After last years Moto3 race in Mugello gave us the closest finish ever to a grand prix race this years proceedings had a lot to live up to but again Moto3 was action filled from start to finish with Miguel Oliveira holding on for his first win, writing himself into the history books as the first Portuguese rider to win a world championship race.
Straight after in Moto2 from just lap seven it was all about Tito Rabat who surged ahead before a last lap challenge came from championship leader Johann Zarco, with Rabat holding firm to take his first win this season, in his 150thgrand prix start.
|Rabat romps home in Mugello Photo: EG0,0 Marc VDS
From the very first corner to the very last lap the lead frantically changed hands in one of the most manic Moto3 races of the season in Mugello. The lead group expanded and contracted from as large as 16 to as small as five as riders passed, swapped paint and fell back, leaving the result of the race to again be decided on the final lap.
It appeared no-one wanted to lead on the final lap when slipstreaming was proving to be a crucial advantage but Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira took on the dubious task after a previous run showed he was able to stay ahead if he could maintain enough of a gap and a good block position.
The Portuguese rider then did just that with enough of a gap to keep his closest rivals behind despite picking up speed in his shadow and a block finalised his first race win, an emotional event as the first rider from Portugal to do so.
Danny Kent had been in just about every position within the lead group and had hoped the drag from the slipstream would be enough, but the Leopard Racing rider fell just short with his Honda second.
Romano Fenati also failed to find a way around, blocked by Oliveira so he could not take full advantage of the tow for the Sky Racing VR46 Team in third.
At the line Fenati had not only the win in mind, but a close finish with Francesco Bagnaia to deal with, just thousandths between the Italians at home as the Mahindra rider maneuvered into fourth. Another Italian, Niccolo Antonelli, took the flag fifth for Ongetta-Rivacold.
Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) finished seventh, Isaac Vinales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) eighth, Alexis Masbou (saxoPrint-RTG) recovered from a terrible qualifying for ninth with early leader Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also enjoying a top ten finish.
Leopard’s Hiroki Ono took eleventh and RBA’s Niklas Ajo 12th. Gresini’s Andrea Locatelli was handed 13th after a photo finish demoted RW Racing’s Livio Loi to 14th. Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) took the final point.
John McPhee struggled and finished off the pace in 20th as the Briton and his team continue to look for improvements.
A big crash at the end saw Karel Hanika and Efren Vazquez fall out of the points positions, with Fabio Quartararo also crashing out earlier in the race.
It took just seven laps for the consistent, dominant Tito Rabat to hit the front, taking his first win of the season at his 150th grand prix finish.
The EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider remained untouchable until the final lap when Johann Zarco finally caught the Spanish reigning champion, with Rabat having enough left in the tank to stay in front and re-establish his lead.
Ajo Motorsport rider Zarco remains top of the world championship standings, though Rabat is now his closest rival in second.
Dominique Aegerter had been the early race leader and held on well for third for the Technomag Racing Interwetten team. It is the Swiss riders first podium of the season and his first since switching to the Kalex chassis, giving the manufacturer a clean sweep of the rostrum spots.
Pole man Sam Lowes came in fourth for the Speed Up team at their home race after an earlier incident which lead to contact with Simone Corsi saw him have to come back from a drop to tenth.
Luis Salom enjoyed his best result of the season in fifth for Paginas Amarillas HP 40 after battling hard with Gresini’s Xavier Simon who crossed the line in sixth.
Seventh went to Julian Simon (QMMF Racing), eighth to Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and ninth to Axel Pons, the best result for the AGR rider this season.
After several wobbles and a trip through the gravel Lorenzo Baldassarri held on for tenth place for Athina Forward Racing.
The former Moto3 rivals Alex Rins and Alex Marquez were again locked in battle with Pons rider Rins edging out EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Marquez in 11th and 12th respectively.
The remaining points went to Taka Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in 13th, Randy Krummenacher (Athina Forward Racing) in 14th and Idemitsu’s Azlan Shah picking up his first point in 15th.
The race saw several big names go out of contention early with Tom Luthi, Simone Corsi, Jonas Folger and the Italtrans team-mates Franco Morbidelli and Mika Kallio all returning to the pits early.
For the full Moto3 race result click here
For the full Moto2 race result click here