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 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 with a damaged rear sprocket and then Marc Marquez, who was once more involved in an excellent scrap with Iannone for second, crashed out of the race with 6 laps remaining leaving the Italian to take second ahead of an inspired Rossi in third to send the partisan crowd into raptures.
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, and even surprised himself with his pace: “I‘m very happy, because I didn‘t expect to escape with such a big margin, but sometimes it happens that you feel great on the bike. I was the only rider to ride multiple 1‘47s, so luckily for me I was gaining six or seven-tenths per lap, this was key to the win of the race.” When asked about his chances of taking a third MotoGP™ title this season he replied: “It seems that this year could be our year, so we have to take advantage of it.”
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 responded to the home fans support with his best ever MotoGP™ result, after getting the better of Marquez and holding off Rossi, and has not finished outside the top six all season: “I am so pleased with today’s result:! It was incredible, because today it was not easy to score a podium finish. My team did a great job, the bike worked really well and the Clinica Mobile gave me a big hand throughout the weekend. At the start I wanted to try and stay with Jorge: he didn’t have a better pace than me, but he did manage to keep that pace by taking fewer risks. When I realized that I was pushing too hard, I tried to maintain my speed, do my own race and keep one eye on my shoulder, which from mid-race onwards was showing signs of tiredness.”
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: “Mugello was very busy, because I am very competitive and all the Italian fans expected a great race from me. I wasn‘t strong enough but at the end of the race I arrived on the podium after a great recovery and a hard race. To be on the podium with whole the crowd is always magical with the track being full of people.” Rossi went on to discuss the threat posed by his teammate to his bid to win a tenth World Championship title: “I think we have to improve, especially with Jorge being very strong, he is in a great shape and to match his level we need to be more competitive.”
Dani Pedrosa rode a solid race to claim fourth as the only Honda inside the top ten, just over three seconds behind Rossi. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith was the leading Satellite rider in fifth as he benefitted from Cal Crutchlow crashing out of the race with just three laps remaining while the CWM LCR Honda rider was ahead of him on track. Crutchlow, who was already suffering after a crash in the mornings Warm Up session, went to the Medical Centre where it was revealed he had dislocated his ankle and the British rider will need a medical inspection before being declared fit to race in Catalunya. 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 his teammate Yonny Hernandez completed the top ten.
Scott Redding again struggled on his Factory spec Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, fighting back to finish in eleventh after running wide on just the second lap and dropping down to 19th. Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz took his first Open class victory 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.