2014 Mugello MotoGP Sunday Round Up: A Race To Remember Under The Tuscan Sun

One circuit, three races, all of them utterly different in nature. The wide, flowing layout with a long straight, fast corners, and multiple combinations of turns present very different challenges to Grand Prix racing's three different classes. For Moto3, escape is impossible, the race coming down to tactics and the ability to pick the right slipstream. In Moto2, it is possible to get away, but it's equally possible to chase an escaped rider down. And in MotoGP, the fast flicks make it possible to both defend attacks and launch your own counter attack. Mugello is a wonderful circuit, and it served up a spectacular portion of racing on Sunday.

We had expected Moto3 to be the race of the day, as it has been every Grand Prix this season. It certainly did not disappoint, but by the time the last few laps of the MotoGP race rolled around, we had forgotten all about Moto3. The Moto3 race was fantastic entertainment, but the MotoGP race at Mugello was one for the ages. The kind of race that fans will bring up over and over again, one to go along with Barcelona 2009, Laguna Seca 2008, even Silverstone 1979.

It took the return of the real Jorge Lorenzo to light a fire under the MotoGP race. Lorenzo had been looking stronger and stronger all weekend, and was coming to a track where he has previously dominated, and with tires which, he had been told, were identical to last year. Lorenzo's punishing cardio workout schedule now back on track and paying dividends. The fitness he lost when three operations during the off season forced him to abandon his normal training schedule cost him dearly.

Lorenzo's style looks effortless, but making it look effortless consumes a vast amount of strength and energy. Keeping the bike perfectly in line and sweeping majestically through corners requires constant tiny corrections and an iron grip on the bike. The 2014 Bridgestone rear tire has a tendency to spin more easily, which creates a more nervous feel. Added to that the increased nervousness of the Yamaha on 20 liters of fuel, rather than the 21 liters of 2013, and that's another factor upsetting the bike. Put all these things together, and they left Jorge Lorenzo struggling for breath, quite literally.

At Mugello, things started to slot into place for Lorenzo once again. Improved fitness was one of them – so much improved, that he had to have his leathers adjusted to fit his new, stronger body – but team manager Wilco Zeelenberg insisted it was much more than that. Adjustments to set up made the bike a little less nervous, a tire that gave him a better feeling at the hot, grippy track of Mugello than it had at circuits with cooler track temps, and revisions to the Yamaha that have greatly improved braking performance. Even the addition of 340mm brake discs helped, though it was much more in consistency than in performance.

All that, combined with his improved fitness, gave Lorenzo the edge he had been looking for. 'The control which he has with the bike now is better,' Zeelenberg said. 'In Le Mans and Jerez he had quite a good bike, but he could not push the whole race and control the bike the whole race.'

And what a race it provided. Lorenzo's start was a little wild and uncontrolled – nearly running into Dani Pedrosa on one side, then running into San Donato very hot and pushing Cal Crutchlow wide. It put him right behind Andrea Iannone, who had got off to a brilliant start, to the delight of the crowd. If there were any doubts left about Lorenzo's intentions after his brutal start, he dispensed with them as he passed Iannone, barging through at Scarperia on the first lap.

From there, it looked to be a classic Lorenzo performance at Mugello, the Movistar Yamaha rider pushing hard to make a break. That proved impossible, with Marc Marquez soon slotting in behind Lorenzo after dispensing with a feisty Iannone. For a long while it looked like we were in for another Marquez masterclass, with the championship leader waiting for his moment to strike. But the attack did not come. Marquez was having trouble just matching the pace of Lorenzo, especially on new tires.

The Repsol Honda man was also wary of his experience here last year, when he crashed out during the race. He had been cautious all weekend, and did not want to risk it all in the early laps trying to get past Lorenzo. As Lorenzo pushed, Marquez was starting to have trouble, the front tire threatening to fold on him in the middle of the race. With seven laps to go, as the tires started to wear, Marquez started to close on Lorenzo, but once again, thoughts of 2013 clouded his mind. This was the same point at which he crashed out last year, just after passing Pedrosa and closing on Lorenzo, and he had no intention of that happening again. 'I had the same feeling as last year, the rear felt a bit light, so I was a bit careful,' Marquez said.

Not so careful he wasn't prepared to attack, however. Marquez got the drive out of the final corner, and slid past along the straight. He had to work hard to get it stopped, though, as Lorenzo demonstrated just how much better the braking of the Yamaha M1 had become. Lorenzo chased Marquez down and returned the favor at the end of the next lap, drafting pass Marquez along the front straight. This time it was Lorenzo's turn to run wide, Marquez slipping underneath, but Lorenzo would not be denied, retaking the lead a few corners later.

It was the opening salvos of what turned into a full scale war. For the rest of the race, Marquez and Lorenzo swapped blows and places, neither holding the upper hand. Marquez' aggressive passing was returned with interest, Lorenzo showing the kind of fight he had not displayed since he was in the 250s. It is no secret that there is little love lost between the two Spaniards, and neither man was prepared to give the other any quarter. It made for a scintillating battle: hard, vicious, but entirely clean. Lorenzo made a couple of passes that drew admiration even from men wearing Honda shirts, and seemed set to break Marquez' victory streak.

In the end, Marquez seized control, though it took him all he had. It took him 'a great last lap,' Marquez said, but in the end, he prevailed. He passed Lorenzo on the straight going into the final lap, then held off the barrage of attacks which Lorenzo flung at him. The right line out of the final corner, and he took victory, his sixth in a row, making it a clean sweep of poles and wins so far this season. It was an impressive win, but it was very much the toughest of the year.

