MotoGP 2014 – Round Six – Mugello – Marquez comes out on top in dramatic duel with Lorenzo
An intriguing duel between Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) saw the former come out on top at Mugello, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) joining them on the podium at his 300th Grand Prix.
The two Spaniards put on a great show in front of the Italian crowd, battling for the lead for several laps, only for Marquez to clinch a sixth successive victory in 2014 by 0.121s on the final lap.
At his 300th race the yellow sea of fans were willing Rossi to capitalise on any mistake from the front two, and although The Doctor had to settle for third by just under three seconds it was still a great ride for him from 10th on the grid.
Earlier in the day the only other rider to have reached 300 Grands Prix, Rossi’s friend Loris Capirossi, had ridden an emotional tribute lap for the late Marco Simoncelli – now a MotoGP™ Legend – on a Honda Gresini bike.
With Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and impressive rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) the next two across the finishing line after Rossi – albeit more than 10 seconds back – there were four Spaniards in the top five.
Behind them Italians Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) also got great support from the crowd en route to sixth and seventh respectively, with Iannone making a brilliant start and leading in the early stages having started second on the grid
The top ten was completed by Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing).
Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (Octo IodaRacing Team) both retired from the race with technical problems.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) crashed out on lap 4, but walked away unharmed. Shortly afterwards Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) went down, with the german being hit by the Englishman’s bike as it slid across the track, with both riders fortunately avoided injury.
MotoGP™ Race Classification
- Marc Marquez 93 ESP 25 Repsol Honda Team HONDA 41’38.254
- Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP 20 Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA +0.121
- Valentino Rossi 46 ITA 16 Yamaha Factory YAMAHA +2.688
- Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP 13 Repsol Honda Team HONDA +14.046
- Pol Espargaro 44 ESP 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA +15.603
- Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA 10 Ducati Team DUCATI +17.042
- Andrea Iannone 29 ITA 9 Pramac Racing DUCATI +17.129
- Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP 8 Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA +27.407
- Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP 7 NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA +41.886
- Yonny Hernandez 68 COL 6 Pramac Racing DUCATI +45.212
- Michele Pirro 51 ITA 5 Ducati Team DUCATI +45.433
- Karel Abraham 17 CZE 4 Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA +45.831
- Scott Redding 45 GBR 3 Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA +45.839
- Hiroshi Aoyama 7 JPN 2 Drive M7 Aspar HONDA +46.834
- Colin Edwards 5 USA 1 NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA +1’09.554
- Michael Laverty 70 GBR Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM +1’17.789
- Broc Parkes 23 AUS Paul Bird Motorsport PBM +1’35.031
- Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI +1’37.501
- Hector Barbera 8 ESP Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI DNF
- Michel Fabrizio 84 ITA IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER DNF
- Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR Ducati Team DUCATI DNF
- Stefan Bradl 6 GER LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA DNF
- Bradley Smith 38 GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA DNF
- Nicky Hayden 69 USA Drive M7 Aspar HONDA DNS
- Marc Marquez 93 ESP 150 Repsol Honda Team HONDA
- Valentino Rossi 46 ITA 97 Yamaha Factory YAMAHA
- Dani Pedrosa 26 ESP 96 Repsol Honda Team HONDA
- Jorge Lorenzo 99 ESP 65 Yamaha Factory Racing YAMAHA
- Andrea Dovizioso 4 ITA 63 Ducati Team DUCATI
- Pol Espargaro 44 ESP 49 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
- Aleix Espargaro 41 ESP 44 NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA
- Stefan Bradl 6 GER 39 LCR Honda MotoGP HONDA
- Alvaro Bautista 19 ESP 34 Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA
- Andrea Iannone 29 ITA 34 Pramac Racing DUCATI
- Bradley Smith 38 GBR 34 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA
- Nicky Hayden 69 USA 23 Drive M7 Aspar HONDA
- Hiroshi Aoyama 7 JPN 23 Drive M7 Aspar HONDA
- Yonny Hernandez 68 COL 22 Pramac Racing DUCATI
- Scott Redding 45 GBR 21 Go & Fun Honda Gresini HONDA
- Cal Crutchlow 35 GBR 15 Ducati Team DUCATI
- Karel Abraham 17 CZE 13 Cardion AB Motoracing HONDA
- Colin Edwards 5 USA 8 NGM Mobile Forward Racing YAMAHA
- Michele Pirro 51 ITA 5 Ducati Team DUCATI
- Hector Barbera 8 ESP 2 Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI
- Danilo Petrucci 9 ITA 2 IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER
- Broc Parkes 23 AUS 1 Paul Bird Motorsport PBM
- Michael Laverty 70 GBR 0 Paul Bird Motorsport ART & PBM
- Mike Di Meglio 63 FRA 0 Avintia Racing MotoGP FTR-KAWASAKI
- Michel Fabrizio 84 ITA 0 IodaRacing Project IODA-SUTER
Moto2: Calculated ride gives Rabat Italian win
Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team) got his tactics just right at Mugello, winning the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Moto2™ race by 0.248s from Luis Salom (Pons HP 40), with Jonas Folger (AGR Team) crossing the line third.
