The many tyre combinations available posed a dilemma for the riders as the overcast sky appeared to clear while the MotoGP class was lining up on the grid. And after the fantastic opening acts of Moto3 and Moto2, the big boys had a lot to live up to – and they did their best all throughout the race.
After missing Warm Up while suffering from food poisoning, a very emotional Andrea Dovizioso achieved the hat-trick for Italy by winning the race in imperious form. While the start might have suggested a Yamaha battle royale, Maverick Viñales had to settle for second place, while Danilo Petrucci won’t mind losing a tiny bit of popularity with the home crowd by pushing Valentino Rossi off the final step of the podium.
Rossi had taken the lead at the start while Jorge Lorenzo appeared to fly the flag for Ducati in the initial stages, the Spaniard battling his former teammate and going into the lead of the race by lap two from seventh on the grid. The intense exchanges got Viñales back into contention, a big wobble dropping Lorenzo behind Dovizioso as the Yamahas were left to fight it off between themselves once again.
By lap six, Dovizioso appeared to be the only Ducati of the three pursuers to be able to challenge the Yamahas, making it past Rossi as Lorenzo slipped further behind Petrucci and Marc Marquez. By then Marquez was already one second down on the lead four and did not appear to recover much ground after that. He was caught by an impressive Alvaro Bautista halfway through the race, blitzing past the world champion on the straight, and even though the two were close until the flag, the order remained unchanged, with Bautista finishing fifth and Marquez sixth.
Things settled a third into the race with Viñales leading Dovizioso but not getting away from him, with Rossi right behind and Petrucci catching up steadily. The metaphorical storm hit on lap thirteen, when Dovizioso finally took his chance at the end of the straight and used every ounce of slipstream and late breaking to lead the race. Petrucci made his move on Rossi one lap later into the same turn one, one extra lap bringing one extra place, the Italian making it past Viñales as well and up into second.
Dovizioso started to check out at the front with five laps to go, Viñales forced to get past Petrucci soon after if he wanted to have a go at the win. It proved to be too little too late, despite throwing all the red sectors he could at it. The Italian replied brilliantly with fastest sectors of his own to take the flag over a second in front of the world championship leader.
Rossi had to settle for fourth place, still an impressive achievement considering his recent motocross adventures. Behind Bautista and Marquez, Johann Zarco finished seventh and did not feature as much as we have gotten used to expect from him. Lorenzo struggled after his brilliant start and fell back to eighth, just in front to teammate Michele Pirro. Another Italian who had a decent day was Andrea Iannone, who pulled off a good recovery job to complete the top ten.
Dani Pedrosa looked like a contender early on but he started going backwards on the hard front tyre, spending most of the race in tenth place before slipping further back in the final laps. Eventually, he tried a hopeful move on Cal Crutchlow on the final lap, sliding out and taking the Brit with him.
Breaking the Spanish domination of Mugello over the past seven years means that Dovizioso is now Viñales’ main challenger in the championship, the Italian twenty-six points down on the leader. Rossi is a further four points back, with both Marquez and Pedrosa stuck with the mission of recovering 37 points on their younger Yamaha rival.
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||1 Lap|
|26||Dani PEDROSA||Honda||1 Lap|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Aprilia||8 Laps|
|44||Pol ESPARGARO||KTM||10 Laps|