In the end, the win had been down to a gearing change, Marquez explained. His crew had altered sixth gear to make it run a little longer, allowing him to use the slipstream to his advantage. That speed advantage allowed him to first draft past Lorenzo, and then hold him off along the final straight.

It served as a warning to Marquez, however. Barcelona is another track where Yamahas have done well, and Lorenzo has won the last two in a row. In two weeks' time, Lorenzo will be even fitter, and put up even more of a fight. The prospect of yet another head-to-head battle is a mouthwatering prospect. On the evidence of Mugello, the era of total Marquez dominance is over, with the Repsol Honda man having to fight all the way from now on. Of course, that doesn't mean he will stop winning …

At Barcelona, the fearsome twosome could be joined by their factory teammates. Both Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa had their problems at Mugello which left them just short of Marquez and Lorenzo. Rossi's problems started during qualifying, and were compounded during warm up. Electing to try to use the soft front tire during qualifying turned out to be a mistake, as it produced more chatter than grip, dropping Rossi down to 10th on the grid in a highly competitive session. A problem with the gearbox caused him to miss a good chunk of morning warm up, and meant he couldn't test the set up change he had wanted to for the race.

Despite his difficulties, Rossi still had a very strong race. Two brilliant laps from the start put him up into 4th, and not far off Marquez. But he arrived on the back of Marquez just as the Spaniard got past Iannone, and dumping the Pramac Ducati rider between Marquez and Rossi. Rossi took another lap to get past Iannone, the Italian putting up a titanic fight, but by the time he was truly clear, Marquez was nearly six tenths ahead. It was just a fraction too far for Rossi to grab a slipstream and run with Lorenzo and Marquez, and the pair slowly slipped out of his grasp. Rossi was forced to settle for third.

It was still an outstanding result for the Italian, and led to emotional scenes on the podium. For the first time since 2009, Rossi was on the podium at Mugello on merit, and the track soon filled with an adoring crowd to pay tribute. The podium at Mugello, Rossi said, was 'the most emotional moment of the season.' In previous years, Rossi was called to the podium by the fans after those who had taken the podium by right had departed. Those years – especially the Ducati years – were always bitter sweet. Much of the bitterness was gone, though still there was remorse over a missed opportunity during qualifying.

Dani Pedrosa's problems came not from qualifying, but from the surgery he had to cure arm pump after Jerez. The arm is taking longer to heal that Pedrosa had anticipated, making it hard for Pedrosa to ride as he wanted. That meant that he found it hard to get past the group he got stuck in, and when he did, he did not have the pace to match the front runners. Pedrosa continues to struggle with the early part of the race, the team having switched strategies. Instead of trying to be fast early on and make a break, sacrificing pace at the end of the race, Pedrosa's team have rejigged the bike to be faster later in the race, giving up the rocket start and fast early laps which were always his trademark. It may be time to change strategies, Pedrosa hinted. 'It has been like this for six races,' he said.

Behind the top four, Pol Espargaro put in another solid performance to come home fifth. Espargaro was only partially satisfied, despite the fact that he was the first satellite machine and ahead of the Factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso. The younger Espargaro has made excellent progress in his first year, but is still lacking experience. At Mugello, he found himself in trouble trying to follow both the Ducati of Andrea Iannone and the Honda of Dani Pedrosa, running in too deep and then being way too slow in the middle of the corner, the point at which the Yamaha is strongest. Trying to copy the styles of totally different bikes had made him 'crazy', he said. It was another valuable lesson in his rookie year.

The Ducatis had a mixed day of it, making inroads on their performance from last year, but unable to maintain the pace all race. Andrea Iannone elicited the biggest cheers from the crowd, as he led the way early on in the race. He dropped down the field once his tire went off, eventually finishing in seventh, behind Andrea Dovizioso. Dovizioso was disappointed to be further back than he had hoped, his disappointment tempered only by the fact that they were over 3 seconds closer to the front than they were last year.

All of the Ducatis suffered grip problems, which Andrea Dovizioso put down to rubber laid down during the Moto2 race. It meant they didn't have the grip they had expected, making turning the bike more difficult than expected. The new engine parts, giving more power at the top end, had clearly been useful in the early laps, but the underlying problem remains, which is turning the bike.

Cal Crutchlow was less fortunate than his teammate, but not nearly as unfortunate as LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl. Crutchlow had had an issue with his front tire, with the tire pressure rising much faster than the other Ducati riders, despite starting with the same pressure. It mean the tire was rolling through corners, and eventually it caused him to lose the front and crash out. It was at a very unfortunate point, between Materassi and Borgo San Lorenzo, the bike coming back onto the track and taking out Bradl. That sent Bradl flying in a massive highside. It was the second he had had on Sunday, after a similarly huge crash during the warm up. Bradl was battered and bruised, but most of all relieved to come away without injury. Crutchlow had immediately apologized to Bradl for the incident, but there was not a lot he could do about it.

When the Moto3 race was done, we had not expected it to be bettered, the race turning into a classic Mugello slipstreaming battle. Romano Fenati came out top, following Alex Rins into the last corner and forcing the Spaniard to take the lead. It is a rule set in stone that the Moto3 rider who leads out of Bucine on the last lap is not going to win, as he can expect to have a mass of riders slip past him. Rins was lucky that it was only Fenati and Isaac Viñales, the Estrella Galicia rider still taking third. The result was close, just 0.011 separating the top three, and Viñales taking second on the basis of having posted a faster lap.

