Under the scorching sun of Mugello for round 5 of the MotoGP World Championship, the near 80,000 strong audience at the Italian circuit had high hopes for their hometown hero, Valentino Rossi. These hopes and expectations were very short lived following a turn two incident on the first lap between the 9-time world champion and Gresini Honda rider, Alvaro Bautista, which sent them both tumbling into the gravel traps.
|Lorenzo took his second win of the season
Meanwhile, Rossi’s team mate Lorenzo put a firm pass on holeshot-man Dani Pedrosa to take the lead in the first half of the lap, to which there was no reply. The duo were closely followed by Marquez, Dovizioso, Crutchlow and Hayden but by the end of the first lap the front three had entered hyperspace, leaving the Crutchlow and the Ducatis to scrap for 4th.
By the end of the second lap, Crutchlow had managed to pass Dovizioso into 4th and form a gap between himself, the pursuing Ducatis and LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl. The German swiftly made his way through on the factory Ducati duo a lap later but was unable to pull away and catch Crutchlow.
By lap 12 it was clear that the Yamaha wasn’t suffering from a serious speed deficit up against the Repsol Hondas down the straight, with both Pedrosa and Lorenzo matching top speeds of 337kph in the speed trap. The next lap saw the current world champion put in his first 1m 47s lap of the race, with the Hondas unable to respond to the change in pace, Lorenzo pulled away leaving an 8 tenths gap come the next lap.
Marquez was evidently being held up by his team mate Pedrosa at this point and began crawling all over the back of his compatriot. After several big glances up the inside, the rookie made his move into the Casanova Savelli and immediately began to pull away. A couple of laps later and just 2 laps before the end of the race at the same corner, Marquez suffered his 4th crash of the weekend, meaning that he would not become the first rider ever to attain 5 consecutive podiums in the premier class.
Lorenzo took the win ahead of Pedrosa, with the crash from Marquez shifting Crutchlow up into 3rd position and his second consecutive podium of the season. However, given his pace it could well have been a ‘second-second position’ for Crutchlow as he was consistently lapping much quicker than Pedrosa in front of him.
Behind the front trio, Bradl managed to hold off Dovizioso and Hayden, with Michelle Pirro bringing home the laboratory Ducati in 7th. Aleix Espargaro on the CRT finished in 8th less than a second ahead of walking wounded Bradley Smith in a very respectable 9th place.
The incident between Bautista and Rossi is under investigation, but given the lack of action taken by Race Direction in the Marquez/Lorenzo incident, we doubt that anything will come of it…
A full list of results and times can be found here.