2019 Mugello MotoGP Race Result: Winning, That All-Purpose Medicine

There was tension in the air even more than usual in Mugello, perhaps because of the numerous contenders on paper, the temperatures heating up tarmac more than at any point during the weekend or it might have just been the yellow flares blurring the horizon. Either way, the lively audience was served a battle of Moto3 proportions and a popular victory for local boy Danilo Petrucci, who takes home his first win in MotoGP and does it with a fever, on home ground and by holding off two feisty championship contenders. Marc Marquez crossed the line glued to his rear tyre while Andrea Dovizioso was in no mood for friendship on track on his 300th Grand Prix start but both of them had to settle for smaller trophies.

Ducati got their victory in their back yard but it wasn’t as easy as they might have hoped. Not even their notorious holeshot device could contend with Marquez into turn one, the poleman showing the way out of San Donato to colleague Cal Crutchlow. However, Dovizioso had made an excellent start from ninth on the grid to make quick work of Crutchlow and chase his main title rival. The Italian brought the backup dancers too, Jack Miller and Petrucci having his back, at least for the moment. One lap later and Alex Rins had advanced from 13th on the grid to fifth, further demoting Crutchlow, who seemed to struggle early on and it never really got any better for the LCR man. Meanwhile, all Yamahas were recovering from either poor grid positions or dreadful starts. Fabio Quartararo, teammate Franco Morbidelli and factory colleague Maverick Vinales all dropped a handful of positions at the start, while Valentino Rossi had progressed only a couple of places on lap one.

By lap four, Rins’s Suzuki brought some diversity at the front of the race, closely stalking Marquez’s Honda and Dovizioso’s Ducati as if he never screwed up in qualifying. No such luck for his Q1 buddy and local deity Rossi, who made slight progress from 18th position at the start but then went wide at turn four and ended up last. Things soon got worse for the adoring audience, Rossi completing another couple of laps before losing the front at turn nine.

The fans’ obvious disappointment was soon at least partially forgotten as the battle for victory provided proper entertainment and the Ducatis were starting to make some noise. Petrucci attacked Marquez in the final turn at start of lap six and in an ambitious attempt to fight back into turn one, Marquez allowed the rest of the Ducati brigade past. Dovizioso hit the front soon after and guided Petrucci and Miller over the line the next time around but with Marquez being the hunter right behind, the order in the lead group had little opportunity to settle. Friendly fire saw Dovizioso and Petrucci exchange the lead on several occasions while Rins, Marquez and Miller also kept busy on the playground, with Crutchlow, Pecco Bagnaia, Takaaki Nakagami and Quartararo biding their time just behind. A second down the road, Vinales was finding some pace as half race was approaching and the Spaniard was edging ever closer to the sizeable lead pack.

At the halfway mark, Petrucci crossed the line in the lead from his teammate, with Rins and Marquez keeping each other entertained, the Honda flying past the Suzuki into San Donato. The other six podium contenders preferred to keep their noses clean, although Bagnaia’s Ducati did make some noise as it scraped the tarmac at the last corner and abandoned the fight with 11 laps remaining.

With Petrucci at the front, the pace was starting to heat up and Marquez provided an increasingly less rare onboard of a Honda slipstreaming Dovizioso’s Ducati into turn one as the Spaniard went on to chase Petrucci. As laptimes were dropping, only Rins and Miller seemed able to keep up with the leaders while Nakagami and Crutchlow dropped two seconds back and were working hard to fend off Quartararo and Vinales.

With eight laps remaining, the lead group reduced further as Miller, having just set the fastest lap of the race, slid out of contention and put an end to a tough day for the Pramac team – a big shame for that beautiful yet unlucky livery. Meanwhile, the leading quartet seemed to have calmed down while sorting out their battle plans, Petrucci kept closely in check by Marquez, Dovizioso and Rins. Nakagami had disposed of his teammate and was running in a lonely fifth, a luxury Crutchlow was not afforded as he soon got overtaken by the resurging Vinales.