The biggest loser in Moto3 was Jack Miller, the Australian pulling too aggressive a move at Correntaio on the last lap. He tried to over take too many riders in one go, to make up for being swamped earlier in the lap. Unfortunately for Miller, Miguel Oliveira closed the line, leaving Miller nowhere to go. He stood the bike up, and as he did so he was hit by Alex Marquez, meaning that Miller, Marquez and Enea Bastianini all went down. Miller was handed two penalty points for his sins, a situation with which he was absolutely furious, despite accepting full blame. It was a big blow to Miller, who sees his lead in the championship cut to just five points. But it was also a blow to Bastianini, the Italian having had an excellent race in his rookie year.

The Moto2 race, by comparison, was a bit of a snoozer, despite Tito Rabat's fantastic recovery. He lost a lot of ground in the first couple of laps, but was soon hunting the two rookies, Jonas Folger and Luis Salom, down. There was an air of inevitability about Rabat's victory, and the 25 points he scored allowed him to extend his lead over teammate Mika Kallio.

Despite the slight lull during Moto2, Mugello served up a fantastic day's racing. The MotoGP race here promises much for the future, especially given that the next race is at Barcelona, a track with similar characteristics to Mugello. Every MotoGP fan in the world will have their fingers crossed for a repeat. Odds are good that they will get it.

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Finally we got a fight today. Lorenzo riding brilliantly and pushing MM to the very last lap. Hopefully over the next few rounds this happens again via Lorenzo, Pedrosa, or Rossi. Was a great scrap at the front and was very much needed.

David was very right in pointing out that the excitement of the MotoGP race made everyone forget what happened in Moto3. I would say even the Moto2 race was pretty good. That Marquez is a worthy successor to Casey Stoner is now established. I think he has done enough to prove that. Lorenzo showed his "bull dog" traits (as called by Kenny Roberts Sr.) and seems finally to be ready for fighting hard for the rest of the season. Valentino Rossi, I am surprised. Could be the wrong choice of tyre in qualifying, and riding an untested set up in the race, but his charge from 10th to 3rd reminded me of the old Rossi who just put decisive overtaking moves like he did in the past. In fact, he looked better than Marquez while overtaking Iannone. But when he had a gap to narrow to Marquez after he overtook the rest, Rossi only once managed to close the gap a little with a fastest lap of the race till then but started going back once the front two pulled away. An almost 3 seconds gap is like eternity. Whatever the reasons the lack of performance to mix it with the top is a clear indicator that Rossi is no longer in the same league as Marquez and Lorenzo.

Rossi and his team will have to take responsibility for wrong tyre choices, for broken gear boxes and everything else that may have happened prior to the start of the race. Performance in a race cannot be judged on conjectures. I feel that Rossi has so far not demonstrated that he has the ability to mix it with the top two (maybe three if Pedrosa has a trouble free day). The Rossi of 2014 is better than the one of 2013, 2012 and 2011, but given his own illustrious history I do not think what he is doing is great. He seems to be plain lucky that the rest of the grid is handicapped either by lack of talent or by the lack of machinery that allows one to excel. So Rossi resurgence? Only partially.

Poor Crutchlow. The latest to have his career ruined by the Ducati. The gunslinger who was so exciting to watch has now problems completing a couple of laps. And in my opinion Luigi Dell'Ingna has not made any progress with the Desmosedici and that makes me feel very, very sad for Filippo Preziosi who worked wonders with Casey Stoner, for being pushed out of Ducati, thanks to the pressures put on him by Team VR 46. I think Ducati will be better off bringing Preziosi back and if they can do the same with Casey Stoner (he does not need a Honda to win, that he has demonstrated amply) then MotoGP will probably get exciting.

"That Marquez is a worthy successor to Casey Stoner is now established."

Now? Where have you been? Since Day 1 of last year, Marquez' style is more exciting to watch, he is faster (arguably), he is likable, gives better interviews, fans love him, he enjoys a good battle, and most of all, he actually appreciates and loves being in MotoGP. Few people miss Stoner, although it is a shame we didn't get to see these two fight it out on identical machinery. (all of this just my opinion of course).

You seem to enjoy making indefensible statements and then pointing out how inane they are. Yes, it's impossible to say who is faster between Stoner and Marquez as we've never seen what Stoner would be capable of on a 2014 spec RCV, just as we've never seen what Marquez would be capable of on an 800cc Ducati. Remember how Stoner won the most races of any rider during the 4 years he was on the career killing Ducati.. Now imagine if over that same period he'd been on the best bike in the field instead. You say Marquez is more likeable (very important) and that few GP fans will miss Stoner, before realising that you yourself would have liked to see Stoner race Marquez. Of course Stoner has a legion of fans who miss seeing him ride, and many who enjoyed his interviews. After 6 wins on the trot from Marquez with Lorenzo only now starting to show some form, Pedrosa fulfilling every expectation of his newly acquired number 2 status and Rossi pleased to even be on the podium, I don't know anyone that wouldn't be overjoyed to hear Stoner say he was returning to GP motivated and on a competitive machine in 2015.

For one, see all of the things said by the OP.
Two, I honestly think Stoner was quite beatable by the other aliens, and the fact that each regularly did so proves the point. If he rode in 2015 as described, on any given weekend he might be up there and he might not.
Three, I'm struggling to think of any races where Stoner duked it out to pinch the win through sheer racecraft as opposed to tearing away into another postcode. I can think of a good many involving Lorenzo, a few now for marquez, absolutely loads from Rossi, and none at all for Pedrosa. So it might just be a boring procession.

