MUGELLO. Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian GP…and the tricolore flew high over the podium at Mugello, as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso took a magnificent win battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line over a second clear of Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and an impressive home podium for second Italian Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing).
The ‘Doctor’, who suffered a motocross crash in training the week before the event, pushed hard through the pain barrier at home and just missed the podium but took good points – as always, putting on a great show.
Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) took a big scalp as he caught and passed reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) to complete the top five, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) coming home in P7 behind Marquez. Lorenzo, after his early duel for the lead, suffered grip issues later in the race and crossed the line in eighth, beating Ducati test rider Michele Pirro over the line. Iannone’s heroics following his illness saw him complete the top ten at home.
The late drama a little further off the front saw a tough day for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) conclude in a crash as the ‘Baby Samurai’ slid out, unfortunately collecting LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took P11, with the top fifteen completed by Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) and Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
Jump start penalty puts the brakes on Aleix Espargaró
When all was said and done, with the race severely compromised, Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia scratched the itch of wanting to be the fastest on the track – even faster than the riders battling for the win. But the time of 1'47.885, achieved nine laps from the end, fifth best absolute lap of the race, remains solely as consolation, albeit not insignificant, in a race that was over for Aleix when the red light went off. In fact, at the start his RS-GP made a clear move early that did not have any impact on his performance, but it was enough to expose Aleix to the risk of a penalty which then arrived, forcing the Spaniard to do a ride through and consequently relegating him far from the group and extremely far from the battle for a top ten spot where he had been before.
Back on the track - and before stopping due to running long onto the gravel - Aleix demonstrated that excellent race pace that had fed the hopes of the entire Aprilia Racing Team Gresini throughout the weekend that he might bring home those results that are clearly within his potential.
Aleix Espargaró: DNF
"It is a real pity. For the first time in my career I made a jump start and that is not what we needed. First and foremost I would like to apologize to the team. This is a particularly important race for Aprilia and the RS-GP was working very well. The sensations were the best of the entire season. My pace in the low 48s after the ride through (therefore without particular motivation and without the advantage of any slipstream) shows that we could have battled for important positions. After running off track in the gravel, something wasn't working right with gear selection, so I made a pit stop. Once again, we showed that we are fast, but we are going home without any points. Now we need to consistently get back into the positions that we deserve."