Jorge Lorenzo sealed victory in today’s Gran Premio D’Italia TIM at the world famous Mugello circuit with the Yamaha Factory Racing man wining the race by a country mile over Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa who hung onto second position ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 ‘s Cal Crutchlow who was gifted the final podium position after Marc Marquez crashed out of second place in the dying laps of the race.
It’s very special; I won the last three years here so this track is magic for me.
Andrea Dovizioso didn’t start so well from his year best start of 3rd position on his Ducati Racing GP13 and was battling with Crutchlow early on with Nicky Hayden close behind on the second factory Ducati. Crutchlow left the Ducati's behind who were now being reeled in by LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl who was fighting back from a bad start and within a couple of laps the German rider was in front of both Ducati’s. The CRT battle was being dominated by Aleix Espargaro and the Power Electronics Aspar team and the Spanish rider was also leading Ducati test rider Michele Pirro, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Randy De Puniet (Power Electronics Aspar), Avintia Blusens rider Hector Barbera and Danilo Petrucci for the Came IodaRacing Project team.
The race became stretched out early on with the leading three riders out on their own and running in formation for most of the first half of the race. Lorenzo was solid in his defense of the lead despite a 7kmph defecit on the start finish straight with Crutchlow well behind in 4th and Bradl leading the Ducati riders. With 10 laps to go Lorenzo now begun to build his lead with over a second gap created within one lap and he continued to stretch the lead while Pedrosa looked to be encountering some difficulties with his RC213V and Marquez ready to pounce at any second.
The battles behind the front men were mostly fizzled out in the last couple of laps with the only real fight left was the one between Bradl and Dovizioso with Dovi trying his best to get passed the German but no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t get the better of the satellite Honda rider. Pirro was also passed Espargaro who claimed another CRT victory. Back at the front Lorenzo cruised over the finish line to the delight of his team and fans while Pedrosa sealed an important second place with Crutchlow thrilled to seal another podium finish.
Lorenzo was thrilled to have won three times in a row now at Mugello and he also dedicated the win to Yamaha President Shigeto Kitagawa. “The conditions and the circumstances were good for us and I didn't make a mistake,” said Lorenzo while continuing, “I made my best performance even if the conditions were much hotter than this morning. We are still struggling so much when the conditions get hotter. Anyway the key of the race was in the middle where I improved my riding, I was able to brake later with less fuel in the tank so I was able to improve the lap time by two tenths, from this moment Dani gave up a little pace and I could get away and win the race, more or less like last year. It’s very special; I won the last three years here so this track is magic for me and very positive for Yamaha. It also reminds us to keep working on the bike as at the tracks which are not so flowing like Mugello we will struggle.
I’m very happy to give this win to Yamaha Motor Racing President Shigeto Kitagawa because this was his last race here in Grand Prix, as he will retire. He has done a great job for the team in the last years and it is a big loss for us. I hope he will enjoy the different life he will have. Our president Yanagi-san is also lucky for me, I won the 2010 Championship in Malaysia when he was there on the track and again today a victory with his presence,” Lorenzo added.
Pedrosa was happy to have come away from the race with 20 points and is now the points leader in this year’s championship. Speaking afterwards he said, “I didn't feel fully comfortable in the race today, but I'm happy because I was able to gain a large number of points. In general, this was a difficult weekend. The back tire was giving me a lot of problems with grip but taking 20 points from this race and maintaining the lead the World Championship is something positive.”
Crutchlow was delighted to have sealed another podium finish especially at the Mugello round. “I am really happy to be back on the podium because Mugello is one of the blue riband races on the calendar and that makes it feel a bit more special. It is an awesome result and I have to pay a big tribute to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew who did an incredible job this weekend. I've not felt comfortable on the bike but today they gave me a package that was really competitive. In the second half of the race I was really strong and consistent and I could see for the last 10 laps I had the pace that was bringing me closer to Dani and Marc.
Pedrosa now leads the MotoGP championship with 103 points with Lorenzo now in second on 91 points and Marquez is in third with 77 points. MotoGP now travels to Barcelona, Spain for the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya on 16th June.