Catalunya 07, Sachsenring 09, Phillip Island 09, Laguna 11, Laguna 12, and he came out on top in some close races in Spain on the Honda as well. Stoner was probably not as adept as Marquez as a 'fighter' but you have to remember he was on the Ducati for most of he time he was in MotoGP. How many wheel to wheel battles for the win did Rossi come out on top of when he was on the Ducati.. On the Honda Stoner won the title easily the first time he rode it, and was a contender in his final year before he was injured. I'm not saying he'd definately beat Marquez but there seem to be less than a handful of people in the world capable of riding a motorcycle fast enough to push that lad and one of them is on the sidelines.

"How many wheel to wheel battles for the win did Rossi come out on top of when he was on the Ducati?" Precious few. I would never argue but that Stoner was the business on the Ducati in 07 and pretty damn impressive on the Honda, but rightly or wrongly my enduring image is that of Stoner clearing off into the distance or being off the pace. I'm sure he had his dogfights, it's hard to imagine that any of the guys on the grid got to MotoGP without being able to scrap, but that's not what springs to mind when thinking of his heyday.

"You seem to enjoy making indefensible statements and then pointing out how inane they are." I am maybe not be best educated of the bunch...I have no idea what that means.....

Personally, I miss Stoner being on track very much...I want the very best riders competing on track and he was awesome... and I found his sourpuss attitude and his mutual dislike and rivalry with Rossi fantastic entertainment. I was simply responding to the statement about Marquez "finally" establishing himself as a suitable successor...That happened long ago. Given a choice of who I would rather have in MotoGP, it is Marquez by a huge margin...that was the context of my saying that few people miss Stoner. (IMO)

I would LOVE to have Stoner back on a competitive machine to mix it up with these guys. Who here wouldn't?

And that is that he is GONE, he has RETIRED. Get over it. Why must every MotoGP racing discussion devolve into a pissing match between those fixated on this one former rider and those annoyed by every discussion getting sidetracked into StonerMatters.com?

Relax dude... And what are YOU devolving this conversation into?

We are talking about bike racing and a racer that is still relevant to what we all want to see...good world class racing. So much anger over nothing LOL....

There's obviously something deeply wrong in the organisation at Ducati, something that GiGi will have to fight against. Turning up with some 'hotrod' engines for Mugello is lunacy.

A simple look at the Average Speed chart shows MM and LOR were ONLY 12th and 13th fastest for top speed, the last of the prototypes/factory bikes.

You are most welcome, even though your reply may be ironical. Just pointing out a fact, not trying to judge or know better. Thing is that it is very hard to work with to set up, and my quess is that if the system was easier to work with and thus to set up, it would save tyre life a little better than it does now.

Man, I am a HUGE Rossi fan but let's face it; he didn't have the pace today. He didn't "use up his tire fighting throught the pack." After three laps he was there. He just couldn't stick with 'em.
Still a FANTASTIC race today. Finally...

Actually. Yes he did. He had the pace to stick with them. He was running identical times up to lap 11-12 I think. The problem was that he started on the 4th row. Had he not had use two laps to pass all the other riders. He would have been up there. He could never get the slipstream and that's what he needed as all three where running the same times. It was a fantastic performance from Rossi and I don't think we'll see him on the 4th row in QP again.

most commentators will admit that Rossi doesnt have the outright speed to gap Marquez but what he does have is race-craft and more experience, especially at Mugello. if he had been on the first two rows after qualifying he would have had a chance to mess with their rhythm and then the story might have been a little different... think Rossi vs Stoner at Laguna Seca.

I agree 100%, if you put Marquez on a Ducati Rossi might definitely stand a chance.. as long as he was allowed to cut corners and Marquez ran off the track somewhere.

As a racer friend of mine pointed out, Rossi is aging and therefor it becomes harder to make decisions whilst riding such an extreme motorcycle. Riding such motorcycle needs constant reactions from the rider. As we grow older these reaction times are just not as quick as when we are younger. A couple of hundredths of a second is negligible but added up over 20 laps makes a bit of difference.

... is what he would probably have gained by being close enough to slip stream on the straight, and by worrying Marquez from behind. God knows why but in any form of racing, even running, you can go just that little bit faster if you're on the heels of someone you think you can eventually beat, but you do have to be close enough for that to happen.

... Lorenzo was still complaining about the relative speeds of the Yamaha and Honda, claiming the Yamaha needed greater speed to be able to fight.

No doubt someone will pop up with some stat that shows how much better the Honda is than the Yamaha (although it has become clear there are problems with measuring official speeds) but visually the Yamaha looked every bit as fast and accelerative as the Honda- Lorenzo able to both slip stream Marquez and hold off a slipstreaming attempts from the Honda rider.

I long believed the notion that the Honda was significantly superior to the Yamaha to be a fallacy or at least exaggeration and it seems that is still a line Lorenzo wishes to push and the corporate differences appear to thus permit.

Regardless, I am delighted Lorenzo has re-found his form. I note the article says 'Lorenzo was told the tyre was identical to last year'. This is seemingly not the first time his team has chosen to fib to Lorenzo. Coupled with his dropped chin and occasional defeatist air, this suggests some level of fragility unseen in his early GP career.

