first imperious win for Ducati in a 1-2 for the team sees the five-time World Champion reign in Italy, with Rossi completing the rostrum
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). The ‘Doctor’’s podium finish was another history maker in a milestone day at Mugello as the rider from Tavullia became the first to get more than 5000 premier class points, meanwhile Championship leader and reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), crashed and remounted but failed to score.
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 the reigning Champion then struck a lap later into San Donato, tucking in behind Lorenzo followed by Rossi, Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Dovizioso.
The number 99 was keeping the pace hot at the front and the first bolt of drama suddenly then hit just behind, as Marquez slid out into the gravel at Turn 10 – able to remount, but points looking like a pipe dream. That left Rossi trailing Lorenzo, as Dovi struck to take third from Iannone. The Italian then picked his way past another compatriot as he sliced past Rossi soon after, then left with only his teammate ahead of him. Rossi then went wide into Turn 1, letting Iannone past.
Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) – after getting blocked wide by Marquez at the start – was on a charge back, up to fight and on Rossi’s tail with 16 to go. As Iannone began to suffer and the ‘Doctor’ too, ‘Petrux’ pouced and move through – but it was soon a five-rider fight for the podium as Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) joined the battle.
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, the ‘Spartan’ got the hammer down and simply pulled away into the distance – six seconds clear over the line, collapsing on the tank to take in the emotions.
As the laps ticked down, Rossi and Iannone had emerged at the head of the group fighting for third, with a fantastic battle between the two home heroes before the rider from Tavullia was able to escape. He was then even able to hone in on Dovizioso on the final lap but it wasn’t quite enough, taking third to take his premier class points total over 5000 as the grandstands erupted in yellow smoke.
Iannone took fourth just 0.022 ahead of his teammate Alex Rins, with Crutchlow able to get the better of Petrucci to take P6 from the initial hard charger. Maverick Viñales dropped back from his front row start to take eighth but was on Petrucci’s tail by the flag, and both had Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) for close company as the number 19 took his second top ten of the year in P9. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completed the top ten after a more difficult weekend.
There were a number of high-profile crashers including Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), ending his run of eight consecutive top tens, and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who went down in a tangle with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at Turn 2 near the start.
Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, turned around a difficult weekend to take P11, ahead of another impressive performance from Hafizh Syahrin, who was top rookie for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 in P12. Marquez crossed the line in P16, taking no points home from Mugello.
From a difficult weekend behind enemy lines in Italy, Marquez still leads the title fight as MotoGP™ returns onto his home turf. Next is the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – where Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Rossi have some very good memories, and Dovizioso won last year.
Marquez crashes while in Italian GP podium battle, Pedrosa out on first lap
Today’s Italian GP was a tough race for the Repsol Honda Team. Marc Marquez got off well from the second row, completed the first lap in third position, and moved up to second two laps later.
Unfortunately, while chasing eventual race winner Jorge Lorenzo on lap 5, the Championship leader lost the front in turn 10, and although he almost saved it, he ultimately slid into the gravel and fell off. He bravely re-joined the race in penultimate position and finished in 16th place.
Dani Pedrosa was aiming to obtain the best result possible after starting from near the back of the grid, but he crashed on the first lap, unintentionally taking down fellow Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami.
We’ve been struggling the whole weekend to be perfectly comfortable with these particular spec tyres, but I wasn’t suffering that much in the race today. Instead, the front folded quite unexpectedly, as I wasn’t pushing that hard, and I crashed, though I almost saved it! When I re-joined the race, our pace wasn’t bad at all, despite the bike being a bit damaged, so that’s okay. Furthermore, we still have a 23-point advantage in the rankings, and this is also very positive; last year at this point we were 37 points back. Today also demonstrates what I’ve been saying for a while: things this year are pretty tight, the season is long, and anything can happen. That said, we’ll keep working as usual at Montmelò, where we’ll go back to the usual tyre spec, and we’ll try and come back strong.”
