Mattia Pasini (ITA) celebrates his first win since 2009
Remy Gardner in the points at Mugello
2017 MotoGP content on MCNews.com.au brought to you by Honda Genuine
2017 MotoGP content on MCNews.com.au brought to you by Honda Genuine
MotoGP 2017 - Round Six - Mugello - Italian GP - Moto2 - Image by AJRN
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 – Image by AJRN
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 Race Report

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) has taken his first victory in the World Championship since 2009 at the Italian GP, coming out on top in style after a fight to the flag against Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). The three men crossed the line covered by just over a tenth in one of the closest Moto2 races of the season so far.

MotoGP 2017 - Round Six - Mugello - Italian GP - Moto2 Race Results Mattia Pasini (ITA - Kalex) 39'30.974 Thomas Lüthi (SWI - Kalex) + 0.052 Alex Márquez (SPA - Kalex) + 0.136
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 Race Results
Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) 39’30.974
Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) + 0.052
Alex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) + 0.136
Image by AJRN

It was tight into Turn 1 but there were no changes in the top three on the grid past the first corner, before Pasini struck for the lead soon after to cross the line in P1 first time round, ahead of polesitter Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Marquez.

Tom Luthi and Alex Marquez chase Mattia Pasini at Mugello - Image by AJRN
Tom Luthi and Alex Marquez chase Mattia Pasini at Mugello – Image by AJRN

Drama then struck on the first lap just behind the front three, as Forward Racing Team’s Lorenzo Baldassarri highsided into Turn 15 – collecting title hopeful Takaaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) as the two tumbled out into the gravel, but both riders escaped the incident unharmed.

Back at the front, Marquez took Morbidelli for second to settle into the rhythm behind Pasini, as Lüthi pushed to stay with and catch the front trio. Marquez then took the lead, Pasini hit back, and the front four found themselves the pacesetters as they pulled over two and a half seconds clear of chasing Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P5.

Mattia Pasini battles with Alex Marquez - Image by AJRN
Mattia Pasini battles with Alex Marquez – Image by AJRN

Morbidelli then began to drop back, trailing the top three by over a second as the trio at the head of the pack held station. Then, the race burst back into life as Pasini, Marquez and Lüthi took the gloves off, with a three-way fight for the win lighting up Mugello.

As the final lap dawned, Lüthi struck for the lead in spectacular style, but Pasini dug in on home turf. Having been pushed back to third, the Italian pulled his almost signature move on Marquez through Casanovi and Savelli, before striking against Lüthi straight after. Ahead as the end of the lap appeared, Pasini kept himself clear in the lead and pushed hard through the final corners to hold it over the line as the two men behind tried to slipstream.

Mattia Pasini - Image by AJRN
Mattia Pasini – Image by AJRN

The Italian took his first win in the Moto2 class and his first win since the 250 race at Mugello in 2009 by only 0.052 over Lüthi, with Marquez only another 0.084 back after the incredible showdown.

Álex Márquez – P3

“The last lap was incredible and I pushed as hard as I could but maybe I thought too much about it. I saved my tyres for the final lap but in the end it was not enough, Pasini had unbelievable rhythm for the whole race. I’m happy to be on the podium in Italy and score some very important points for the championship and now we go to my home race in Barcelona.”

Alex Marquez - Image by AJRN
Alex Marquez – Image by AJRN

Morbidelli came home in a solid fourth place as he kept it calm to take home good points for his Championship charge, ahead of an equally lonely ride for Miguel Oliveira to take yet another top finish in fifth.

Image by AJRN
Image by AJRN

Franco Morbidelli – P4

“I had to be intelligent today because I didn’t have the best pace. The front guys were faster than me so I had to focus on getting points for the championship. The good thing is that the next race in Barcelona is only a week away so I’m looking forward to improving our set-up and having the pace to challenge for the win there.”

Franco Morbidelli pictured here holding down third place behind Marquez and Pasini. Luthi would eventually overcome both Morbidelli and Marquez to finish second. - Image by AJRN
Franco Morbidelli pictured here holding down third place behind Marquez and Pasini. Luthi would eventually overcome both Morbidelli and Marquez to finish second. – Image by AJRN

Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) just pipped Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing) over the line to sixth, with Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) taking eighth on home soil. Top rookie was an impressive weekend from Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) to cross the line in ninth, after key rookie rival Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) crashed out late on.

