Gran Premio d Italia Oakley
Mugello surprised us all with Ducati 1-2 as Lorenzo takes his first Ducati MotoGP win
Jorge Lorenzo takes his first MotoGP win with Ducati, and he did it in dominant style, while Marc Márquez crashed out.
Jorge Lorenzo has at last taken a MotoGP win for the Factory Ducati Team with a master class at Mugello. His first win since Valencia 2016 and his 45th in MotoGP.
Lorenzo took the flag six seconds ahead of Ducati team mate Andrea Dovizioso with Valentino Rossi taking third on the podium, for the first time for three years at Mugello, as the home crowd cheered the Spaniard and the Italian pair,.
This was a classic Lorenzo victory, the way he likes it, from flag to flag and never challenged throughout the race, finishing ahead of Rossi and Dovizioso by six seconds.
He said this win doesn't change things
"I am very happy to have this win, but it won't change that I will ride for another manufacturer next year."
It was announced Tuesday that Lorenzo has signed for the Repsol Honda team to partner Márquez with a two year deal.
Marc Márquez was the fastest after a busy session.
There were seven different riders who topped the time sheets, but it was Repsol Honda man who beat them all at Mugello.
In Mugello Free Practices, Andrea Iannone has shown Suzuki they are wrong to lose him by being fastest in both sessions.
Suzuki's departing Andrea Iannone was out with something to prove in both Mugello MotoGP Fridays free practice sessions.
He was untouchable by the other riders. Riding as good as he's ever done, with his home fans cheering him on, he went faster and faster on one of his favourite circuits.
The packed home straight stands witnessed a horrific crash for Ducati test rider Michele Pirro.
The red flags went out immediately and the session was stopped for 29 minutes to enable the marshals to attend to the unconscious Pirro. He was travelling at 220mph on the start finish straight, then something went wrong with his machine and he was thrown high off his Ducati on the downhill approach to the first corner, San Donato.
Pirro thrown off his Ducati at 220mph
A replay showed that when he was flat out on the start finish straight the front wheel of the Desmosedici locked up as the rear of the bike went up in the air, before suddenly regaining grip and throwing Pirro high into the air.
Pirro was knocked out and lost consciousness as he hit the ground, but was conscious again by the time he was taken to the medical centre by ambulance. After a preliminary examination he was taken to hospital in Florence by helicopter for a CT scan.
The session was resumed, only to then be halted again when Andrea Dovizioso's engine blew at San Donato, leaving a trail of oil on the track and causing his Ducati to catch fire.
Just before that incident, Andrea Iannone, the fastest in FP1, had improved to a best time of 1m 47.274 seconds.
Marc Márquez topped the times for a short while with a 1m 47.218second lap, after a low-side crash at Turn 4 between the two stoppages. That was quickest time until the last three minutes, when the Factory MoviStar Yamaha rider, Maverick Viñales set a time of 1m 47.122 seconds, but that was beaten by Iannone by only 0.387 of a second in the dying moments with a 1 minute 46.735 seconds effort.
Viñales remained second ahead of Márquez, while Johann Zarco and Jack Miller completed the top five narrowly ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Home hero Valentino Rossi was seventh-fastest on the other Factory MoviStar Yamaha ahead of Franco Morbidelli, who ran as high as third before dropping down to eight. The only two GP18 Ducati riders to enjoy a clean session, Danilo Petrucci and Jorge Lorenzo, completed the top 10 ahead of another LCR Honda rookie, Takaaki Nakagami.
Dovizioso finished 12th after his blow-up, followed by Dani Pedrosa, while Iannone's Suzuki team-mate Álex Rins, still recovering from his massive testing crash, was down in 15th, 1.261seconds behind.
Aleix Espargaró was the best of the Aprilia riders to finish 16th after a late crash at San Donato, while Thomas Lüthi on his Marc VDS Honda had two crashes during both sessions and finished up in 23rd.
