Peerless Pedrosa Rules Magnificent Mugello Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a super start-to-finish victory at the Italian Grand Prix and was joined on the podium by team-mate and local hero Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) who had a...
Peerless Pedrosa Rules Magnificent Mugello
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) won a super start-to-finish victory at the Italian Grand Prix and was joined on the podium by team-mate and local hero Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) who had a race-long duel with eventual runner-up Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
The race completed a great weekend for Honda, with no less than four Honda men in the top six at this most challenging of racetracks: Pedrosa and Dovizioso plus Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) in fifth spot and Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) in sixth.
Pedrosa's first win of 2010 and his ninth success in MotoGP came on the back of another brilliant ride in yesterday's qualifying session, when he scored his second pole position of the year. His victory and Dovizioso's strong showing prove once again that Honda is making significant progress with the development of its RC212V MotoGP bike.
Pedrosa's race was typically faultless. The former 125cc and 250cc World Champion didn't put a wheel wrong as he steadily pulled away from his pursuers, establishing a new lap record along the way. At two thirds distance he was almost eight seconds ahead, then eased his pace in the final laps to cross the line 4.014 seconds in front of championship points leader Lorenzo. The win moved him to second overall in the points chase.
Dovizioso enjoyed a thrilling battle with Lorenzo, chasing hard from the start, then charging past on lap three. He stayed in second place for three laps, but then Lorenzo fought back. As the race went on, Dovizioso stayed close to Lorenzo, and even when the gap crew, he managed to close it down again. In the end, however, the Italian didn't quite have the pace to mount a final attack and crossed the line two seconds behind. The result was his third podium from the first four races.
The three-way battle for fourth place was a hugely entertaining highlight of the race, with Melandri and de Puniet fighting with 2009 Mugello winner Casey Stoner (Ducati) all the way, the trio watched from a small distance by rookie Ben Spies (Yamaha). Top privateer De Puniet was riding an inspired race and managed to work his way into fourth place, but in the final stages he slipped back behind Stoner and Melandri, who lost out to Stoner on the last lap. Melandri's ride was particularly remarkable, since he had struggled in practice and only qualified 14th.
Rookies Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) also enjoyed exciting races. Simoncelli gave himself a lot of work to do by making contact with a rival and running into a gravel trap on the very first lap, but the former 250 World Champion fought back with great spirit, lapping at the same pace as the riders going for fourth place. He passed five riders on his way to ninth place, his best MotoGP finish so far. Reigning 250 World Champion Aoyama suffered grip issues and finished 11th, less than two seconds down on Simoncelli after an interesting confrontation with Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) and Hector Barbera (Ducati).
The race was run in the absence of reigning MotoGP World Champion and nine-time Mugello winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who crashed heavily at the Biondetti esses during yesterday morning's practice session. Rossi broke his right tibia in the 170km/h fall and has since undergone surgery. The Italian is expected to be out of action for several months.
Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) won an extraordinary victory in the Moto2 race, escaping from the pack at the start to run away out front while the rest of the field jostled for position some way behind. By three-quarters distance the 20-year-old Italian had amassed a lead of seven seconds -- a massive advantage in this ultra-close, Honda-powered World Championship.
Yesterday Iannone took pole position by an impressive margin, yet few people expected him to be able to repeat his performance in race conditions, especially at a track like Mugello where chasing riders can take advantage of the leader's slipstream. But today no one even got close enough to Iannone to get into his draft.
Sergio Gadea (Tenerife 40 Pons, Pons Kalex) won a frantic five-man battle for second place, making up two positions on the final lap to take his first Moto2 podium. He just edged out Simone Corsi (Jir Moto2, Motobi), taking a second consecutive third place, Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Moriwaki Moto2, Moriwaki), Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) and Shoya Tomizawa (Technomag-CIP, Suter). The five riders crossed the finish line covered by just 1.1 seconds, having swapped positions throughout the 21-lap race.
Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) had also been in the contest for second place until he lost touch with the group to finish a lonely seventh, some way ahead of a six-man skirmish for eighth won by Yuki Takahashi (Tech 3 Racing, Tech 3). The Japanese rider was followed past the chequered flag in quick succession by Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter), Alex Debon (Aeroport de Castello-Ajo, FTR), Alex De Angelis (RSM Team Scot, Force GP210), Hector Faubel (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter) and Alex Baldolini (Caretta Technology Race Dept, I.C.P.).
The 125 GP was won by Marc Marquez (Derbi) from Nicolas Terol (Aprilia) with Pol Espargaro third in a blanket four rider finish, Bradley Smith (Aprilia), race winner in 2009, the man to miss out on a podium place.
Marcel Schrotter, Interwetten Honda 125, making his Mugello debut, continued the steady progress and smooth pace he had built up during practice and qualifying and put it to good use in the race. Having qualified his RS125R Honda in 18th place the 17 year old Bavarian got the fast start he needed and was with the group contesting 10th place at the end of the opening lap. Schrotter was riding within his limit but ran wide at one corner late in the race losing valuable time. The mistake left him with too much to do to rejoin the group and he had to settle for 13th at the flag scoring three world championship points.