Rabat produced his best lap of the race on his penultimate circulation having come from third position at two-thirds race distance, to overtake his less experienced rivals. The championship leader extended his standings lead to 22 points with his third victory of 2014, further underlining his World title credentials.
Rookies Salom and Folger both produced excellent rides, each leading the race before Rabat took control.
An intriguing battle for fourth place in the final stages saw Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) outpace Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) by just 0.007s, with Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) finishing just behind that pair.
Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing), Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) and Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team) all featured in the top ten.
Josh Herrin (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) crashed out early on.
Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) also slid out mid race, with Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) another non-finisher due to an incident which also involved Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) – though the Japanese rider stayed upright to eventually finish 16th.
Moto2 Race Classification
Moto3: Victory for Fenati in Mugello sunshine
Another fantastic Moto3™ race concluded with victory for Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, with Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) joining him on the podium.
The talented Italian teenager held his nerve to win his home race whilst sporting a special red, white and green Italian livery, clinching maximum points by just 0.01s from Viñales, who himself beat Rins by virtue of a faster best lap as they crossed the line together.
A last lap crash between championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) saw them all miss out on the points, with Miller therefore seeing his standings advantage cut to just five points.
The top five also featured Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo), as they both crossed the line within 0.3s of race winner Fenati.
Going into the final laps, before Miller, Marquez and Bastianini crashed out, there were 13 riders split by just 1.5s, with Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold), Alessandro Tonucci (CIP Mahindra), Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) eventually completing the top ten.
Hafiq Azmi, John McPhee and Niccolo Antonelli all crashed out, with Jakub Kornfeil getting tangled up in Antonelli’s accident and later retiring due to a technical problem. Francesco Bagnaia also pulled off with a technical issue midrace, whilst Bryan Schouten finished 21st after starting from pit lane due to problems on the line.
Efren Vazquez recovered well to finish 12th after jump starting and having to ride through pit lane as a penalty.
Moto3™ Race Classification
A sixth place finish and a retirement were the results of the two Ducati Team riders in today’s Italian Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit, where the sixth round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship was held.
Andrea Dovizioso began the 23-lap race well, with a good start from eighth on the grid and at the end of lap 1 he crossed the line in fourth place. For several laps the Italian managed to stay with the leading group, but he was then passed by three more riders and he remained almost all the race in seventh place. During the last lap however Dovi managed to pass his fellow Ducati rider Andrea Iannone to finish in sixth.