Along with uncertainty of how he will react should other possible traditionally strong performing tracks, like Barcelona, if the weather is less warm and the Yamaha spins it's wheels more, it is not yet clear if this is a full time return to form. I hope it is and, if so, a win must not be too far away but equally a 'slump' (relative) could be seen next time.

Easy stat to find; motogp.com, Results, Latest Results, Mugello, MotoGP, Race, Average Speed pdf.

I'm enjoying Moto2 for the most part - it was a good game of cat and mouse at Mugello - but perhaps it 'seems' boring because the pointy end of the field doesn't really have the strong personalities that it usually has?

Miller will fix that next year :)

it's just that races have inevitable become less than spectacular with how often the field spreads out and the battle for the podium is restricted.

I too am finding moto2 fairly processional this year.

Look back to the first couple of years - different guys on the podium race in race out, gaps measured in tenths.

Looks to me like a couple of teams have now figured out the formula (what makes a moto2 bike work) and are reaping the results.

Also, I think Rabat is in a class of his own at the moment, presumably when he steps up to MotoGP and Miller / Marquez step up from moto 3 things will shake up a bit.

At least is the least exciting of the three. I still watch it but Moto3 is way better.

It'll get better. The rookies just haven't found their footing just yet. Although it's coming. Mavrick,Lowes,Salom.

Nope. I'm a Kallio, Rabat and MarcVDS fan.

Moto2 with a spec tyre and a spec engine has just equalised.
The MarcVDS team is just best at getting the most out of the Kalex bike, Dunlop tyre and CBR engine. Tito and Mika are certainly the most clever riders in the field.

The Pons team will only get stronger as Maverick builds his talents.
It's good to see a mix of new fast riders getting better all the time, Folger, Cortese is coming good, Livio Loi.

Later this season and next year should be cracking.

Oh dear.

Crutchlow needs to stop crashing if he's going to stay in MotoGP beyond his current contract. I don't believe he's got the ability to get in and stay up with the leading riders. So he pushes too far and fails. I don't even bother to read his excuses any longer.

Bradley Smith should start looking for another ride for next year. He's got a bike that should be in the top six at every race, he never looks like being there. He's still around 25 seconds off the winning race time at every GP, he's not made any improvement this year at all.

Scott Redding must be gutted to be lumbered with his bag of nails. How much do Honda charge for a bike that's only there to make up the numbers. If he doesn't get a chance on Bautista's bike next year, he might as well pack up and go home. Running around at the back is going to break his will to win. In fact, if they go through with this stupid idea to reduce the minimum bike weight, he's had it anyway.

As an aside, I only get to watch the live BT broadcast occasionally. Can someone tell BT we don't need constant stats throughout the races, I don't care if Fred the mechanic used to work for Honda before moving to Yamaha, I don't give a FF about last years results and we know Keith Huewen can talk underwater, he doesn't have to prove it for 3 hours every other Sunday. The commentary should be about the race, not come over as 2 big heads down the pub, talking as much about themselves as the event we are watching. I'd like to hear the bikes a bit, now and then, every so often like.

Rossi is about Redding's size, and the lower minimum weights in 500 and 250 never hurt him.

Sure, he will have more aerodynamic drag. Sure, he will have more weight to accelerate. But the flip-side is that he has the ability to shift more weight around on the bike.

Presumably 2015 honda will sort out the production racer, and I believe there's every chance for Redding to get a factory ride in the future.

He's not expected to be on the podium on that bike, so looking at his results and not finding himself on the podium shouldn't be a surprise or sapping his will.

He is competing against the other RCV1000s and other non-M1 open bikes. And in that race, he is doing consistently well.

If I was Suzuki management, I'd be talking seriuously to Redding, and also Ianonne.

According the the MotoGP site, Redding is almost 2 stone heavier than Rossi. There is no "about" their stature being similar at all.

Whoever goes to Suzuki will regret their decision. Suzuki have never put any real effort into their racing. They have dropped out of every series over the years and this current attempt is only half hearted. By the time they've finished playing around with their current bike, the other teams will have moved on.

I'm trying to reserve judgement on BT and give them a year to settle in, so I'll try to just comment on the positives. The coverage itself in terms of breadth is excellent and while I'll probably begrudge the fee till I go to the grave, I know I'm getting a much better deal that I had from the beeb.

Hodgson is a fantastic choice trackside. His sheer exuberance and goodwill to all men makes him an absolute pleasure to watch, let alone his considerable knowledge. Much the same is often true of the UK studio guest riders. They have all added much to the weekend, but it would be all the better if the host was an ex-racer like Parrish or Mamola, to give that seat more cred'.

It feels like the race commentators are still trying to find a unique 'personality' on BT. The easy but well-informed chatter of Parrish & Cox was always enjoyable for me, and I think they were often unfairly denigrated here and elsewhere. Hopefully the BT guys will get there eventually.

My own plea to BT is to break the race coverage into three segments, one for each race. I never get to watch the racing live nor watch all three races in one sitting, and it's always hit and miss to fast forward a recording to MotoGP while trying to block my view of all but the race logo so I don't see the Moto3 result ahead of watching the race!

A great race and nothing but complaining and criticizing here of every rider who didn't win.
That's amazing. Lose on Sunday, arm-chairing on Monday. :D

'Nothing but' complaining? Lorenzo put in a fine effort according to most of the comments I've read..


It was a great race. All could see. He just got a slight bit, bettered by MM. To bad he couldn't have said, Great race. We'll get him next time.