On Saturday the crowd cheered loudly as Three time World Champion Max Biaggi did some demonstration laps on an Italian E-bike.
Saturday Qualifying 1
Maverick Viñales led for most of the session then Jack Miller did a flyer to go fastest in the sessions.
MotoGP Qualifying 1 Classification
Mugello, Saturday, 2 June 2018
Saturday Qualifying 2
It was the Home Hero The Doctor, Valentino Rossi who out classed them all in Q2.
Rossi The Master of Mugello takes a sensational pole.
Valentino Rossi pulled out everything he knew to go fastest around Mugello to take pole pushing Jorge Lorenzo to second by less than one-tenth of a second.
It's his first pole since 2016 and Rossi will start first on the grid.
"It's a great emotion, especially the lap after the pole," said Rossi.
"I say 'ciao' to all the crowd, it's fantastic.
"It's great because also it's a surprise because this year in the qualifying I always suffer but today the lap was great and I thought that it was enough for the front row but in the end it's pole position.
"It's a long time so it's important, it's a great feeling.
"I think that tomorrow will be more difficult but for sure I enjoy the moment."
Marc Márquez's record lap of 1m 46.439 seconds, which he got in free practice 3, was outstripped by four riders in a dramatic end to the second part of qualifying.
Andrea Iannone, Suzuki, was first to go under Márquez's time with eight minutes left.
Rossi pushed his Yamaha to the limit and a sensational lap to smash the lap record with a 1m 46.208 seconds and only two minutes to go.
Lorenzo on his Ducati pulled out a fast lap to go second, only 0.035secs behind, with Maverick Viñales third on his Factory MoviStar Yamaha.
Márquez was on a hot lap but a mistake meant only sixth for the Repsol Honda man with both Iannone and Petrucci faster than him.
The hoards of Rossi fans went wild on his slow down lap.
What an amazing qualifying session it was.
MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification
Mugello, Saturday, 2 June 2018
Sunday - the race is GO!
The lights went out and he charged away leading pole man Rossi. Márquez made a good start from sixth, in turn two he rammed Petrucci, sending him out wide. He was soon up to third and harassing Rossi.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa was one of the first to crash out, he collided with Taka Nakagami at turn two on lap one. Lap two was a crash fest. Scott Redding and Karel Abraham both went down at turn 15, Jack Miller at turn four and Tom Lüthi came off.
Márquez then passed Rossi in the first corner, San Donato, at the start of lap three then started to put pressure on Lorenzo.
On the fifth lap, an impatient Márquez lost the front into the Scarperia right hander, he almost saved it, holding onto the bike as it slid into the gravel then he remounted.
Lorenzo was pulling away, getting a lead of 1.5s by the 13th lap. Leading Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, who had moved up to third on lap 7 at the Casanova Savelli switchback.
Dovizioso started fifth and was up to third on lap seven. He got by Rossi on the start finish straight and he pulled away. In the closing stages though, Rossi was able to reel him in on the final lap and was third by only a quarter of a second at the flag.
Petrucci got up to third after being rammed on lap one, only to drop back in the closing laps as his tyres went off, leaving Rossi and Iannone to fight over the final podium spot. Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda, got ahead of Petrucci with three laps to go.
Rossi had to work hard for his third place, as the 39-year-old had to contend with the Suzuki pair Andrea Iannone and Álex Rins hassling him as well as Danilo Petrucci on his Pramac Ducati.
Ducati team mates, Lorenzo and Dovizioso chose the soft rear tyre Dovizioso had a medium on the front while Lorenzo took the soft. Rossi went hard front, medium rear which gave him the grip he needed to keep ahead of Andrea Iannone.
Ecstar Suzuki's Iannone challenged Rossi all the way for second but he had over heated his front medium as he ran wide at Scarperia three laps in a row but he managed to keep it all together and to take fourth ahead of team mate Álex Rins, who made some errors late in the race.
