Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Mugello:
Jorge Lorenzo has taken a much-needed victory at Mugello to get his championship defense back on track, catching and then passing Casey Stoner to secure a convincing win.
Lorenzo looked like being a long way from victory once the flag dropped. Casey Stoner took the holeshot, and quickly pulled a sizable gap. Behind the Australian, Ben Spies had got into the first corner in 2nd, but he was soon swallowed up by his teammate. Once past Spies, Lorenzo began the hunt for Stoner, but the Repsol Honda rider was in no mood to hang around. Stoner put his head down and pushed, pulling out a second-and-a-half gap within the first three laps.
The race would not turn into another Stoner runaway, however. Though Stoner's advantage edged up to over two seconds, Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso never lost touch with the Australian. The factory Yamaha rider led the chase for the first part of the race, but he was constantly harried by Dovizioso. It took the Repsol Honda man until lap 8 to get past, only sliding underneath the Spaniard when he ran a little wide on the brakes at San Donato, and even when Dovizioso did get by Lorenzo, it did him no good. Lorenzo returned the favor of chasing Dovizioso, pushing him wherever he could find a gap. Lorenzo's chance came on lap 12, skating past the Italian at the downhill right-left of Casenove and Savelli.
Lorenzo then set about chasing the Australian, a job that was made easier by Stoner's sudden drop of pace. That slowing coincided, either perfectly or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, with a sudden increase in the pace of Lorenzo. Smelling blood, Lorenzo cranked up the pace another notch, and soon closed down on Stoner. On lap 18, Lorenzo had him, passing the Repsol Honda rider in the same place he had taken his Italian teammate. After fending off some stiff resistance by Stoner for a couple of laps, Lorenzo was finally clear, and he pressed home his advantage as hard as he could. The effort was enough to secure him his second victory of the season, and one that tasted all the sweeter for coming in the dry.
Stoner's misery - he later said he was struggling with a tire that had too much pressure in it, destroying the grip and spinning the rear, losing the ability to use the drive of his Honda RC212V to load the front - was compounded when Dovizioso came by on the final lap, bumping the Australian down to 3rd. Dovizioso's 2nd place made him both best Italian and strengthened his grip on 3rd in the championship. To take 2nd at Mugello, just a few miles from his home in Forli, was a dream for Dovizioso.
Behind the front three, another entertaining battle unfolded for 4th. Ben Spies got tangled up with Marco Simoncelli, causing much anxiety in the Yamaha garage, especially given the recent experience of Spies' teammate, Jorge Lorenzo. But at Mugello, Simoncelli fought hard but more sensibly, the pair swapping places through the race, Spies coming out on top at the end of the race. Spies took a 4th to consolidate his win last week at Assen, leaving Simoncelli picking up the crumbs in 5th.
Valentino Rossi ended the race in 6th after a hard and entertaining chase through the field. Starting from 12th, Rossi battled his way forward through a large group that formed for much of the race. A setup change found in warmup - lifting the entire bike 20mm while leaving the wheelbase of the machine unchanged - had solved had increased the Italian's pace, though he was still eight tenths off the pace of the front runners. The change should provide the team with more setup options, however, to help make the bike a little more competitive.
Lorenzo's win brings him 9 points closer to the championship leader, Casey Stoner. The gap is now down to 19 points, opening the championship up again and adding some spice to the MotoGP class. With a tighter championship and the best race of the season so far - not exactly a thriller, but certainly a race full of tension and more passing at the front - some interest has been reinjected into the series.
|14||14||Randy DE PUNIET||DUCATI||42'38.929||48.840|
|35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||YAMAHA||11'10.247||17 laps|