While JL put forth an awesome display of riding. MM is a student and figured out a way to win. I don't think 3kph, Lorenzo is asking for would have mattered.

According to the commentary the pace at the front was near lap record every lap. Closing that sort of gap was a big ask for Rossi, so I don't think you can write him off just yet. Before the race JL was 'lost'; 'broken'. Amazing what a weekend in Tuscany can do for you. I thought he had looked decidedly chubby at Qatar and this weekend he looked lean and sharp again. The 'old' JL is back.
Rossi has a gap to close, not a chasm. As JL has shown, at this level it takes a few small things and a lot of hard work to make a big difference to outcomes.
The season is improving as it progresses. I am hoping that the top riders and their teams have closed the gap to MM and he no longer has the 0.3 sec a lap he has had. He too looked different - tested - in the post-race interviews. If he has to work hard just to be at the front that's going to be better for the racing.
What a wonderful crowd too! It was great to see that many (at those prices) with such passion for the sport. The reception for MM and JL showed that it's not totally partisan.

What an atmosphere.

Kudo's to the Tifosi ! Judging by what I saw on the (MotoGP.com) broadcast , it was one hell of a party.

I think Pedrosa is being exposed a little bit (or surgery?). Telemetry displayed on the TV feed showed Lorenzo with a massive 10kph+ corner speed advantage and he still couldn't check out on Marquez. Rossi had the same deal at the less-Yamaha friendly track last race. Granted they both take somewhat more sweeping lines - but 10kph+ for extended periods of time and no ground gained tells a pretty strong story - particularly because his acceleration starts that much faster.

While peak HP is similar, the 'area under the curve' on the Honda is clearly much greater than the Yamaha. Average power is more important anyway.

Marquez is a phenomenon but is flattered somewhat by his equipment - personally, I don't know how much there is among the top 3 (L, M and R).

Lorenzo didn't need peak power, but it looked to me like he needed some mid-range. The Yamaha chassis appears good at this point now that they have addressed the braking, but they are clearly way down on power on corner exit.

The next race will be quite interesting. Agreeing to the engine freeze was a big gamble for Yamaha that may not have paid off.

Where. Please cite the corner and time during the race you witnessed this obvious disadvantage. On the contrary it seemed to me Jorge was often able to make up some ground and even passed Marquez on some sections where corner exit was critical.

I'll tell you what I saw for what it's worth, Marquez's maximum lean was a couple of degrees HIGHER than Lorenzo's when the lean-o-meter was displayed. Which is consistent with what it's shown at other races as well. I remember a while back Jorge doing a demonstration on a stationary bike of what 65 degrees looked like, however I have never seen him or anyone else achieve that in a race even on Mugello's long corners. I have seen Marquez get to 62 degrees consistently which Jorge doesn't get to in the same corners. But then Jorge seems more comfortable accelerating harder on the edge of the the tyre, where the Honda has to wait for longer before hitting the power hard, probably due to the Yam engine characteristics and electronics. That's been the case for years really but Mugello is the first time it's been in evidence enough to matter in 2014.

The only times when Lorenzo had an advantage on corner exit was when he had prepared it during the course of two or three corners by choosing a different line. Mugello is the perfect place for that, apparently. A lot of fast, flowing corner combinations. By choosing a compromising line in one corner, he often seemed to have more speed through the next. I think, this is how Lorenzo tried to hang on to get a tow behind Marquez on the front straight.

And I don't see why people claim that Lorenzo's Yam was able to keep up on the front straight. He couldn't overtake out of the slip stream. Only during breaking, which has obviously improved for him. He said so himself after the race. But how often did Marquez power by just like that (on that same straight) coming from behind and leading by almost a bike length by the time both riders hit the brakes?

And again, Marquez said so himself. They changed the gear ratio. But not only did he have a longer 6th gear, but the Honda clearly had the power to transform it into more top speed without losing ground on acceleration.

true enough Marquez was able to slip past, but not on every lap, and when he did, only just. I know I'm factually wrong (as too many people on here are clear that the Honda is faster) but it looked to me like the bikes were pretty evenly matched.

If you still have your recording (i delted mine unfortunately, and for Le Mans also) you can fast forward a bit to where they showed the simultaneous telemetry, in Mugello of Lorenzo, and at Le Mans of Rossi. It was a few consecutive corners of 10 - 15 kph advantage, but no related gap developed. Lorenzo takes a wider line so he was going a little farther - but exiting a corner 10kph higher should result in a bit of a gap, which as we saw, didn't emerge. Rossi had the same deal 2 weeks ago.

Marquez is very fast and maximizes the Honda for sure, but the bike has some advantages.

I think what you might have seen was Lorenzo's higher speed through the corner maybe? The data as displayed seemed pretty clear - it'd be nice to get the full analysis but I guess only the teams have that.

You're right of course. I think it's quite clear for everyone that Lorenzo chooses a different line than possibly everyone else. It has been written by David and many others numerous times. He runs wider and by the looks of it (as far as I can tell from my couch :D) he also runs a lot faster.
But I think he took it to the extreme this time. Especially in the last corner to the front straight. There's a few shots where you can see Lorenzo running through that corner being trailed by Marquez. The camera showed both riders from behind, running through the corner. Lorenzo ran way further on the outside of the corner.
I could be wrong of course. But to me it looked like he tried to retain as much momentum as possible onto the straight. Still, when the two finished the penultimate lap and Marquez made the race winning overtake on the straight, it didn't look like Lorenzo could do much about it. Marquez, of course, was also hard to beat on the brakes. He always is.