His team-mate Cal Crutchlow, who started from row 2, was on the other hand forced to retire after a crash on lap 4. The British rider was in eighth place when he lost the front and slid down the track. His GP14 machine then hit Bradl’s bike, causing the German to retire.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro finished his race in eleventh place. The Italian focussed mainly on bringing his GP14 ‘lab’ bike to the chequered flag.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 6th – “I think I did as much as I could today in the race. In the end we didn’t go that bad, considering the gap from the leaders: we managed to improve our race time by three and a half seconds over last year’s, and this is a positive fact. The race at Mugello, as always, was really tough but that’s what makes it great. It was a really tough battle with Pedrosa, Espargarò and Iannone. I was helped a lot by the horsepower we had on the straight, and I did some great braking moves at the San Donato curve. In the end we brought home the best result that we could have obtained today.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF – “I’m obviously very disappointed to only last three laps, especially in Ducati’s home race at Mugello. We found a good set-up in the morning warm-up and we were able to be competitive in the early stages of the race. Unfortunately I pushed a little too hard in one of the chicanes and lost the front. We need to look at the best way to go forward from Barcelona with the settings and the bike and make me feel more comfortable.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 11th – “I managed to finish the race and this is important because at Jerez I didn’t finish, and here we had to obtain important data on some technical solutions we fitted to my GP14. For this reason I tried not to make any mistakes and to finish the race at all costs. For sure I could have got a tenth place and in fact I had even hoped for something better. A big thanks to the team for the job they did and I hope that I’ll be able to get a better result in a couple of weeks’ time at Barcelona.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “Obviously today’s results are below expectations, especially at this circuit which is like a home track for Ducati. Unfortunately Cal lost the front in the early stages, while Andrea gave his all but was unable to fight for the positions he would have liked. We must be patient: we know we still have to improve a lot, but we will work hard and we are confident for the future.”
Honda’s defending World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) took a fighting sixth win in six races in Italy today, finally prevailing after several laps of hand-to-hand combat with long-time race-leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
A crowd of 77,463 basking under clear blue skies thrilled to a battle that intensified as the race progressed, culminating in the closest finish of the year, with Marquez just 0.121 seconds ahead of his rival over the line. It was the 21-year-old Spaniard’s 12th win in the premier class, adding to a career total of 38, achieved while previously winning the 125cc and Moto2 titles.
Second Repsol Honda RC213V rider Dani Pedrosa was fourth, also obliged to fight hard after a disappointing start from the second row of the grid left him with a hard afternoon’s work. The former 125cc and double 250cc World Champion finished the first lap eighth, and even when he was up to fourth after ten laps of the 23-lap race he had to fight to maintain the position.
As at every other race so far this year, Marquez started from pole position at the spectacular 5.345-km circuit in the Apennine foothills outside Florence. But this race was no foregone conclusion, and it was Lorenzo who led away.
The pace was fast, and Marquez set fastest lap on the fifth as he followed his compatriot Lorenzo closely. He waited patiently for his chance to attack, seven laps from the end. The pass came on the long straight, helped by the powerful Honda RC213V engine and a last-minute gearing change, following morning warm-up, to improve his top speed.
But Lorenzo fought back immediately, and for the next six laps the pair changed places frequently at the circuit’s many overtaking points, and sometimes more than once in one corner. Only at the start of the last lap could Marquez gain a slender margin that he was able to preserve to the end.
With the season one-third completed, the sixth straight win extended his championship lead, now 53 points, giving him a margin of more than two races.
For Pedrosa, still regaining strength after surgery to repair arm-pump problems following round four, it was a similar battle. He took fourth from front-row starter Andrea Iannone (Ducati) on lap ten, but over the next laps Iannone also fought back, getting ahead several times. Only on the 18th lap was Pedrosa able to escape, by when he was too distant to make any further progress.
Pedrosa had been on the top-three podium at all of the first four races, but fifth in France and fourth in Italy meant that he lost second in the overall points table by one point to Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who was third today.
Satellite Honda rider Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda RC213V) was a lone eighth in today’s race, after qualifying 11th and moving through in the early laps. Bautista has a special role, race-testing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by Japanese companies with strong links with Honda.
Second satellite rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) did not finish, after crashing out on the fourth lap. The German rider, former Moto2 World Champion, was the innocent victim of another rider’s error, knocked flying when Cal Crutchlow’s Ducati slid back across the track in his path.
The battle of the production-racer Hondas – close replicas of the factory V4 1000cc machines – lasted to the end, with all three riders in the points, and Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) leading his similarly mounted rivals past the flag in close order, taking 12th to 14th places. This was Abraham’s best result of the year proving that the Czech Republic rider’s recovery from major shoulder surgery is continuing.
Briton Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini RCV1000R) was only one hundredth of a second behind; and former 250 champion Hiro Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R) less than a second behind him. Aoyama’s team-mate Nicky Hayden had already withdrawn from the race after suffering hand problems: the American former MotoGP World Champion will undergo corrective surgery on Tuesday
Spanish title leader Tito Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) was back to his winning ways in Italy in a close-fought Moto2 class, where all riders rely on Honda power having race-tuned CBR600 engines supplied by the organisers to guarantee close and reliable racing.
