Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes re-took the lead in the Moto2™ World Championship after a dramatic ten lap shoot-out in the TIM Grand Prix of Italy at the magnificent Mugello circuit this afternoon. The first race was stopped with Lowes leading when a crashed bike punctured part of the air fence surrounding the 3.259 miles circuit. Misunderstanding about the re-start resulted in a ten lap race in which Lowes finally finished in third place to open a precious two point lead in the championship over Alex Rins who had to start from the back of the grid. Danny Kent picked up two points in 14th. It was another tough Moto3™ race for 21 year old Scotsman John McPhee who finished out of the points in 23rd place.
Bradley Smith produced his best MotoGP™ result of the season finishing seventh in a dramatic race on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. He was the top Independent rider, with Cal Crutchlow 11th and Eugene Laverty 13th. Scott Redding made a great start but retired with mechanical problems on the Octo Pramac Ducati.
Lorenzo wins last-lap thriller as Rossi retires
For the first time since 2008, Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) lined up for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM on pole. The last time he started from pole in Mugello he won. Over 100,000 people lined the hillside stands of Mugello to see if ‘The Doctor’ could win once more. But it wasn’t going to be easy with Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) right alongside him on the front row.
As the lights went out, Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made an incredible start to lead into Turn 1 from fifth on the grid. It was a disastrous start for Viñales who dropped down to 11th.
Every lap Rossi attempted to pass Lorenzo into Turn 1, but Lorenzo remained in charge thanks to his incredible performance under braking. Their battle had allowed Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to close down the Yamaha pair, the trio separated by under half a second.
Further down the field Iannone and Viñales recovered from their poor starts as they blasted past Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich) down the end of the straight to move into seventh and eighth.
On lap eight Mugello fell silent as Rossi encountered a technical problem, his race over. His head hung low as he pulled off to the side of the track and returned to the pits on a scooter.
Marquez was right behind Lorenzo as they crossed mid-race distance. Iannone’s comeback from a poor start continued, finding himself behind his teammate and battling for third. Iannone would eventually gain the upper hand, all the while Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) closed in.
On lap 20 Marquez launched his first attack but ran wide, Lorenzo hanging onto the lead. The attacks didn’t stop and Marquez passed Lorenzo at the start of the final lap but Lorenzo responded again. Marquez looked to have the race won as they exited the final corner but his front wheel lifted ever so slightly, Lorenzo able to grab an incredible photo finish victory. 0.019s is all that separated them across the line, the closest finish of the year
Pedrosa and Iannone’s battle also went down to the final lap with Iannone able to win out by 0.168s and return to the podium once again. Seventh place saw Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) finish as the top Independent Team rider.
Lorenzo leaves Mugello with a ten point lead over Marc Marquez in the World Championship standings, Rossi holding onto third overall but 37 points behind his teammate.
During the race Andrea Iannone hit 354.9km/h, setting a new top speed record in the MotoGP™ World Championship.
Zarco victorious in eventful ten lap Moto2™ dash
Ideal conditions continued in Mugello for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Moto2™ race. The ground temperature hit 42°C a Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) rolled into pole position on the grid.
Tom Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) leading into the first corner but coming into contact and dropping back. By the exit of Savelli, Lowes was back in the lead with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) trying to fend of Baldassarri. Meanwhile Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) made his way into the top five from ninth on the grid
Xavier Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) crashed at Turn 13, his bike hitting the air fence and brought out the red flag due to safety conditions. All air fences must be inflated for racing to run, safety paramount in the World Championship.
The race was eventually restarted and set to be 10 laps, the grid decided based on the position of riders on the third lap. Lowes lined up on pole ahead of Luthi and Nakagami after the quick restart procedure. But Nakagami, Julian Simon (QMMF Racing Team), Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team), Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing), Ratthapark Wilairot (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Edgar Pons (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), Federico Fuligni (Team Ciatti) and championship leader Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) were all sent to the back of the grid for delaying the race restart.
Tom Luthi was fastest off the line in the restart, Lowes getting shuffled down the order as Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) shot into third. Baldassarri was again a man on a mission as the Italian moved into the lead. Lowes remained at the back of the leading five riders, Zarco just ahead of him.
The shortened race produced thrilling action, Baldassarri, Zarco and Luthi battling freely at the front. Behind Rins made great progress through the field and was soon inside the points after his back of the grid start.
Zarco and Baldassarri gave each other no quarter, and it was between the pair as the final lap began, Baldassarri attacking into San Donato but Zarco responded. The Frenchman pushed to the limit to hold onto the lead, clinching victory by 0.030s from Baldassarri. Victory moves Zarco to third in the standings, reigniting his title defense.
The last lap also saw a great recovery from Sam Lowes, the Brit charging through on Luthi to take third place.
Hafizh Syahrin took a stellar fifth place finish ahead of Axel Pons who took his third top ten of the year. Alex Rins made a commendable comeback to eventually finish in sixth and limit the damage to his championship, slipping just two points behind Lowes. There are just 17 points between Lowes in first and Luthi in fourth, it’s still anyone’s championship in the middleweight class.
Binder makes it three in a row as title gains momentum
Sunday at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM began with the Moto3™ World Championship race. Italians featured heavily in the top ten places on the grid, Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) beginning his home race from pole position.
Fenati shot off the line and held his advantage into Turn 1, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) moving up to third with Andrea Migno (SKY Racing Team VR46) splitting the two front-runners. Each lap saw more and more riders join the battle for the lead, the slipstream closing the pack up with each run down the 1.141km long straight.
Replacement rider Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Schedl GP Racing) had an incredible start to the race, finding himself inside the top ten and able to battle with the World Championship regulars. Rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) was also battling for the lead in front of his home crowd.
Disaster struck on lap ten for Roman Fenati as his bike expired.. Fenati’s heartbreak presented a big opportunity for the likes of Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) who made his way up into the frontrunners having started 18th, the Frenchman able to lead at several points.
The championship hopefuls continued to encounter difficulties, Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) crashing on lap 12 after contact with another rider.
Binder made his move on the final lap and opened up a quarter of second gap, just enough to break the slipstream. For the third straight race the South African takes to the top step of the podium, extending his championship lead once again. 49 points, almost two race victories, separate Binder in first from Navarro in second in the standings.
Di Giannantonio scored his first points of the year with a brilliant second place at home, Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) making it two Italians on the podium with third.
Try as they might, Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) and Fabio Quartararo (Leopard Racing) were unable to pass in the slipstream, settling for fourth and fifth respectively.