“It was a very difficult weekend, as we’ve had many problems getting a good feeling here at Mugello. Only in this morning’s warm-up were we able to find a setup that gave me better confidence. Unfortunately, I was starting very far back on the grid, and that often increases the risks. I was aiming to recover some ground at the start, and I did pass some riders but found myself parallel to Nakagami when unfortunately I slightly touched Bautista’s rear tyre and crashed, taking “Taka” out. I’m really sorry for that. It’s also a shame I didn’t have the chance to see how the setup changes worked or how many positions I would be able to recover in the race, but we’ll try to improve in the next race.”
Splendid 1-2 victory for the Ducati Team at Mugello: Jorge Lorenzo dominates the Italian GP and Andrea Dovizioso finishes second to complete a day of triumph for the Italian manufacturer
The Ducati Team pulled off a fantastic 1-2 win at the Autodromo del Mugello today, with its riders finishing first and second. Jorge Lorenzo, who got a perfect start from the front row, dominated the Italian Grand Prix from the first to the last lap, thus scoring his first win on a Ducati. Second place went to Andrea Dovizioso, who started from the third row. The Italian crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in fifth place and then got close to Lorenzo on lap 7, but he was unable to attack his team-mate and on the last lap had to defend the runner-up slot from Rossi, who was third at the chequered flag.
Thanks to this result, Dovizioso has moved up into fourth place in the standings with 66 points, while Lorenzo now lies in tenth with 41 points.
The MotoGP World Championship will be back in action again in two weeks’ time at Montmeló, on the outskirts of Barcelona, for the Catalan GP scheduled for 15th to 17th June.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1st
“I am very happy! Yesterday I said that winning at Mugello with Ducati was a dream for me and today this dream came true. It’s one of the most special wins of my entire career, probably on the same level as my first win in 125 in 2003 and in MotoGP in 2008. I’m really thrilled about it and pleased for the team, because it was fantastic to score this victory on Ducati’s home track after a very challenging weekend. This morning I realized that we could do it and, even though I was worried about the performance of the tyres, I decided to push right from the start, in my usual style, and everything went perfectly. I couldn’t ask for anything more and we will have to celebrate this win in a big way. I haven’t managed to win a race for a long time and I did it my way. I’ve been through some difficult moments but I’ve always believed I could do it, I could see that every time we were closer and closer and in the end we did it!”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd
“To tell the truth I expected more than a second place today, but in the end we found that the conditions were hotter in the race than yesterday and so we had a few doubts about the choice of front tyre. Rossi and I made a cautionary selection, opting to fit the harder tyre, but unfortunately it didn’t work well. Valentino almost crashed a couple of times in front of me and when I tried to push to catch Jorge, I wasn’t fast enough in corner entry and as a result through the corners as well. In addition I used up the rear tyre and at the end of the race I also had to manage this problem. In any case we scored a good second place and reduced the gap to Marquez in the standings. I want to congratulate Jorge, who did a superb race and was very good and precise in managing the tyres to perfection.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding)
“I’m very happy for Jorge’s victory because he is an extraordinary guy who until today had never really been able to demonstrate his great talent on a Ducati. Today we saw the real Lorenzo: the guys in the team were very good at finding an ideal combination and he knew how to interpret it for the best. Jorge ran a great race in his own style, one of those in which no one stands a chance. I’m also pleased about Andrea’s second place, because with this fantastic 1-2 win at Mugello we have scored our best-ever result on the Tuscany track. Our two factory bikes ahead of everybody is just reward for all the work of everyone in the factory and in Ducati Corse, and in general of the whole of Ducati which is making an extraordinary effort to grow even further, and I think that this great day is also payback for more difficult races like the last two GPs.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Above all, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone who works in Ducati Corse and who with their efforts have contributed to the extraordinary success of Jorge and Andrea here at Mugello. I would like to have them all here with us, to be able to give them a big hug and share this incredible result with them.”
The crowds had the Autrodromo del Mugello covered in yellow smoke even before the start of the Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley, and Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi gave them various reasons to keep celebrating all the way until the end of the day. Not only did the 39-year-old come out on top in a five-rider battle for third, he also claimed second place in the championship standings. Maverick Viñales struggled to match the pace at the start of the race but rode a strong second half to secure eighth position.