The factory Ducatis resumed formation at the front with five laps remaining, Dovizioso showing some close combat skills to the world champion into turn one and then following the same recipe with teammate Petrucci one lap later. If Petrucci had any suggested mapping it didn’t really show, Ducati’s men swapping places without swapping paintwork for the last handful of laps. Marquez and Rins were keeping a close eye on the battle but the Suzuki was struggling to find a way past the three rockets ahead.

The final lap might as well have arrived with the Jaws theme tune playing, Dovizioso first at the penultimate crossing of the line, Marquez first into turn one and Petrucci first by turn two. Petrucci then pulled off another miracle and held off Marquez for the rest of the lap. The Honda took the checkered flag only four hundredths of a second after the Ducati and Petrucci made it three wins in a row for his team in Mugello. After surviving the forceful turn one embrace between Petrucci and Marquez, Dovizioso lost his chance at a last lap attack and almost lost third place to Rins in the final turn. The Suzuki man settled for a hard fought fourth, while Nakagami was nearly as happy as the winner, fifth on a year-old Honda and joining parc ferme as lead independent rider. Vinales was top Yamaha in sixth place, ahead of wildcard Michele Pirro and a fading Crutchlow. Pol Espargaro continued a fine run for KTM with a ninth spot, one ahead of rookie revelation Quartararo.

The hat-trick evaded Marquez but the Spaniard heads into his home race with a 12 point lead on Dovizioso. The rest of the contenders are over a race win’s worth of points away, Rins third and 27 points back, Petrucci fourth with 33 points less and Rossi fifth but trailing Marquez by 43 points.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 41'33.794
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +0.043
3 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +0.338
4 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +0.535
5 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +6.535
6 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +7.481
7 51 Michele PIRRO Ducati +13.288
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +13.937
9 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +16.533
10 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +17.994
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +20.523
12 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +20.544
13 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +20.813
14 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +27.298
15 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +28.051
16 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +30.101
17 5 Johann ZARCO KTM +41.857
    Not Classified    
  43 Jack MILLER Ducati 8 Laps
  63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 12 Laps
  55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 14 Laps
  46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 16 Laps
  21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 18 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  53 Tito RABAT Ducati 0 Lap
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Round Number: 
6
2019
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Total votes: 56

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Comments

Fabulous way to spend a Sunday - congrats to Petrucci. I'm sure he'll now be locked in at Ducati for 2020. 

Total votes: 16

The perfect illustration of the difference between Dovi and MM...Petrux passes both and Dovi lifts, MM lifts not. One will search for a championship and the other has 5 already. I like Dovi a lot but that last 0.01% isn't there and that's what it takes in the MM93 era. Also, DP9 is hangry.

Total votes: 25

^ Exactly. Inside of MM93, #04 has the line...and a flinch-roll off. They did touch, and this was really dicey three person knife fight in a wee alley, but Dovi let him have it rather than push him out.

Interesting that Marc ran the hard rear. These tires looked good. The Yamaha though, it isn't happening in the heat despite anything Michelin can give them. The carcass was a touch firmer this wknd, right? Hmm.

I will though give Dovi praise for some inch perfect defensive lines on the limit. And a cool head. He managed to eek out decent Q and turned things around for Sunday. But if he can't find that last .001 bit of fire here and now, he won't ever. Petrux has arrived. Bagnaia has lit his fuse. If this is how Marc rides "thinking of the championship points" Dovi is going to have to not just answer in response with defensive moves, but dole out that hard close quarters body blow at critical moments. It is WAY more vulnerable to be getting lifted up by the rider under and inside you than it is getting layed down on from the outside guy. Brake lever protection is there for a reason. Just gas and push them wide. Rolling off lightens front end adhesion, and exposes your front wheel to their bike on the line they are careening. Leave a bit of rear tire rubber on their inside shoulder instead. Otherwise, they are emboldened and know they have your number, and continue or even escalate such moves. Go watch last few laps of 2016 for instance, Jorge does the EXACT same thing w Marc, but manages/lucks out to get a drive out and slip stream tow to pip him. With the current Honda hooking up the rear with equal power to the Ducati, it has to be won in that corner move.

