Jorge Lorenzo in pole position, changed tyres on the grid while his teammate Valentino Rossi lined up to his right, with Marc Marquez splitting the pair, with wings on his bike. Would it rain, just to add yet more excitement?
Jorge Lorenzo led Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi through the first few turns, and Lorenzo and Marquez wasted no time in building a gap from Rossi, as many predicted. It looked like the race everyone predicted, Marquez chasing Lorenzo, would come to be.
And then it rained.
At the start of the second lap, the white flags waved, signalling that riders could change bikes, but nobody bit. As the track adhesion diminished, Rossi set the lap record on the third lap, beaten a lap later by Lorenzo, on his way to closing up with the front two.
On the sixth lap, the white flag crossed with red came out. It was raining properly and everyone behind the lead three started riding cautiously and deliberately. Scott Redding crashed out a lap later as riders started pitting in for wet tyres. Lorenzo, Marquez and Rossi stayed out one one more lap. Marquez looked back at Rossi to ask if he was pitting in next lap and Rossi signalled back with his right leg that he would be.
Almost everyone else pitted in on lap eight, with Bradley Smith and a few others notably staying out, and Lorenzo left the pits with the same soft wet tyres as everyone else in fifth position behind the last slick hold-outs.
On lap nine, all the hold-outs pitted in, with the exception of Smith, and Marquez, having passed Lorenzo, led the way ahead of Lorenzo, Rossi and, further back, Smith.
As Smith was swamped by faster men on rain tyres, he still didn't pit in, dropping back handfuls of positions a lap, while at the front, Marquez and Lorenzo had over a three second gap to Rossi and were looking to return the race to its original script. Marquez went a little wide on the tenth lap, letting Lorenzo through, but the pair still had a decent gap from Rossi.
The rain stopped.
Valentino Rossi, when faced with a mutable track, has an edge. He started taking over a second back from Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez and had caught them convincingly at the halfway point. Marquez responded by passing Lorenzo, then deciding to drop back to third, behind both Yamahas, forcing them to make the decision when to pit back in for slick tyres as a dry line was visible, even on the newer dark tarmac. Rossi took advantage of a blip by Lorenzo to take third, a move much appreciated by the yellow crowd filling the track to capacity.
Further back, Loris Baz, having changed to slicks was scything through the pack, showing just how good he is in limited adhesion situations, something anyone who followed his Superbike career would be well aware of.
On lap eighteen, Lorenzo gets shown a pit in sign by his team, but it's a rider decision, not a team one and he decides he's not going to blink if Rossi isn't. A lap later, Marquez blinks and pits in. Neither Yamaha does.
A lap later, when it's obviously time to change to slicks, Rossi and Lorenzo still stay out.
Another lap, lap twenty-one of twenty-eight, Jorge Lorenzo pits in for slicks. Valentino Rossi is in trouble now. He leads the race ahead of Marc Marquez, Bradley Smith, Loris Baz, Scott Redding and Jorge Lorenzo, but he needs to change his tyres. He comes in a lap later and relinquishes the race lead to Marquez.
Rossi is now looking at seven laps remaining, not enough time to catch Lorenzo and losing points in the championship lead. His decision to stay out another lap looks like a costly one, right up to the point fate steps in and deals him another ace. Jorge Lorenzo, on his first lap out on slicks, miscalculates the heat in the side of his tyre and crashes out, possibly injuring his left hand.
The crowd goes wild.
The next six laps are Marc Marquez managing a six second lead from Bradley Smith, still wearing the same tyres he lined up on the grid with, while Loris Baz tries in vain to hold off Scott Redding, a man who crashed, picked his bike up and pitted in, while Valentino Rossi manages a fifth place ahead of Danilo Petrutcci.
Marquez takes his maiden victory at Misano ahead of a tearful Bradley Smith and exuberant Scott Redding. Loris Baz in fourth, the best ever Open bike result, also looked quite content with his race.
Bradley Smith claims he didn't pit in on time and was eventually forced to stay out, muttering "luck favours the brave" to himself. Scott Redding's third place makes this the first podium in the top class with two British riders since 1979.
Somehow, Valentino Rossi left Misano increasing his championship lead to twenty three points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo. and Marc Marquez crosses another track of his list of tracks he's won at.
|4||76||Loris BAZ||Yamaha Forward||+26.427|
|13||63||Mike DI MEGLIO||Ducati||+48.381|
|20||71||Claudio CORTI||Yamaha Forward||1 Lap|
|21||17||Karel ABRAHAM||Honda||1 Lap|
|44||Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||2 Laps|
|99||Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||8 Laps|
|68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||19 Laps|
|15||Alex DE ANGELIS||ART||19 Laps|
|51||Michele PIRRO||Ducati||19 Laps|