Rossi had a good start from pole and took second place after the first corners, behind Jorge Lorenzo. Shadowed by Marc Marquez, the front men tried to make a break for it. Marquez overtook the local hero on lap 3 but crashed out two laps later. This allowed the Doctor to resume his charge towards the race leader, but it wasn‘t without interruptions.
As the Italian went wide with 16 laps to go, compatriots Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone passed through and also Danilo Petrucci and Alex Rins joined the fight. The number 46 rider soon found himself in fifth place, but he wasn‘t out for the count. He regained his position ahead of Iannone and tried to claw his way back past Petrucci, whilst fending off Rins. Though he had to allow the Spaniard through with nine laps to go, he cleverly followed the young rider and seized two overtake opportunities on lap 17 and 18 to snatch third. Iannone tried to steal the podium position away from him, launching various attacks in turn 1, but the fans‘ favourite held firm and crossed the line in third place, 6.629s from first. Thanks to today‘s results Rossi became the first rider to score over 5000 Grand Prix championship points (he has collected 5005 points in total).
Viñales didn‘t get off to a good start from the third place of the grid and was swamped going into the first corner. Riding with the harder tyre spec that takes longer to warm up, he fell further back and completed the first lap in 11th place. As the tyres started to warm, the the youngster began to stalk fellow Yamaha rider Johann Zarco. A personal best time on lap 9 put him in a perfect position to pass the Frenchman at the start of lap 10.
From that point on, the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP man had a lonely ride, trying to close a nearly four-second gap to the rider in front of him. As the race went on, Viñales‘ confidence grew. He kept his laps inside the 1‘48s and with five laps to go he tagged onto the back of the fight for third place, at the time led by his teammate. The Spaniard was looking threatening, but having used up his tyres, he was not able to gain any further positions. He took the chequered flag in eighth place, 11.060s behind the leader.
Rossi‘s podium finish moves him up to second position in the championship standings with 72 points, 5 points ahead of teammate Viñales, who dropped down to third. These results keep Yamaha in second place in the Constructor Championship, decreasing the margin to first to 22 points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team reclaimed first position in the team standings and now have a 15-point gap to the second team.
MotoGP will be back in action in two weeks’ time at Viñales‘ home Grand Prix, the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from June 15th – 17th.
Today the tyre choice played a big part in the outcome of the Italian GP. We had to start the race with the harder spec because of the expected tyre degradation, but we knew this wouldn‘t be the option that provided the riders with the most grip. The tyre decisions didn‘t pay off until the latter part of the race. Nevertheless, Valentino managed his tyres well, whilst at the same time doing a great job staying within podium contention. This allowed him to make his move when the harder tyres gave him the edge over his rivals and secure an important second consecutive third place. Maverick had a difficult start to the race. He suffered from a lack of grip and was pushed down the order. Once the harder tyres started working, he was posting consistent 1‘48s and he was able to close the gap to the front group, but by then there wasn‘t enough tyre left for him to challenge the riders in front. Though it wasn’t the perfect weekend we set out for, we can still be satisfied that we decreased the gap to our rivals in the riders‘ and constructors‘ championship and reclaimed first place in the team standings. We will continue to work hard at the next GP to pile on the pressure.
It was a very tough race because we had to start with the harder front tyre, which we knew wouldn‘t provide a lot of grip, so the race was very difficult. I tried not to make any mistakes, which was hard, and I also tried not to lose contact with the podium contenders. In my group the guys were riding on the softer tyre, so I hoped I would have a little bit more grip than them at the end. In fact, it was exactly like this, so I‘m very happy, because the podium was the target for me. It remained difficult to secure it until the very last lap, because Iannone didn‘t give up, but at the end it‘s a great feeling here in Mugello.
The race wasn‘t as I expected it would be after FP4. In the warm up I got a different feeling from the bike than during the race. I lost the front almost in every corner in the first laps. That was a shame, because after that I was one of the faster riders on the track after lap 10. Finally, I destroyed the front tyre and I couldn‘t be on the podium, but I tried my best, like always.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair secures important points in tough Italian GP
With a determined effort Johann Zarco was battling hard during 23 hot laps in Mugello today in order to bring home a solid top 10 result. The fast Frenchman came off the line well and immediately found himself inside a hard fighting second group. With a resolute ride he ensures six valuable points in the World Championship, before he is setting his sights on to the next round, which takes place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 12 days’ time.
His Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Hafizh Syahrin displayed a very strong performance again. The Malaysian got out the best from himself and delivered some amazing duels while snatching the top rookie spot. With a pass in the last lap he clinched 12th and with it four points, which bring him back to the top of the current Rookie of the Year standings, equal on points with Franco Morbidelli.
Position: 10th – Championship: 5th – Points: 64
“Overall, Mugello has been difficult. All the weekend, especially from Saturday we were struggling a lot and also in the race, I was not able to find a really good feeling. Anyway, I finished the race and tried to take home as many points as possible. I have the feeling, that we didn’t work perfectly this weekend and I just aim to forget this round. The next GP is Barcelona, where we did a great job during the test, so I want to gain my usual good sensations back, because it was not normal to struggle like that here and simply not being able to ride the bike comfortably. I was fighting in every corner and this gave me a hard time. I’m disappointed and just look forward to find my smile again.”
Position: 12th – Championship: 16th – Points: 17
“That was a tough race in very hot conditions. Thank you very much to the team. I’m very happy, because in the beginning of the race I was struggling a bit to find the grip, as after the Moto2 race it was different to FP3 and FP4. I tried to push a lot and have to admit, that I was surprised that the KTM was so fast and therefore, it was difficult to pass them on the straight. I was losing time on the straight and tried to push in the corners and on the brake. This race, I felt that I used all my energy while trying to get close and trying to be in front of Morbidelli. In the end, I wanted to pass Rabat as I was full motivated to make a good race here. It was not easy, but I made it in the last corner. I’ll try to continue to work hard on my body and hope to have even more power for the next race.”
“What a MotoGP race! They gave us an incredible show, but at the same time it was difficult for Monster Yamaha Tech3. Anyway, all through the weekend we knew that it’s going to be a tough race and, in the end, it was like this. I think Johann did the best he could, salvaged some important points in the championship to remain in contact with the top, only eight points from second, so everything is still possible. It was very important to score here after the big disappointment of Le Mans but it is also for sure disappointing to have never been in a position, where we could fight for a top 5, so we have to try to come out of it with a positive feeling. The Barcelona test was very, very good, so we go there full of optimism. We saw that from one race to another, the change of results is unbelievable, like Lorenzo, who was almost nowhere from the beginning of the year and then got this dominant win here. I want to congratulate him for this. So, it’s a very open season and difficult to understand, which gives us some good hopes that we can turn our fortunes in the next races and be back at least in the top 5. The other side of the garage is a much more positive and a much happier team, because I think Hafizh did an amazing weekend. He was fast every day and never gave up. As usual, he kept his head down and climbed up to 12thposition, one more time best rookie of the race, plus he got his top spot in the rookie championship back. We are very proud of him. The pass he did on Rabat was very impressive, especially as we know how much down on speed we were to the Ducati and he’s been really riding with his head and his heart. I’d like to congratulate him and the whole #55 team, because he is doing it outside of the media attention, but we are working, progressing and Hafizh is becoming a very strong MotoGP rider. We just can’t wait for the next race!”
THE TYRE STOPS A NICE COMEBACK BY ALEIX ESPARGARÓ
SCOTT REDDING INVOLVED IN A CRASH IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE GP OF ITALY
With a good performance, Aleix Espargaró was making up for a difficult weekend that was characterised by ups and downs. After battling with the best all the way through FP3 on Saturday, Espargaró had ended up in the last spots on the starting grid, forced to ride in the qualifiers astride the second bike. Once again positive in the warm up session, finishing with the ninth best time, Aleix started from the 21st spot on the grid. He gradually moved up to 12th place, standing out with a good race pace and giving the impression that he would be able to move even farther up in the rankings. But 3 laps from the end, a total and abrupt deterioration of rear tyre performance forced him to retire.