Rabat won the first and third rounds and was second in the race in between. His third win this year extended his points lead over Marc VDS Racing Team team-mate Mika Kallio, who was sixth today.
Class rookies Luis Salom (Pons HP 40 Kalex) and Jonas Folger (AGR Team Kalex) were second and third. Folger had led away and stayed up front for 13 of the 21 laps before losing ground as he suffered tyre wear.
This left Spanish compatriots Rabat and Salom fighting to the finish, with the former prevailing by less than a quarter of a second.
Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing Kalex) held on to the lead of the next group under severe pressure from Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) and Kallio, with Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham Suter) closing to attack at the end
GP newcomer and reigning World Supersport champion Sam Lowes (Speed Up) was eighth, fending off Austin GP winner Maverick Vinales (Pons HP 40 Kalex) in a late attack. Fellow GP newcomer Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) prevailed over the next group for tenth.
In Moto3, where rival manufacturers compete with strictly controlled 250cc four-stroke engines, the new Honda NSF250RW’s record of podiums was preserved with third place for Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda), after a fierce race with, at one stage, a group of 15 riders to and fro in a huge leading pack.
The chance of a double rostrum or even race win was denied when points leader Jack Miller (KTM) crashed on the final lap, taking erstwhile race leader Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) and another rider down with him. The victory was claimed by Romano Fenati (KTM).in a blanket finish ahead of Isaac Vinales (KTM) and Rins, the three riders crossing the finish line covered by the slim margin of just 0.011 of a second!
The crash broke up the pack, but the first seven still crossed the line within six tenths of a second. Second-best Honda finisher Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) was in the thick of it in sixth, equalling his best finish so far this year.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Ongetta-AirAsia Honda) was 11th, his best finish this year, one place ahead of top rider Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda). Vazquez had started with the leaders, but was given a ride-through penalty after jumping the start, coming back through to 12th in a strong recovery ride.
Wild cards Simone Mazzola (MT Racing FTR Honda) and Anthony Groppi (Pos Corse FTR Honda) finished 24th and 25th.
Second SaxoPrint-RTG Honda rider John McPhee crashed out in the early stages, after leading the race and playing a strong role in the front pack.
The next race is the Catalunyan GP at Montmelo, on the outskirts of Barclona, in two weeks.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st – “I am very happy with this win; Jorge and I had a really good battle and had a lot of fun out there! I wasn’t expecting the victory, because it has come at a circuit that I had marked on the calendar as being one for picking up championship points – not thinking about winning the race. However, I saw that it would be possible and took more risks than at other races, because Jorge and Vale were very fast and we were finding it difficult to keep up the same pace. I think that we did a great job all weekend, and the change that we made to sixth gear in the warm-up was very important too; we did this to help pass using a slipstream at the end of the straight. I am very pleased with how the entire weekend went, and now it is time to look ahead to my home Grand Prix – racing at Montmelo is always special.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th – “It was a tough race and I wasn’t able to get the result that I was hoping for here. My arm is still causing me issues and I wasn’t able to push one hundred percent so thanks to my team for their patience whilst I still recover. The race today was interesting, and I congratulate Marc and Jorge for a nice battle. I think that it is positive to see that we are up there fighting and that we have improved on a few things. Now we have to continue working so that we can be up in the leading group as well, and have some fun with them, but I need to be physically 100 percent to be able to do so. Tomorrow I will go for a check-up with Dr Mir, and hope to be fitter in time for Montmelo in two weeks.”
Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 8th – “We knew it would be a difficult race: this morning during the warm-up we tried to improve but didn’t find anything special. Today I raced with the old front fork, which we used before the post-race test in Jerez, because we thought it would work better with the hard compound front tyre, but actually it didn’t make much difference. The gap from the second group of riders was not very high, I struggled to try to follow them, but at some point I saw that it was not possible and I had to slow down to finish the race. Too bad, because after the podium at Le Mans we were expecting something more: we are in a strange situation, because we are competitive at some tracks and not at others, without making changes to the bike. We must overcome this problem if we want be always competitive. I would like to thank all the team because they did an excellent job, as always, and we hope to return competitive in Barcelona in two weeks’ time.”
Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: 12th – “Well, this is exactly the result we dreamed about. It’s not only about the final position. I enjoyed the race, I fought against the other open Honda riders and all of this is very important for me as well as for the team. I’m little bit disappointed that we can’t fight against Ducati riders. We can beat them in corners, but we don’t have enough power at the straights. I rode almost whole race behind Michele Pirro and couldn’t overtake him. On the contrary I beat Scott Redding riding on the same bike as mine.”
Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 13th – “The beginning of the race was really good. I had a good rhythm and I was running with Aleix Espargaro, and I also overtook him during the race. That is a good step forward for us. But then I got stuck with the Ducatis of Hernandez and Pirro, losing so much time on the straight. I tried to pass them early in the lap in order to make a gap, but it was quite hard. After eight or nine laps I also broke the windscreen, so I had a really bad aerodynamics, and also a lot of turbulence on the head and that made my race more difficult. In the end I’m happy with my race, I’m just disappointed to be behind the two Ducatis and Abraham, because I know we should have got the top ten today.”
Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 14th – “This morning we tried a different setup to that which we used yesterday in the qualifying session. We liked it a lot, so we decided to keep it for the race. But when it came to race time, the condition of the track had changed a lot and the temperature had risen substantially. During the race we suffered from a lack of grip with the rear, and it was hard for me to keep up my pace. I tried to be consistent and stay with the group that I was in. It was difficult and I had two moments in which I was close to crashing. In the end I decided to be prudent, as I wanted to finish the race and keep scoring points.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: DNF – “I am speechless. I was anxious to race here in Mugello but now I want to forget this weekend as soon as possible. This morning I had a massive crash in the warm-up session and I had to deal with the pain in the race, especially the right arm and elbow. The feeling with the bike was good but after the start, in the first corner, I went wide, losing three positions. After that I was preparing to overtake the guys in front of me but suddenly in the second chicane on turn five Crutchlow crashed and his bike tumbled in the track and I was not able to avoid it. His bike hit me in the back and I had another big crash similar to this morning, so I will leave Italy with zero points and a lot of pain. Once again I must thank the team for their efforts and all the LCR supporters for their affection.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo made a stunning return to form today, taking second place in the Gran Premio d’Italia after an epic battle with rival Marc Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi made good on a challenging 10th position grid start to take a well deserved third place podium finish for his 300th Grand Prix appearance.
The drama started before the first corner for Lorenzo as the riders bunched over the crest off the start line. He was quick to recover and fought his way through the first turn to close down and pass Andrea Iannone for the lead.
Having secured the front Lorenzo then proved he was back on form, delivering lap after lap of perfect lines with Marquez in pursuit. Even with less than 0.3 of a second between them it wasn’t until the last seven laps that Marquez was able to make a move. An incredible Spanish duel then began with the two trading places numerous times, Lorenzo always able to answer any attack from Marquez with a response of his own. The two took it to the wire, Marquez entering the last straight slightly ahead and able to hold it to the line, leaving Jorge in second, just 0.121seconds behind.
Home hero Rossi was not to be daunted by a 10th place grid position on his 300th Grand Prix start. The nine-time world champion had taken three positions by the first corner and was up into fifth place by the second lap. He made short work of dispatching Andrea Dovizioso for fourth and then with 20 laps to go passed Iannone to move up into third. By this time Lorenzo and Marquez were too far in front to catch however he remained less than three seconds behind them, hinting at what could have been with a better grid start. He completed the podium in third to the roar of the bumper Mugello crowd, just 2.688 seconds from Marquez.
Lorenzo’s stunning performance takes 20 points and moves him up into fourth in the championship standings on 65 points, 31 behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
Rossi’s impressive comeback from tenth to the podium earns him 16 points and moves him up into second place in the championship standings, 53 behind Marquez.