"Lorenzo showing the kind of fight he had not displayed since he was in the 250s."

david, i think you have forgotten silverstone 2013 and valencia 2013. :)

i think in the race reports of those races as well you'd written similar statements about lorenzo's 250 days reminder in those races or something to that effect ;)

Finally a good MotoGP race and a battle to the finish. It's been a long time coming but it was still just a two horse race. Fantastic to see Jorge competitive again and saying that he feels he is close to winning. And yes - Marc did not look as confident after that race. Only he could have beaten Jorge at Mugello. nice to see Rossi on the podium where it matters most to him, bless the old geezer's heart.

Moto3 though, 6-7 abreast through turns, a crazy, madcap final few corners and three bikes crossing the line together in a photo finish. If you think the MotoGP at Mugello was a better race than the Moto3 at Mugello, you're on drugs.

And a small, but old and well worn writing tip: 50% less words please. 2500++ words in an internet article ? My eyes are itchy.

Given that I feel I never do the races and weekend justice, and should be writing about twice this, then shorter is impossible. If you want 50% less words, then just read the first half of the article.

Your articles are fantastic and usually end too soon for me. Best mix of depth, technical analysis, intellect, humor, experienced insight, journalistic forensics (new info not found elsewhere) and of course, FACTS! Lastly, your love for this sport comes out in every article you write.

Let that dude scratch his itchy eyes! ;)

I'm always a little sad when I've reached the end of the Sunday roundups. David's excellent pieces read as lean as they could be. Keep 'em coming!

I think you'll be outvoted on this one, friend :-). Itchy eyes are a price worth paying for writing of this quality! Personally I look forward to David's write-ups almost as much as the races themselves, and would happily read away all day if I didn't have a job to do. This site is head and shoulders above any other motogp site I've seen and David's articles are at the heart of it. Which reminds me, time I stopped being a tight-wad and instead became a site supporter. (Done).

Thanks for becoming a site supporter. That's what makes the difference between the site succeeding and failing. It means I can pay myself properly, and pay the fantastic group who work for me - Scott Jones, Jared Earle, Mike Lewis, Jacob Leech. Much appreciated.

Motomatters reminds me of a magazine I used to buy, called 'Mountain'. It was pure quality, with articles and opinions from some of the most interesting climbers of the time, accompanied by the very best mountaineering photos in print. It was clearly a labour of love by it's founder and editor, and like motomatters it was all about a niche sport with a relatively small constituency. Everyone read it but hardly anyone bought it; and all of us bemoaned our loss when it was gone, due to lack of sales. It's a bit of a weird one to pay to read and contribute to something like a website, especially when you can so easily do all of that for free, but good journalism is worth paying for.

of his riding that he only reaches when he races against Marquez. His agressiveness was near bewildering. I have no idea how both of them can ever race so, fast, hard and relatively clean and not crash.


Moto 2 has unfortunatey been too 800cc-like this season. Not much is shaken up by qualifying and the podium runners estabilish themselves too quickly. Too bad.

Moto3 was more like a draft loterry.

David, Can you tell us more about the tires Jorge was using? Are they a new compound/construction or more tires from last year? It seems from Lorenzo's comments which centered around the M1's improved braking that the larger 340mm brakes along with the tires were the major aids to his improved performance at Mugello.

Lorenzo's tires are identical to everyone else's tires. The tires at Mugello were almost identical to the ones used last year. I asked a Bridgestone spokesperson if they were identical and they ummed and ahhed and said, very nearly identical. Zeelenberg said it was a lot of things, not a single factor, but a combination.

For some reason i used to hate lorenzo, That all was washed out and he deserves all the respect now from mee too :D. It was truly a masterclass racecarft @ mugello on sunday. Balls of steel those men have got :) but Really clean & good overtakes by both.

And i agree with what he(jorge) says the M1 is truly lagging power only IMHO looking at how the RCV races past the bike. Just how stoner used to pass overtake back then on the Duc*, embarrasing all those machines next to it on the finish staight especially @ Mugello..... M sure the japanese factory(Yam) will look in to it hopefully... :P

And come Valentino's performance, as some say above it could've been any reason to not make it a battle with 99 & 93, i guess there was some tuning issue with his M1 or maybe he has not got the pace, Comeon guys lets admit it he is 35 now. So many riders of his age did not even reach so many friggin milestones as he has. 300th GP is no easy job fellas and thats not all he's got so many titles under his belt and sooooo many records. It takes years for one to break em..

EOD no matter what i am a diehard 46 FAN:D :D..... No actually cal me an A/C not a fan...lol.

LOTSA LUV FROM INDIA VALE46, WE LOVE U LOT HERE. I hope Motogp makes it to india(Buddh Internatonal circuit) soon before vale retires..... Fingers Crossed

Odd as it now seems I too didn't have much affection for Lorenzo (being a big Rossi fan) but I'm beginning to warm to him. One thing is for sure, he put up a colossal fight on sunday and deserves all the praise he gets for that. I'd thought that he was a bit of a one-trick pony, only able to win if he got away out front, but I'm (happily) revising that view after watching him dice so well to the end. Though the meanie side of me is secretly glad he didn't pull off the win as I'll get a warm fuzzy feeling if my (now seeming a little outlandish) prediction comes true and Rossi is the first to do that this season.