The MotoGP World Championship now heads north and across the English Channel for the British GP at Silverstone on June 20. The British event is followed by two more races on consecutive weekends: the Dutch TT on June 26 and the Catalan GP on July 4.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC212V: 1st
"It's an unbelievable feeling to win again and I'm so happy for myself and the Repsol Honda Team. We've been working really hard and we had some problems through the winter and in the first races, so I'm really delighted with this victory, especially after leading at Jerez for so long but not quite making it. It looks like we are back near where we need to be and the team deserves the victory. I had a great feeling on the bike today, especially at the beginning section of the race and I could open up a gap. To be honest I didn't see who was behind me, I just looked for the gap on my pit board and tried to ride consistently. It's important that we are competitive now because we have one weekend off and then three races in a row. The next race is at Silverstone which is a legendary track so I hope that we can match this kind of performance there - and also that this part of England has better weather! I'd like to thank the team again for this result. And I also want to thank the fans here for pushing for Valentino because he's having a hard time and everyone in the paddock wishes him well."
Andrea Dovizioso, Repsol Honda RC212V: 3rd
"It's so special to be on the podium at Mugello in front of my home crowd because I've never made the podium in MotoGP here -- I always had to watch it on the TV in the garage! It was a really emotional experience up there with all the fans supporting us. I made a good start and this was really important for my race. I wanted to finish the race fighting with Lorenzo because I think it could have been a good battle on the last lap, but I couldn't catch him. We are getting closer to the front but we are not quite there yet and we have to take the next step so that we can fight for victories. Three podium finishes is a good start to the season and is very important for the championship, and it's thanks to the hard work we've done over the winter and in the first races. I'd like to say congratulations to Dani on the win because he had an incredible pace, and this is an extra motivation for us to take that extra step forward so we can fight for the win."
Marco Melandri, San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V: 5th
"We've struggled more at Mugello than we did in France but after the warm-up this morning I knew I was in better shape and I'm happy to have been able to produce a race like that. I honestly didn't think I'd be battling with Stoner and De Puniet today because I thought they would both have a higher pace than me but we did a great job. I got a fantastic start and other than losing a little time behind Hayden my pace was good. I want to thank the team, who have suffered in silence all weekend, and this result shows that in future we can never lose faith in our possibilities in a race, even when things don't go our way in practice. Now the target is to improve during practice and make sure we're in even better shape to race."
Randy de Puniet, LCR Honda RC212V: 6th
"A top six finish was my target for this race but I am a bit upset because I could have got fourth position. After the start I pushed hard because in the middle of the first lap I was only 12th and wanted to recover some positions. On second lap I crossed the line in eighth and starting a close battle with Melandri and Stoner throughout the race. I tried to take some advantage but it was impossible so I did my best to keep my fourth place. In the last two laps my bike started to shake on the exit of the final turn and I lost a lot of drive so Casey and Marco overtook me. We are still sixth in the classification which is good for me and the Team."
Marco Simoncelli, San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V: 9th
"If it wasn't for the mistake on the first lap I would have been right up there today. I was behind Hayden when he passed Espargaro but I couldn't quite make it through -- there wasn't enough space and I miscalculated it. We touched and I ran off the track. Thankfully I stayed upright in the gravel and got back on the track. My pace wasn't as good as yesterday but there were other riders with more problems than me. I gritted my teeth and slowly but surely the guys in front of me got closer. I never gave up and on the last few laps I got past them -- I'm delighted. I have finished one place higher than Le Mans but the important thing for us today is that if it wasn't for a stupid mistake I would have been running with Melandri, De Puniet and Stoner competing for fourth place. "
Hiroshi Aoyama, Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V: 11th
"The race was not easy for me. I had a quite good start and was able to go with the group for some laps, but then I didn't have grip anymore and I could not keep my lap times. It was so hot today and that is exhausting. Many riders crashed. But this time I didn't make any mistakes in the race. I just hope that next time I can have a better race."
Andrea Iannone, Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up: 1st
"A fantastic day, a perfect day. To do this in front of all the Italian fans, it couldn't be better. I got out front and pushed very hard to make the break from the other guys. If you have an advantage in this class you have to take it. I'm very happy, I'd like to thank everyone, especially the people in the team who worked so hard over the winter to get this all set up. At Le Mans we were already beginning to understand things, to find a good direction on set-up, but I still didn't think this could happen here at Mugello. I wasn't easy to get the bike set up at the first races, but this is the result, the prize!"
Sergio Gadea, Tenerife 40 Pons, Pons Kalex: 2nd
"This is my first podium in Moto2 so of course I am very excited. The race was great -- Elias and Luthi were leaving nothing to spare, and I was looking over shoulder a lot. It was an incredible race to be involved in. We are improving a lot at the moment; we have gone from less to more. My Kalex chassis is working very well, it's very consistent, which is what we want."
Simone Corsi, Jir Moto2, Motobi: 3rd
"Today I scored my second podium in a row, so you can see that I am really enjoying Moto2 at the moment. We had some tyre problems in qualifying yesterday but we were able to get things sorted for the race. It was an amazing race, I started so far back and really enjoyed working my way through the pack. I hope the fans enjoyed that too."
Marcel Schrotter, Interwetten Honda 125:13th.
"I had a good start and I could connect to the group right away. In the first lap I used the slipstream and I could make up some places. Then I stayed in the position and fought for it. I was able to stay with the group without being at the limit. Then I went a bit too wide and touched the grass, so I had to brake. I could not make this up again and I lost the battle for Top 10."