The highly-winged machines managed to finally change to predominant colour on the top step of the podium. A predictable result did not make the race any less tense though, especially for the Ducati garage, the Italian team waiting for twenty-eight laps to take their first victory in six years, with the last victor, Casey Stoner, waiting to congratulate Andrea Iannone on his first race win in MotoGP.
Andrea Dovizioso completed the 1-2 for Ducati, failing to win on his 250th grand prix start but gifting himself a bittersweet second place trophy. The Yamaha riders looked like challenging the boys in red for much of the race but Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for third, making a welcome comeback to the podium after several disappointing races.
The start was a good omen for Iannone, the Italian keeping the lead as Marquez ran Lorenzo wide into turn one but both recover in their starting positions. The Yamahas and Ducatis soon got embroiled in a feisty battle at the front, the four riders constantly switching positions, the pack keeping together closely behind them.
Once Rossi dropped into fourth, Marc Marquez forgot he was supposed to be injured and the two started to battle ahead of Viñales, the top six starting to get a bit of a gap to the rest.
At the top, Lorenzo was the one to take the fight to Iannone, the duo exchanging the leadership several times, before Dovizioso found a way around the reigning world champion to trail his teammate.
The race seemed to settle into a rhythm with twenty laps to go: the two Ducatis at the front, the Yamahas following, Marquez and Vinales completing the main challengers.
With eighteen laps to go, Dovizioso hit the front for the first time, Marquez and Viñales dropping out of the podium fight, the Honda rider holding off his fellow Spaniard for fifth position, as he started to feel the consequences of his shoulder injury. With Lorenzo in third and Rossi in fourth, the order settled for a while despite the Bologna boys failing to shake off the Yamaha riders.
With eight laps left, Lorenzo and Rossi started to lose ground, leaving the red bikes to fight it off between themselves. Iannone got back in front into turn nine, his teammate keeping close but failing to find a way around him. Despite using the softer tyre combination, the Italian did not fade away as the race progressed, setting fastest times and red sectors into the final laps, never losing the lead again.
Rossi narrowly missed on the podium but had a comfortable gap to Marquez. With Vinales taking home sixth place, Dani Pedrosa inherited seventh once Hector Barbera was black-flagged for failing to come in following a jump start penalty. The Spaniard built a sizeable gap in front of Redding in eighth but could not make up the lost ground to his teammate and Vinales.
The Tech3 bikes completed the top ten, Smith ninth and Espargaro tenth, the duo displaying good pace despite their struggles during the weekend, on a track they did not get to test. Eugene Laverty was the day’s unluckiest rider, crashing in the final turn on the final lap, after a good run inside the top ten.
In the title battle, the contenders kept close, Marquez’s exercise in damage limitations saving his advantage of 43 points ahead of Lorenzo and 57 in front of Rossi, Pedrosa 19 points behind the Italian.
|19||6||Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||1 Lap|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||4 Laps|
|8||Hector BARBERA||Ducati||0 Lap|