Jorge Lorenzo extended his championship lead with a victory at Mugello, snatching the win from Marc Marquez on the final straight. Home favourite Valentino Rossi was forced to retire after starting strongly from pole position.
Lorenzo snatches victory from Marc Marquez on the final straight. Image: MotoGP.com
Lorenzo started strongly, leading his Yamaha team mate in the early exchanges. Rossi was just looking as if he would take the lead before his engine blew up. This left Lorenzo clear at the front, however Marquez closed the gap before eventually passing Lorenzo on the final lap. Lorenzo bit straight back but was unable to make his pass stick. It was Lorenzo who got the better drive out of the final corner and overtook Marquez, winning by 0.019 seconds.
Andrea Iannone made sure that there was an Italian on the podium, after seeing off Andrea Dovizioso and a late challenge from Dani Pedrosa, who took 4th. Maverick Vinales celebrated his move to Yamaha next season with a sixth position, with Bradley Smith and Danilo Petrucci rounding off the top eight.
Britain’s Cal Crutchlow finished 11th, whilst Scott Redding was forced to retire early on. Eugene Laverty continued his fine season with a 13th place.
The Moto2 race was disrupted after an air fence was damaged in a crash. Johann Zarco won the 10 lap restarted race with Britain’s Sam Lowes finishing third, taking him back to the top of the championship. Brad Binder cemented his lead in Moto3, taking a close fought victory in which the top six were covered by just over 1 second.
Alvaro Bautista will have to lie low whenever he returns to Italy, after knocking off Italian legend Valentino Rossi on just the 3rd corner of the race. Rossi, who qualified 7th, didn’t have the best of starts, leading to him being caught up in the thick of the action. Jorge Lorenzo led from the first corner, where he overtook Dani Pedrosa, who out-qualified him with a Pole-position lap record on the final lap of Q2. Lorenzo went of to gap the two Repsol Hondas to get a 5 second lead. Marc Marquez, who qualified 6th after crashing in every session apart from qualifying, fought his way up to 3rd behind his team mate. With about 10 laps to go, Pedrosa’s lap time fell, allowing Lorenzo to escape and holding up Marquez. Marquez passed Pedrosa with 5 laps to go through turn 5, however he crashed 2 laps later after the bike folded beneath him. This mistake allowed Brit Cal Crutchlow an unlikely podium, his 2nd consecutive rostrum. Crutchlow was having a lonely race, after passing his former team mate Dovizioso early on, and having a 4 second buffer both in front and behind him. But when Pedrosa started to have problems, Cal began hunting down the hondas, taking about half a second-a-lap out of the Repsols.
Further down, Stefan Bradl got his highest finish of the season in 4th, beating the highest placed Italian Andrea Dovizioso, who had started on the front row, and Nicky Hayden. Another Ducati, test rider Michele Pirro came 7th, with Aleix Espargaro taking up his usual place of top CRT in 8th.Bradley Smith finished off a painful weekend in 9th, while fellow Brit Michael Laverty finished 17th.
Lorenzo’s victory sees him overtake Marquez in the championship, now just 12 points behind Dani Pedrosa, Crutchlow’s 3rd sees him move closer to Marquez, just 6 points behind, whilst Dovi overtook Valentino Rossi in 5th place.
In Moto2, Brit Scott Redding took his Championship lead to 43 points with a comfortable second win in a row as he pushes for a MotoGP ride next year. Luis Salom won in the Moto3 race.