Pol Espargaro today delivered another impressive performance at the legendary Mugello circuit in Tuscany by riding to a well calculated and expertly executed 5th position for round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. The reigning Moto2 World champion began the challenge from 5th place on the grid and found himself in the leading group, maintaining the same position for the opening laps. As he set into his increasingly confident race pace, the Spaniard kept fighting with vastly more experienced riders such as Andrea Dovisioso and Dani Pedrosa. Honda rider Pedrosa eventually overtook Espargaro, before the rookie remained calm and seized 5th position back by passing Andrea Iannone on lap 18. He then put his head down and put in a series of consistent lap times to ensure that the chasing Dovisioso could not threaten him. Espargaro’s determined efforts saw him cross the line as the leading satellite rider and only a second and a half back from Dani Pedrosa’s 4th position. The 22-year-old’s 5th place at Mugello elevates him to 6th position in the point standings and sees him as leading non-factory MotoGP rider so far in the 2014 Championship.
Bradley Smith’s weekend full of promise ended prematurely with an unfortunate crash during the second lap of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM Grand Prix at Mugello. Having made strides forward during the qualifying and free practice sessions with the Yamaha YZR-M1 that he is increasingly confident with, Smith pulled off a positive qualifying performance of 7th. Here he was in prime contention to confidently battle for the top five and upwards. Yet, after starting the Grand Prix and ending the first lap in 9th Smith’s luck ran out and he fell, drawing a disappointing end to an otherwise highly positive weekend. The 23 year old will head to Catalunya next week where he will intend to amend his lack of fortune at Mugello with a high scoring finish.
The NGM Forward Racing Team closed once again as first open on the fast and demanding Mugello track. It was not an easy race for Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards who finished respectively in 9th and 15th positions. With this result, Aleix maintains the seventh position in the championship with 44 points, while Forward is 4th in the Constructor classification after the three Manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha and Ducati).
Starting from the 4th row, lap by lap Aleix Espargaro recovered some positions and despite struggling during the whole race with the traction control, he succeeded to maintain his position and finish 9th.
It was a tough race also for team mate Colin Edwards, who despite the electronics problems finished the race in 15th position.
Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd, +0.121 – “I’m happy, I could be more happy if I had won but I tried my best. Probably in the last corner I should have stayed more in the inside to try to overtake him on the inside line but I made a mistake and went wider and it was impossible to overtake him on the straight. When I feel physically strong and the bike has a small improvement I can be there and fight with him. We have some margin, some physical condition to improve for me and the bike can make another step so we will get better. I’ve worked really hard to be more physically fit and the team also worked very hard this weekend to give me a great bike, so thank you to them.”
Valentino Rossi – 3rd, 2.688 – “Today was a great day for all the people and for MotoGP. Mugello is one of the greatest race tracks in the world; a lot of people around and the race was very funny with a great battle between Jorge and Marc. I wasn’t too far from them and all the people were happy for my podium. It is a great emotion as always, it was a solid race from fourth row to third. I think I had the chance to battle with them but unfortunately we made a mistake yesterday in practice but we will try in Barcelona again. The podium in Mugello is always fantastic, it’s the most special moment of the season, it’s like a great concert. It’s a great party for MotoGP and motorcycling because the passion in Italy is amazing. This is my 300th GP, so I’m in the middle of my career, another 300 before the end!”
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It was an amazing race; it was great to see Jorge lead from early on and then fight in such an amazing way at the end. He has proved he is back both physically and mentally. He never gave up and he really did everything he could. We finished second but with the same feeling as if a victory. Now we are going to Barcelona, where it looks like it’s going to be another interesting race. Vale rode a really good race. We had some troubles over the weekend and we made it harder for ourselves. Starting from the fourth row he knew he had to push strongly from the beginning and he did so, quickly getting up into third and holding it to the end to take his podium and move up to second in the championship. It has been a good weekend overall for our first home race, I want to thank all the team for their hard work to achieve the results of today. We leave here impressed with the performance of both our riders and looking forward to another strong battle in Barcelona in two weeks time.”
Pol Espargaro – 5th, +15.603 – “Obviously I have to be really happy with today’s result. We managed to finish ‘best of the rest’ just behind the four factory bikes which is a great achievement. I struggled a lot to pass the Ducati of Iannone so unfortunately Dani was already too far ahead and even if I tried to catch him I could not close the gap completely. But I think altogether we really have to be proud of the work done so far, especially considering how the weekend went with two crashes and one session less due to the weather on Friday. The team did a great job and I really want to thank them as we were able to repeat the result from Le Mans. Now we will head full of confidence to my home race in Catalunya where I will give it my all to be even closer to the front than today.”