Speaking of which, what are 7 places worth time-wise on the grid - a couple of seconds? I feel Valentino did extremely well, even though I couldn't help reminiscing that 10 years ago he'd have gradually hauled them in before muscling past with panache and style. Though maybe he wouldn't have done so if the bikes they rode then were the bikes they're on now. Who knows. Only the riders.

Marquez: just pause and consider - at only six races in he has a two race lead over second place, which feels almost unheard of. (I'm too lazy to pore over the stats on motogp.com). In years gone by I always used to think that if a rider had a one race lead by laguna, they were as good as safe for the second half of the calendar. But two races after only a third of the season!!! Extraordinary.

And he has more than three races over Jorge who, if he keeps this form, I'd tip for runner-up. Does anyone remember the shock-horror moment of Stoner saying the title was done and dusted (to Rossi) in 08 or 09 about 4 or 5 races from the end of the season? Although I haven't heard of any of the riders saying so, they must be privately acknowledging that this is the case this year with 12 still to go!

Glad to see Lorenzo back in killer mode. There is no one else on the grid that has shown that they can take it to Marquez. My heart wants Rossi to, but that is a hope that seems to be stressing me more than relaxing me. Rossi is getting closer bit by bit. But if he does not get close by Misano, (a race where he got a second on the Ducati), I am going to have to let go. It is stressing me too much. I cannot be an Oakland Raider fan (one the most disappointing Football teams in America), and root for Rossi to win a championship. Something has to go. The team will be here. Rossi is eventually going to have to retire.

Marquez and Lorenzo. Well, Lorenzo always wanted a true rival. He now has it in the young phenom. Marquez will not be rattled. He has to be outright beat. Once Rossi retires I will be firmly in Marquez camp, but I still want Lorenzo to challenge and beat him just to have the tension remain in the championship. Sunday was a fine example of what those two can do. Marquez and Lorenzo not giving an inch. Never seen Lorenzo ride a bike so hard. Beautiful racing. Hope to see more battles like that in the future. Hopefully with others getting up there from time to time.

I had to laugh at that. Here in the UK we will shortly have to suffer several weeks of being told England are seriously in with a chance of winning the soccer (to you) world cup, all on the strength of one win 50 years ago, so to a man we probably know how you feel!

The thing is, when Rossi has been up there rattling Marquez's cage as in Qatar, my pulse rate must have been about 160 rpm, I thought the old ticker was going to give way, and no other rider has that effect for some reason. Maybe it's because he makes it look so damned dangerous, and you sit there caught between fear and fascination until the blessed relief of the chequered flag.

Anyway, that's me done for the evening.

What a start! I literally cannot remember a more exciting and interesting start to a race. My favorite race in a good while.

We were watching at the pub and there was a LOT of yelling. There was jumping around. Arms were waving. I spilled not one but TWO imperial pints of Guinness on the bar...one early on while standing and hollering "wow!" and one during the last two laps enchanted by the gorgeous battle (no problem w the alcohol, just passionate gesticulation apparently).

WOW! That was amazing.

Thanks so much for this one, grateful to be around for it.

Ducatis sure started well, including Crutchlow until he and Lorenzo plunked into each other. David any idea what Pirro has cooking in the lab bike specifically lately?

Anyone else increasingly fascinated by what is (and isn't) happening with Yamaha's development lately, and plans into the near future? Forward Open is surprisingly slow, and Poncheral's bikes are coming along well. The Factory bike is improving. Big thing on my mind is how and when Tech 3 will go Open, and what Yamaha is going to invest in that project. The championship electronics development is something I haven't heard much about since the season started, very interested in the goings on there.

Any updates there?

Because they will take 2015 to develop the software package they will submit for 2016 use. And in 2016 there is no 'open' or 'factory', its all one set of rules.

>>Forward Open is surprisingly slow, and Poncheral's bikes are coming along well.

AE did a great job turning a fast lap every session to keep him and Forward on everyone's minds (talk about happy sponsors!) but he had never shown a top 6 race pace. This shows how effective the factory electronics are. Him and the T3 bikes are a decent comparison of what 4 liters of fuel vs advanced electronic controls results in. Even AE says the race-long strageties enabled in the factory software will keep him from hitting the podium this year, especially as they develop it further.

>>The championship electronics development is something I haven't heard much about since the season started, very interested in the goings on there.

With what Ducati tried to pull at the beginning of this season I think the 2016 championship software will be a superset of the Honda, Yamaha and Ducati software circa mid-2015. The factories will use what they want to use and ignore the rest and the smaller teams will be swamped by all the options and only effectively use a fraction of the total functionality. Standard service will be maintained but the main unknown is the switch to Michelin tires. The one thing I think is certain is they will not be like the Bridgestones so it is really a bit of a crap shoot and maybe the shakeup of the tires will provide exciting racing merely because everyone will still be figuring it all out on race day.


great performance. It seemed that Marquez and Lorenzo are pushing and pulling each other. Valencia 2013, crazy (but relieving) performance by Jorge Lorenzo. When I watched that race, I felt that Lorenzo's body languange is saying, "Out of my way or I'll smack you down!" Mugello 2014, kinda same thing, Marquez chased down Lorenzo, he really wanted to put the hammer down but when got passed Lorenzo, Lorenzo tried to pass him as soon as possible. I think the result will boost Lorenzo's confidence and Marquez will be more cautious now as he knows that Lorenzo is coming. Rossi? Aah, whatever position he's crossing the finish line in, everyone (I'm not one of them, of course) will consider him 'the hero'. Now that Lorenzo is back, maybe we will see his 'color' reverts to his old color.