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Ducati only finisher, looked like he had the pace to make it a Ducati podium 1-2-3 when he fought back from Márquez, pushing him out on lap one to get up to third but his soft rear lost all grip and he was passed by Cal Crutchlow in the closing laps.
Crutchlow, the LCR Honda rider, came sixth after opting for medium tyres front and rear. He looked like he could have got a podium in the last five laps but couldn't find a way to the front of the pack.
Maverick Viñales made another awful start, dropping to tenth on lap one but then fought back in the closing laps, sticking in the mid-48s to come home eighth after keeping Alvaro Bautista at bay in ninth. A troubled Johann Zarco finished in tenth on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha.
A delighted Hafizh Syahrin on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha was the top rookie in 12th, finishing just behind Pol Espargaró, KTM. In 13th was Tito Rabat on his Reale Avintia Racing Ducati. In 14th came KTM's Bradley Smith with Marc VDS Honda rider Franco Morbidelli taking the final point.
Crashing out on the first lap were Scott Redding, Aprilia and Karel Abraham Angel Nieto Ducati Team, while Jack Miller, Pramac Ducati and Thomas Lüthi, Marc VDS Honda, both crashed out on the second lap. Aleix Espargaró retired in the closing stages of the race on the other Factory Aprilia.
Márquez ended up 16th of the 17 finishers, 12 seconds behind Morbidelli. Only able to get past Xavier Simeon, who is still trying to get to grips with his Reale Avintia Racing Ducati. Márquez was outside the points after his slip off at Scarperia on lap three. He still leads the Championship, cut now to 23 points ahead of Valentino Rossi.
As the three riders went to the podium the track invasion was in full swing, cheering their heroes, with hooters, klaxons and even chainsaws revving!
GRAN PREMIO D'ITALIA OAKLEY
MotoGP Race Classification
Mugello, Sunday, 3 June 2018
Winner Jorge Lorenzo
Spanish Ducati Team #99 Points 25
"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!"
Second Andrea Dovizioso
Italian Ducati Team #04 Points 20
"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 Márquez 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."
Third Valentino Rossi
Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46
"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."
Fourth Andrea Iannone
Italian Team Suzuki Ecstar #29 Points 13
"I tried my best, but for sure I had hoped to finish this race on the podium. In any case, we struggled with the rear tyre because the track was really hot so we lost out on acceleration, especially on the straight. So it's very difficult to make up the lost time in the corners.
"But anyway, I'm really happy about the race, I pushed a lot from the beginning, but half way through I reduced my pace to allow the tyres to recover a bit. I knew the last part of the race would be really important and I tried my best at the end, 4th is a good result and we hope to improve in some areas so we can be consistently at the top."
Fifth Álex Rins
Spanish Team Suzuki Ecstar #42 Points 11
"I'm really happy because I didn't expect this result, yesterday I had a very bad crash and I hit my shoulder and lost strength.
"During the race I also struggled with it but I tried to keep my focus and think about the race and not about my shoulder, and I'm really happy with this 5th position.
"I took a lot of experience from this race, I managed it well with the high temperatures and the lack of grip on the front. I think we gave our best, we worked really well together with the team.
"Tomorrow I'll have some more checks at the hospital and then try to recover for the Montmelo Grand Prix."
British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35 Points 10
"This weekend has been hard for us. Getting the right set up. With the heat in the afternoon it made the bike handle different. We tried to compensate for this for the race. I didn't qualify well, down in eighth. I got a reasonable start, but an incident on the first lap made me loose a few places.
"So I had to work hard, I got by quite a few and on the back of the leading group. I felt I had the pace for a podium. But just couldn't get by Rossi, Iannone, Rins and Petrucci.
"I'm disappointed really, I know I could have finished higher than sixth.
"Now we look to Catalunya, it's a circuit I like and have done well in the past. So hoping for better there."