Nice job interview Petrucci. You brushed up against the envelope of holding both you and Dovi up to hand it to Marc for a bit there. You didn't have break away pace, and may have been wiser to draft #04 whilst holding Marc off via defensive lines, allowing both in Red to run it to the line. Just like Winter testing runs. Alas, the three barging bike dance played out well. Congrats to you, and Ducati.

The high temps sent the Yamaha spinning. Pol and KTM continued form. Surprise ride if the day goes to Rins. Even with the drag race deficit and a horsepower track, the Suzuki can stay with the front as things are now. The higher temps brought out better feel. Thank goodness they popped out of their slump already.

Petrucci - doubts dispelled. Jack did as I expected, but I thought it would happen with company. Bagnaia had some great form despite his error.

Not kidding that Valentino has recently turned that final corner. Still doubting?

What a FANTASTIC race. About to watch it a second time.

Total votes: 19

Another interesting post, as always, MS. But yes, I'm still doubting concerning Rossi (also read your previous post about him). We've seen this pattern ever since Rossi's Ducati years: people writing him off as being past his time after he's had a struggling race. Of course, at some point in time this prediction will inevitably come true, and who knows that time is now. But one must acknowledge that he is - like in the past couple of years - again the highest ranking Yamaha rider in the standings, and was up to this Mugello crash in all races but Jerez this year also the highest finishing Yamaha. It is a fact that he almost won in Texas just a few races ago, and that he was only some three seconds off the winner in the previous race at Le Mans. His assessment that for years now, Yamaha lacks development during the season, and is repeatedly strong in the early part in the season precisely because of the just small changes made over winter, seems legit to me.

And yes, Quartararo has been amazingly fast on the Yam in his rookie year, and qualifies way better than Rossi, but he has not scored many points in races. I suspect that Rossi has more troubles in practice because he focuses more on race set-up and therefore is more confronted with the Yamaha's actual problems. Super qualifiers Quartararo and Morbidelli were faster in the race in Jerez, but Morbidelli faded in the second half and Quartararo never made it into the second half. We don't know if he would have been able to keep that pace till the end. And yes, he was fast in Le Mans in the end, but maybe because he was slow in the early part. The end result was not spectacular.

I'd like VERY much to see Rossi on the Suzuki right now. That would be very interesting. Or the current Ducati of course. But a switch of manufacturer seems unlikely at this stage of his career, no doubt. But you never know, he has surprised us quite a few times already and is clearly not afraid of change. Personally, I'd love to see him win his tenth title back on an Aprilia, to make the fairytale career story come full circle. But that may be a bit of a stretch at this moment...

Total votes: 6

10 mins highlights has almost all the passes for review.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0kObddKF-A8&t=480s

9:05 is our Petrucci through Dovi and Marquez. If you watch past the very end of the press conference btw, after everyone is gone a journo pops over and shows this to Dovi and Petrucci. Their faces/countenance speak measures. Especially Andrea's wave at the end to go now and talk about their future together, which will be just fine by the way. Fantastic race for Petrucci, our unlikely Superstock to Ioda to factory dry straight fight victor!

2:50 Marc gets a bewildering swarming. This is a spot in the race that had me really piqued. Jack's aggressive response at 3:09 to Marquez is a good one. 3:38 loosely careening into Petrux, THIS is what I was anticipating amongst these two, and no way was Jack going to do that to Dovi. Never is Dovisioso this aggressive with anyone, which is what I was thinking throughout this Moto3 extraveganza.

4:07 perfect view of the Suzuki drag race amongst Ducati and Honda, and Rins at 4:27 displays beautiful aggression again carving through Miller again (Rins too harnesses more physicality and aggression than #04). Immediately followed by Petrucci attempting the same on the Suzuki (with that early tight entry line of his) that misses.

The 4:48 Petrux-Dovi pass is just a very small mistake from #04 getting a tad wide welcoming him through. 6:14 Dovi performs a classic response move if his to get back past Rins. Gorgeous. Clean. Professorial.

At 7:56 we see Dovi hold a line against Marquez, but it is rather routine comparatively.