Bradley Smith – DNF – “I would love to have something more to say, but I think it was just a case of having the wrong tyre. I was using the hard compound in the front that we had previously ran in FP3 and which made me crash after doing a mistake at the last corner. Therefore, the initial feedback was not that great and I much preferred the soft option but as the track conditions were quite hot today we were recommended the use to the hard tyre like everyone else, so we followed the suggestion. Unfortunately though I’m not used to that tyre on this track and also, I felt like it didn’t work with my riding style. The front tucked at the Arrabbiata 1 which was turn 8 but in all honesty there wasn’t much I could do about it. It’s very frustrating as I had the race pace to get a really good result but from the first lap I could feel that things weren’t going to plan. Now we will wait for Barcelona where I am confident that everything will improve.”
Aleix Espargaro – 9th, +41.886 – “It was a difficult race. We struggled the whole weekend with the electronics control and today in particular I had a problem with the traction control. I couldn’t push and control the bike as I wanted so I tried to maintain the calm and get the best possible result. We will keep on working and I hope that we can make a step forward for the next race in Catalunya, my home GP.”
Colin Edwards – 15th, +1’09.554 – “The good point was actually that we did finish the race after having struggled with fuel problems from the beginning of the season. I’m satisfied for this, but we need to keep on working with the electronics because today we struggled a lot with the traction control and the bike was sliding a lot. Anyway this weekend we did a complete test with the new chassis. Now we will look at the data and we will keep on working at Montmelo.”
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 23-23°C; Track 46-47°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez maintained his perfect victory record in 2014 at the Italian Grand Prix, after narrowly beating Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo to the chequered flag at Mugello.
Marquez and Lorenzo traded the race lead numerous times in an exciting dogfight at the front of the field, with Marquez squeezing his way past Lorenzo on the entry into turn one on the final lap for the race-winning pass. The battle between the two Spanish stars continued all the way to the finish line with Marquez taking the chequered flag 0.120 seconds ahead of Lorenzo. Rounding out the podium in his three-hundredth Grand Prix appearance was Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who carved through the field after starting from tenth on the grid. All riders on the podium used the combination of the medium compound front and rear slicks.
Today’s Italian Grand Prix took place under sunny skies, with track temperatures reaching a slightly higher level than recorded yesterday, with a high of 47°C at the start of the race. Race tyre choice was practically a carbon-copy of what the riders used during yesterday’s Free Practice 4 session, with all of the riders selecting the medium compound front slick for the race. Rear tyre choice for the race was almost evenly split across the field, with twelve of the twenty-three riders selecting the soft compound rear slick, and the remaining eleven riders opting for the medium compound rear slick.
Marquez now has 150 championship points and enjoys a fifty-three point lead over Rossi, who moves up to second place in the standings following his third successive podium. Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa now sits third on the championship table and one point adrift of Rossi, after finishing in fourth place at Mugello.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “That was an amazing race between two riders at the peak of their powers. Congratulations to Honda and Marc for taking another victory, and also to Yamaha for their strong showing this weekend with two riders on the podium. Today’s race was a special treat for MotoGP fans around the world and having such a close battle at the front of the field will surely help ensure a large crowd at the next race in Montmelo.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “Track temperatures today were almost the same as yesterday, which resulted in every rider using their favoured tyre combination from Saturday’s practice sessions. As expected, the medium compound front slick was the standard choice for the whole grid, and only the soft and medium rear slicks were used by riders today. I am really happy with how our tyres performed today, as quite a few riders were able to set their quickest lap in the second half of the race and the whole of the field experiencing little drop off in performance over the twenty-three lap race distance.”
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda – Race Winner – “I think this was the toughest race of the year for me, I struggled particularly in the beginning of the race and Jorge was really strong in the middle of the corner, he was able to keep a strong pace. But then, with the used tyre I started to feel better and in the warm-up we made a small change to my gearing which worked very well in the race. I’m very happy for the team as well, as the change they made to my bike helped me to victory. We will enjoy this moment and go now to the next race at my home track ready to fight for another victory.”