Seventh Danilo Petrucci
Italian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing #9 Points 9
"We worked very well during the week end. I started off very well from the second row.
"If I have to be honest I'm very angry because in the first lap I was in good position then I get hit hard by Márquez. He make me go out wide and pushed me out of the circuit. I loose many places.
"So I have to push hard to recover, this made the tyres go and at the end I have no grip and drop down.
"I could have been on the podium. I'm very sorry for the way things went."
Eighth Maverick Viñales
Spanish Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #25 Points 8
"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.
"I am getting a bit fed up now with Yamaha. They promised me a winning bike, but it is not capable of winning at the moment. Only good enough for six seven or eight. Not good enough for me to be fighting for the podium.
"I hope we can improve in Catalunya, I go well there, I want to be on the podium."
Ninth Alvaro Bautista
Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19 Points 7
"I'm happy because the gap to the first and second group of riders was the lowest of the season so far.
"We had a pretty hard race. I tried to give one hundred percent all the time, and when I saw on the first few laps that Maverick Viñales was close to me, in front of me, I thought about sticking with him - because in the second half of the race he would be very consistent and fast.
"We fought our way back, catching the podium group little by little and there were a couple of occasions in which I tried to pass to Viñales, but I almost fell on one of them.
"Now it's time to focus on improving on Saturdays, in qualifying, because starting from higher up is easier."
Tenth Johann Zarco
French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5 Points 6
"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."
Pol Espargaró 11th
Spanish Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #44 Points 5
"Overall I think we struggled a bit this weekend and we were a second away from the rhythm of the top group.
"We had a better race than some others and 11th position is not bad at all and has become 'our' position in the last races, I don't think we did a bad job today but we need to ask for more and we'll see how we can improve.
"Hopefully Barcelona will be a bit easier and more fun for us because it looks like we were cruising here and we didn't get the chance to fight with the others.
"I was adjusting my throttle in the first laps and changing the maps to avoid spinning. In Barcelona I think we can get something else, and it will be interesting with the new asphalt that might have more grip. It will be similar to here with the sun and the heat so it will be physical."
Hafizh Syahrin 12th
Malaysian Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #55 Points 4
"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."
Bradley Smith 14th
British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38 Points 2
"I loved that race; 22/23 laps in the mix. I pretty much turned myself inside-out to stay in that group for tenth in the first part of the race but then told myself to be smart and to learn something as we went along.
"It was nice when we were just two KTMs but then Aleix Espargaró joined us and upset my rhythm a little bit and he was super-strong in some areas and weak in others.
"The front tyre pressure went up more than expected and that affected us in areas. Tito Rabat dive-bombed me with two laps to go and put me super-wide and Hafizh Syahrin was able to get by.
"I was trying to attack on the last lap and we all came across the line in the same tenth of a second. It was frustrating not to be twelfth - that should have been the minimum today - but to be there fighting with all those guys is more than I expected going into the race. It meant we extracted the best from the bike and gave everything we could."
Marc Márquez 16th
Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93
"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 Montmelo, where we'll go back to the usual tyre spec, and we'll try and come back strong."
Spanish Repsol Honda Team #26
"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."
Australian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #43
"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."
Spanish Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #41
"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."
British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45
"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.
"Now I'll forget this race and concentrate on Catalunya, where we should do a lot better. "
So that's the exciting Mugello race over with. With everything in it, hard passes, crashes, close racing. MotoGP is like no other sport. As Lewis Hamilton said at a MotoGP race recently ... "MotoGP is the most exciting sport in the world!" ... and being F1 World Champion a few times, he should know!
Next MotoGP Race is in Spain at the Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona.
Action starts with Free Practise on the Friday 15th of June with the race on the Sunday the 17th.
A look at the circuit and places of interest in the area of the track. Plus I'll find out what are the speciality dishes served here!
My race report will be here soon after the winner passes the flag!
- Roland Potter