8:17 we see brilliance from Dovisioso bearing down on Petrux through corner entry from the (again) outside line. That of a tough fighter, and he deserves credit. One of his best moves of the race. At 8:39 we see an aggressive move from Petrux that surely infuriated Dovi. He lost a touch of time, and received a Marc approaching his tail section.

Pvalve and Basketcase you are right, I was wrong and too harsh on Dovi. Watching all the way through with no rewinds the feeling was that Andrea was timid. Further watching of the 9:05 moment, he was wisely measured and left with no alternatives.

Pvalve, I will agree with you re everything you said re Rossi previous to this weekend. Going to stick with the assertion that he has just experienced something qualitatively different at Mugello this year. And that it will be seen as the signal flare and harbinger of his decision to retire. In fact, I think that within his helmet before ge crashed, he may have been feeling just such a thing. And made that decision with his front end. Behavior is a language. He just spoke volumes at this round the likes I have never seen. Er, heard.

Cheers!

Total votes: 2

A little hard on Dovi, methinks.
lf Dovi hadn't backed out on the first bend of the last lap he would have hit one or both other bikes and gone down, very likely taking at least one other bike/rider with him.
With DP9 up his inside and MM93 cutting in across him, he had absolutely nowhere to go. 
A wise descision by Dovi, l would suggest.

Total votes: 5

MM would have used the outside guy as a berm had he been in that sandwich. Dovi should have pushed MM wide consequences be damned; Marc would have. And so would Freddie. Eh, Kenny? 

Total votes: 4

You can only push another bike wide by being fairing to fairing and even then it's risky for both. MM was ahead of AD and looked like taking his front wheel out. Dovi backed out just in time.
Front wheels never beat rear wheels..

Total votes: 2

That was fantastic, well worth sitting on the big bus with wings for ages.

Congratulations Danilo Petrucci, great to see that first MotoGp victory. Hoping for lots more. Not at Dovizioso's expense preferably.

Three Ducati wins in 2017, 18 & 19 with 3 different riders. So I guess the D16 is ridable now, thanks Gigi.

Shame about the Pramac dnfs, particularly Pecco's crash & burn, the smoke from a burning desmosedici rises up to heaven.

Happy Republic day Italia !

Total votes: 15

A very popular winner with my fellow travellers and of course with the local maniacs. What a race! 

Total votes: 1

What a race! What a result! Amazing atmosphere! Great to see the boys were less for Marc on the podium. I'm so happy for Petrux!!! What a hero! Couldn't be happier actually and I am a massive fan of Marc! I'm glad he didn't win actually cause this was just a fairy tale come to fruition.

Total votes: 8

Just awesome! Fantastic race fantastic winner! Ah Petrux! How many times did he ask for forgiveness and apologized for winning over Dovi? What a nice guy. Though the apologizing says a lot about passive-agressive management in borgo panigale : they pit their racers against one another and at the same time they expext them to play as a team. Petrux was sincerely apologizing yet at the same time he was saying i had no choice. . 

So... Ducati wins 3 years in a row with 3 different guys..  Dovi time came in 2017. He probably believed in himself much more than now. The sparkle is gone. And even his bright thinking seems somewhat less bright. petrucci seemed a fraction faster than dovi so he should have switched his mission to one thing only:winnow not but keep ahead of Marquez

Lorenzo must have some regrets. I do. And god knows I'm not a fan.

What a brilliant race. I'll need to watch it again. A great consolation whilst trying to forget that there used to be a great bike in the past called Yamaha. 

 

 

Total votes: 14

I can't help but wonder if the string of injuries Lorenzo suffered last year aren't affecting him more than anyone will admit. In 2017 he struggled with the Ducati but also looked like he was making steady progress with it. This year he just looks at sea, consistently last Honda on the track, last Honda in the points. No disrespect to Taka and Cal but I would not expect them to be so far ahead of Lorenzo on the same bike. Even on a bike Lorenzo doesn't gel with he should be nearer them, there has to be more to it than just the bike.

.