Image by AJRN
Image by AJRN

Reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a stunning comeback from his arm injury to take tenth, riding for the first time since Argentina and putting on an impressive show.

Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) were 11th to 13th respectively, with Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) finding some better luck to come home in P14. 

Remy Gardner #87 was in the mix at Mugello
Remy Gardner #87 was in the mix at Mugello

Remy Gardner did well all weekend, taking 11th on the grid ahead of the 21 lap race despite a tumble in the closing stages of the qualifying session.

Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner

A solid warm up kept confidence high and with 100,000 fans packed into the Tuscan hills the Moto2 race got off to a great start with the #87 soon in the middle of the fight for the top ten.  

Remy Gardner #87 was in the mix at Mugello
Remy Gardner #87 was in the mix at Mugello

As the race progressed the front end chatter which has plagued him all season, and which caused his qualifying spill, coupled with some pain in his forearm prevented any further push forward.

Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner

Gardner eventually took the flag in 14th to notch up his first Moto2 World Championship points of the season and his first for the Tech3 Moto2 Racing Team.

Remy Gardner
Remy Gardner

Remy Gardner – P14

“It was great to open my 2017 account in Mugello but it was a disappointing final result. I was really tired at the end of the race and I felt that I was lacking some acceleration compared to the others so I struggled to get close enough to make a pass on the other riders around me. By the time I made it through the group had gone so I couldn’t make any more progress. A decent weekend overall after qualifying 11th but I wanted more. However, we will leave Mugello with my first point scoring finish on the Mistral 610 and we have to be happy about that. I am sure that Montmelo will be positive and that we can iron out some of the small chatter issues that we still have. Big thanks to the team and to all my sponsors and to everyone sending so many tweets and messages. See you all in Spain!”

Remy Gardner - Image by AJRN
Remy Gardner – Image by AJRN

Now it’s Marquez turf at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, as the Championship closes back up a little on the road back from Mugello.

MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 Race Results
  1. Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) 39’30.974
  2. Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) + 0.052
  3. Alex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) + 0.136
MotoGP 2017 - Round Six - Mugello - Italian GP - Moto2 Race Results Mattia Pasini (ITA - Kalex) 39'30.974 Thomas Lüthi (SWI - Kalex) + 0.052 Alex Márquez (SPA - Kalex) + 0.136
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 Race Results
Mattia Pasini (ITA – Kalex) 39’30.974
Thomas Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) + 0.052
Alex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) + 0.136
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP – Moto2 Championship Standings
  1. Franco MORBIDELLI Kalex ITA 113
  2. Thomas LUTHI Kalex SWI 100
  3. Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 78
  4. Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 70
  5. Francesco BAGNAIA Kalex ITA 53
  6. Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 49
  7. Dominique AEGERTER Suter SWI 46
  8. Takaaki NAKAGAMI Kalex JPN 41
  9. Luca MARINI Kalex ITA 41
  10. Simone CORSI Speed Up ITA 35
  11. Xavi VIERGE Tech 3 SPA 32
  12. Marcel SCHROTTER Suter GER 32
  13. Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 26
  14. Hafizh SYAHRIN Kalex MAL 23
  15. Fabio QUARTARARO Kalex FRA 13
  16. Yonny HERNANDEZ Kalex COL 13
  17. Brad BINDER KTM RSA 13
  18. Jorge NAVARRO Kalex SPA 13
  19. Axel PONS Kalex SPA 13
  20. Sandro CORTESE Suter GER 10
  21. Ricard CARDUS KTM SPA 7
  22. Jesko RAFFIN Kalex SWI 5
  23. Xavier SIMEON Kalex BEL 5
  24. Isaac VIÑALES Kalex SPA 3
  25. Danny KENT Suter GBR 3
  26. Remy GARDNER Tech 3 AUS 2
  27. Tetsuta NAGASHIMA Kalex JPN 1