand his lead as best he could.

The excitement continued to the last lap as Johann Zarco, who qualified in sixth, made a late charge. Rabat had been able to maintain the gap between he and the Frenchman at over half a second in the latter stages of the race as Aegerter’s challenge faded. However, the ever-determined Zarco set a 1’52.685 on the final lap, Zarco’s personal best time of the race. A gap of just 0.308s split the Kalex pair as they finally crossed the line.

Rabat’s victory is his first since Misano last season as he has struggled with front-end feel. The Spaniard moves to second in the championship with 78 points but is still 31 points behind Zarco, more than a race win worth of points. Third was a welcome return to the podium for Aegerter, who surprised even himself.

Sam Lowes had displayed solid pace earlier in the weekend but was forced wide after contacting Simone Corsi at Turn one and had to settle for fourth. Corsi fell as a result, but was uninjured. Jonas Folger also fell while in podium contention, since claiming his second victory of the season in Jerez Folger has failed to score points.

Teammates Mika Kallio and Franco Morbidelli also fell after making contact with another rider, a disappointing weekend that ended Morbidelli’s run of top six finishes.

After two crashes in Jerez and Le Mans, Alex Rins was only able to manage 11th at Mugello having struggled all weekend.


Oliveira makes history as first Portuguese GP winner

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira claimed a career first Moto3™ victory, and becomes the first Portuguese winner in Grand Prix history.

It was a frantic 16 rider battle for the majority of the Moto3™ race, with riders frequently heading into Turn 1 four or more abreast. The slipstream saw them able to jump from ninth to first down the straight, and kept a multitude of riders in the leading pack. Both Romano Fenati and Danny Kent led the race on multiple occasions, despite being outside the top ten just a lap before.

One would not have expected victory from Oliveira at the start of the race as he found himself in 13th on the opening laps. However, the slipstream and fierce fighting at the front allowed him to close the gap. Oliveira led for the majority of the final laps and even into the last corner, a risky move at Mugello where the slipstream can be so beneficial. Despite this, he claimed victory by 0.071s and is the first Portuguese rider to win at any level in GP racing.

Throughout the race, Danny Kent bounced around in the leading group, dropping outside the top ten on multiple occasions. Kent demonstrated his maturity as he rode a careful race to avoid the risk of contact with any over eager riders and put in a strong closing lap to secure the podium. This is Kent’s fifth podium of the year and extends his championship lead to 46 points over Bastianini, who was fifth.

Completing the podium was Romano Fenati, resplendent in the colours of the Italian flag in a special livery for his KTM machine. The home rider led at the early stages but echoed Kent as he too dropped down the order before bouncing back, which unfortunately caused increased wear in his Dunlop tyres. Just 0.003s split Fenati in third from former teammate Francesco Bagnaia in fourth in what was a classic Mugello slipstream finish.

Hiroki Ono had started in second and led into Turn 1 on the opening lap, but unfortunately, the Japanese rider did not have the pace to stay with the leaders over the course of the race. He would eventually finish in 11th, equalling his best finish of the 2015 season.

Mugello was another disappointing round for Fabio Quartararo, the rookie falling while in the leading pack. He now drops to seventh in the championship. There were also falls from Vazquez and Hanika on the last lap, the duo both OK. Juanfran Guevara aggravated his collarbone injury sustained in Jerez, as he too fell from the race

All materials courtesy of PR