On the subject of bikes, who's betting that Zarco will be riding something, anything that isn't a KTM next year? He's making Rossi's Ducati spell look like a weekend at Centreparks.

Total votes: 2

It's been obvious for a couple of years that Yamaha has a growing problem in the Michelin era, and the simple math shows that the horsepower deficit is probably too great to overcome at most tracks.  Let's talk about the magnitude of that deficit.  I've heard some say "15HP" which is total BS.  The long straight at Mugello gives us some clear insights.  Yamaha is down ~15kph, or about 4.5%, to Ducati in "clean" air.  At these speeds, aero drag is the dominant term - and the power required to overcome drag varies with the CUBE of speed.  So - assuming similar drag, which I think is plausible - 4.5% more speed means ~14% more power (this is why bicycle races are so close).  That's 15HP only if these bikes make 100HP.  The reality is that Yamaha is likely down more like 30 - 40HP to Ducati, and something close to that with Honda.  Their acceleration woes also suggest that they don't have as much average HP (that is, peak HP is one thing, but what really matters at most tracks is the average HP between say 9,000 and 15,000 RPM or whatever it is).

I'd also like to point out that having more power probably, and I doubt too many people outside of the teams really know so this is a guess, allows more flexibility with electronics strategies.

This is likely - but not certainly - compounded by chassis design.  If Yamaha generally runs more lean angle, for a longer period of time, then even if they have lots of power at low RPM ("torque"), they can't put it down as well as a more "upright" bike.  The net of this is that in a race, if a "slower turning" bike is in your piece of tarmac, as a Yamaha rider you have to slow down, and then at the exit, you lose - so Yamaha's issues are doubled in traffic (as we saw with Fabio Q.).

Obviously none of us have real data, other than what we see as output on the track, so other than fairly obvious power differences this is somewhat speculative, but I'd be surprised without some significant advance on their bike, if Yamaha wins a race this year.

As a side note, Marquez rode a great, great race today - and despite some rough treatment from others, rode a surprisingly (given history) safe, mature race as well.  Very impressive.

Total votes: 6

What a fantastic race and it was great to see Petrux get his first win and what a huge one it was....Ducati, Mugello capping Marc and Dovi last lap into San Donato. As he said post race...'I had to do it'. Meaning, even if it cost Dovi, he had to do it for himself and his future at Ducati as a full factory rider in 2020 and I think that ride has all but sealed the deal. Pramac will do well to retain Jack and Pecco, hopefully both on GP20's next year. I see Dovi getting some brickbats for not taking Marc to task and doing something radical on the last lap. Mr 98% played it absolutely correctly in my opinion. He may have been a bit peaved at Petrux' brilliant and opportunistic move that left him in a sandwich that he had nowhere to escape from. Any indiscreet lunge would have seen him and Marc in the kitty litter with Rins right up his exhaust pipe (also in the hunt for the title), he played it smart as he always does. Rins gained nothing in the title chase on Marc nor Dovi. Petrux is more likely to go fairing bashing with Marc anyday of the week. Marc even complained about Petrux post Argentina some time back! Wow. I'm sure the algorithms in Dovi's head factored in a few other issues on that last lap. Mugello, home of Ducati and his 300th GP start in 300 GP entries across all classes. That is an amazing stat in its own right. Think about it. 300 races and never missed one due to injury, sickness...nothing. My 300th race at my home track on my home bike? Would I rather take 3rd, the podium, 16 points, lose 4 to my main rival or give 20 to Alex and end up chewing gravel with Marc in the kitty litter? No brainer in my book. Petrux is going to be a thorn in Marc's side from hereon in. Dovi has proven time and again he can give as good as he gets in one on ones with Marc. Motegi in the wet, Catalunya and others. The Honda's? Only Marc can ride it. Petrux is very good at flowing circuits where his stature does not compromise him out of slow corners. He will be pumped up for Assen. Remember that duel between him and Rossi back then. Further adrift. Pity about the Lamborghini's, great ride by Pirro and Pol. My, how times change. Valentino and Jorge squabbling over scraps on Japanese factory bikes, for now.

Total votes: 3