Battle of the year sees Lorenzo push Marquez all the way with Rossi in third
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez sealed his sixth win from six starts after a thrilling Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello that saw the reigning MotoGP World Champion going head to head with Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo with both Spaniards pushing eachother to the absolute limit while taking the third step on the podium was Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi.
I am very happy with this win; Jorge and I had a really good battle and had a lot of fun out there!
The second third of the race saw Lorenzo out in front being chased by Marquez who had dispatched of Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone while Rossi was also quick to move past his fellow Italians in order to give himself hope of catching Marquez. While the front-runners were busy stretch their lead on the rest of the field, there was bad luck for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Bradley Smith early on while Hector Barbera (Avintia Blusens) also crashed out of the race.
There was a big incident for Stefan Bradl in the middle of the race when Cal Crutchlow went down and his Ducati GP14 slid across the track leaving LCR Honda’s Bradl with nowhere to go and colliding with the machine sending the German rider into the air. By this stage Pedrosa was moving back up towards the front and was in 4th place in the final third of the race but a country mile off Rossi who was in a solitary third position with the seven times MotoGP champion unable to make any improvements on his pace with Marquez and Lorenzo out on their own at the front.
Marquez was delighted with his victory and also his first real battle of 2014. He said, “I am very happy with this win; Jorge and I had a really good battle and had a lot of fun out there! I wasn’t expecting the victory, because it has come at a circuit that I had marked on the calendar as being one for picking up Championship points – not thinking about winning the race. However, I saw that it would be possible and took more risks than at other races, because Jorge and Vale were very fast and we were finding it difficult to keep up the same pace.
I think that we did a great job all weekend, and the change that we made to sixth gear in the warm-up was very important too; we did this to help pass using a slipstream at the end of the straight. I am very pleased with how the entire weekend went, and now it is time to look ahead to my home Grand Prix - racing at Montmelo is always special,” Marquez added.
Lorenzo fought side by side with Marquez until being passed with seven laps to go which sparked the best battle of the year with the two times MotoGP champion narrowly missing out on his first win of the year and speaking afterwards he said, “I’m happy, I could be more happy if I had won but I tried my best. Probably in the last corner I should have stayed more in the inside to try to overtake him on the inside line but I made a mistake and went wider and it was impossible to overtake him on the straight.
Despite being unable to catch the front two riders, Rossi secured his 187th podium on his 300th Grand Prix with a solid third position to the delight of the masses of his fans that made the annual pilgrimage to see their hero race. Speaking afterwards he said, “Today was a great day for all the people and for MotoGP. Mugello is one of the greatest racetracks in the world; a lot of people around and the race was very funny with a great battle between Jorge and Marc. I wasn’t too far from them and all the people were happy for my podium. It is a great emotion as always, it was a solid race from fourth row to third.
I think I had the chance to battle with them but unfortunately we made a mistake yesterday in practice but we will try in Barcelona again. The podium in Mugello is always fantastic, it's the most special moment of the season, it’s like a great concert. It's a great party for MotoGP and motorcycling because the passion in Italy is amazing. This is my 300th GP, so I’m in the middle of my career, another 300 before the end!” Rossi added.