As the MotoGP World Championship hits the halfway mark, it’s Factory Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo who leads the way with confidence as he took the win at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello this weekend, ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
While it was pole-sitter Pedrosa who got the holeshot and led the field into turn one, it was Lorenzo made an aggressive maneuver to get past the Repsol Honda rider to take the lead and never look back.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso also pushed past Pedrosa, as Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl fought for fourth. Defending World Champion Casey Stoner did not have a great start, and had to fight his way past Pramac Racing Team’s Héctor Barberá to make up positions. Meanwhile San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Michele Pirro was black flagged due to a cutting the track as he was heading back into pit lane with a technical issue.
Two laps on, Pedrosa was all over the back of Dovizioso, as Lorenzo started to pull out a small gap at the front. Ducati’s Valentino Rossi had fought his way up to seventh, as Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow all over him, looking for a way past on his satellite Yamaha. With 15 laps remaining Stoner’s tires had come up to temperature, and the Australian managed to push his way past Hayden into fifth. A lap later Bradl put in a brave move on Dovizioso in turn one to slot into third. This was followed up by big drama as Stoner ran off track into the gravel, managing to keep the bike upright and re-joining in tenth.
With eight laps remaining the grid had spread out, Lorenzo continued to increase his lead over Pedrosa and Dovisiozo, while Crutchlow was still dicing with Rossi. A lap later Stoner had caught up to the back of San Carlo’s Álvaro Bautista, and put in an aggressive move, pushing the Spaniard wide and moving up into ninth. The final three laps promised further excitement as Dovizioso went past Bradl on the brakes into third, while Hayden, and the pursuing duo of Rossi and Crutchlow closed in on the podium battle. In the final lap Hayden made his way past Bradl, who fought back with a hard move, which pushed the American wide. This let Rossi through into fifth, with Crutchlow also taking advantage to nip into sixth. Nicky Hayden had to settle for a disappointing 7th place finish despite all of his hard work to close the gap to challenge for a podium position.
Yet ultimately it was Lorenzo who took the chequered flag for his second successive victory at the track in front of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso, who recoded his fourth podium of the season.
According to Jorge Lorenzo, “”From the beginning I felt great on this track, the asphalt was completely different to Sachsenring which was a nightmare for us. From the first practice here I felt very strong, very good on the bike and a fast constant pace. Today I was hammering a lot to open a gap at the beginning of the race as I thought my competitors would have problems on cold tyres. Unfortunately I couldn’t do it immediately. Only hammering every lap and going faster and faster from 1’48.1 then into the 47s could I open a bit to Pedrosa then little by little it got better and I could start to breathe. It’s been a great win for the whole team’s efforts and for Yamaha who have given me such a good bike.”
MotoGP Rookie Stefan Bradl recorded his best ever finish in the premier class. Fifth spot went to Rossi, followed by Crutchlow, Hayden, Stoner, Barberá, Bautista and Yamaha’s Ben Spies, who was suffering from food poisoning.
Jorge Lorenzo now leads the championship with 185 points, 19 points ahead of Dani Pedrosa and a clear 37 points ahead of defending World Champion Casey Stoner.
The MotoGP series heads to North America for a U.S. double header in two weeks time to compete at Laguna Seca July 27-29 and Indianapolis from August 17-19.