At the end of the first lap, Scott Redding was involved in Karel Abraham’s accident, also ending up in the gravel. Fortunately, he suffered no consequence after the bad fall, but it obviously ended the race for him.
“I knew from the start that it would be a hard race, but I started well and immediately recovered some positions. Around the tenth lap, I began to feel that the rear tyre wasn’t working right. I had very little grip and I risked crashing a couple of times going into corners with the throttle closed. Lap after lap, things got worse until they were bad enough to force me to box. What happened was very strange. We’ll analyse the tyre to figure out the source of the problem. This was an important weekend where, unlike other occasions, we were never able to be competitive. I am still convinced that the potential of the RS-GP is not what we have seen so far. Rather than forget this weekend, we need to study the data well to find what didn’t work right during these three days.”
“The weekend ended in the worst possible way. On the last turn of the first lap, Abraham crashed out. His bike hit me and took me down. I was thrown from the bike rather violently, so much that I had the wind knocked out of me when I hit the ground. I have a few other bruises too and hopefully there won’t be any lasting consequences.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“This was not an easy weekend. The layout of this track, with a lot of fast chicanes, highlighted one of the areas where we know the RS-GP needs to improve, namely going into turns without touching the brakes or the throttle. Despite this, and also considering a start from the back of the grid due to an episode that occurred in practice, we were just outside the top ten with Aleix. Unfortunately, we were stopped by a problem with the rear tyre, which we will analyse now. It’s a pity. So far various problems have happened to us, so I hope that we’ll be able to reverse the trend as soon as possible.”
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
“Aleix rode a more than respectable race, with a pace that was not far off that of the leaders, but he was forced to stop because of a tyre problem Even a race placement would have been a just reward for the entire team that had to tackle a difficult weekend, but instead we had a double zero in the end that is really disappointing to us because it is undeserved, given the fact that Scott also ended up involved in an accident by no fault of his own.”
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow showed his battling qualities to take sixth place at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. Having started from eighth position on the grid at Mugello, the Briton showed great patience and determination to secure an impressive result despite ongoing issues with the front grip of his Honda.
Crutchlow acknowledged after the race that he had considered pushing for a podium finish at one stage. However, he recognised the need to manage his aggression in order to finish the race and secure a respectable points haul. The 32-year-old declared himself satisfied with the result and is now looking for another positive performance at the next round in Barcelona.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 6th
“Today was a more positive result than we expected given the situation with the front grip of the bike. It was really difficult for me to pass. At one stage in the race I thought there was potential for a podium, but trying to overtake would have been a massive risk because of the front of the bike.
“Overall we managed the situation very well, whereas some other didn’t. Now we look forward to Barcelona. The team did a good job this weekend, we managed to come away with a top-six result at Mugello so we have to be pleased.”
Petrux fights for the podium despite the clash with Marquez . Jack’s race finishes after 2 laps.
The Gran Premio d’Italia ended with Alma Pramac Racing confirming its third position in the MotoGP team classification. Danilo Petrucci finished seventh after fighting for the podium. Jack crashed on lap 2.
Petrux started off strong and turned 3rd at the first corner but Marquez pushed him off the track with a very aggressive maneuver. At the end of the first lap Danilo was in ninth position and began to push hard with an incisive race pace. On lap 13 Petrux made a masterpiece overtaking Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone for the third place. The rider from Terni tried to defend his podium but the effort of recovery after contact caused by Marquez did not allow him to have a competitive rear tire in the last laps.
Jack Miller went very fast all weekend. The start of the Australian rider was positive but the crash on the second lap did not allow him to fight for a result that could be very interesting.
P7 Danilo Petrucci
“I’m very sorry for the way things went. I started off very well from the second row but Marquez pushed me out of the circuit. If I have to be honest I’m very angry because we worked very well during the week end. I had to push hard to recover”.
DNF Jack Miller
“I’m very disappointed. The feeling was always very positive throughout the weekend and I think we made the right choice with the medium rear tyre. I think I could have competed well but that didn’t happen this time. I have learnt a lesson. It will be different in Barcelona”.