2018 Mugello MotoGP Race Result: Oh, The Days Of Yore

If there’s one look that MotoGP has been rocking lately it’s been unpredictability, all the more so in the splendid setting of Mugello. With track temperatures soaring over 50 degrees for the first time this weekend and with similar pace shown in practice by too many contenders to count, it was always going to be a hard grind. Maybe not so hard this time around for Jorge Lorenzo, who gave us flashbacks to his glory days with a masterful display to dominate in Mugello. No better way than a sixth win at the track and his first dressed in red to send a message to Ducati and to overshadow teammate Andrea Dovizioso, who finished second. Poleman Valentino Rossi saw a bit more action heading his way throughout the race and joined the podium at his home race, while also becoming the first rider to cross the 5000 premier class points milestone.

It wasn’t for the first time that Lorenzo fired into the lead at the start, demoting Rossi while Marc Marquez helped himself to third position. Andrea Iannone, Dovizioso, Alex Rins and Cal Crutchlow followed closely, while Maverick Viñales had a terrible start, going from third to ninth. Danilo Petrucci quickly found himself trailing the Spaniard after coming off worse in a battle with Marquez. On the topic of Honda, it was already starting to look like a bad day for the Japanese squad by turn two, when Dani Pedrosa and Takaaki Nakagami abandoned ship. Jack Miller, Karel Abraham, Tom Luthi and Scott Redding were also early victims of the conditions.

If the main players were waiting for Lorenzo’s familiar strategy to eat up his tyres and drag him back into battle, they would have been bitterly disappointed. By lap two, Lorenzo had four tenths in hand at the front when Marquez decided to make a move on Rossi in a bid to try to keep in touch with his compatriot while also working to bring his hard tyres up to working temperature. The Spaniard’s mission did not last long and although he wiped a significant portion of tarmac in turn ten with his elbow and thigh, he could not save the slide. The world champion rejoined last and continued lapping at frontrunner pace in his bid to pick up any points possible.

That left Lorenzo half a second ahead of Rossi but the Italian came under fire from Dovizioso by lap seven, the Ducati man bringing Iannone with him, Petrucci and Rins not far behind either. Rossi lost another place to the lead Suzuki as he ran wide in turn one but Iannone had a big challenge to get anywhere near the top speeds of the factory Ducatis ahead. Dovizioso himself looked to be struggling to bring down the one second gap to his teammate despite both riders posting red hot sector times. Iannone was not too far behind but not within striking distance either and Rossi looked like he was already struggling to match the pace of the frontrunners, with Petrucci looking to pounce on his compatriot.

At the halfway mark of the race, Lorenzo and Dovizioso were maintaining the status quo but Iannone was rapidly losing ground to the Ducatis, dropping three seconds and one position to Petrucci, who got past both Rossi and Iannone to join the all-Ducati provisional podium line-up. And that was not the blue bikes’ biggest problem, Rins and Crutchlow catching up with the podium battle as well. Iannone’s challenge faltered as did his medium front with ten laps to go, losing places to Rossi and teammate Rins. Rins was on a roll and pushed Rossi back to fifth soon after.

Meanwhile, Lorenzo showed no hint at slowing down with seven laps left, increasing his gap to two seconds. Behind him, it was the calm before the storm, the only move being Rossi demoting the Suzukis to make a comeback in the podium fight. This was bad news for Petrucci, who was six seconds off the leaders and got relegated by Rossi and Iannone one lap later. Rins and Crutchlow were also prepared to benefit from the Pramac’s rider’s tyre troubles while Maverick Viñales and Alvaro Bautista were only seven tenths off that battle too.

With five laps to go, Dovizioso looked to have thrown in the towel as Lorenzo led his teammate by over four seconds but Iannone could not resist another showdown with Rossi for the final podium spot. In the end, Lorenzo was out to make a statement by increasing his advantage to six seconds with a fierce pace in the 1:48s while all eyes were on Rossi and Iannone rubbing fairings – mostly metaphorically – every now and again. Rossi nailed third spot on the final lap and magically got within three tenths of a second of Dovizioso’s second place.

Iannone settled for fourth, lead Suzuki by only two hundredths of a second from Rins. Crutchlow finished one second down the road in sixth, with Petrucci fading all the way down to seventh place. Viñales got close to the Ducati but settled for eighth, ahead of an encouraging ninth place for Bautista and with Zarco completing the top ten after a lonely race for the Frenchman.

Marquez diligently brought the Honda home in 16th place and his non-scoring ride brings Rossi 23 points from the lead of the world championship. Viñales drops to third, another five points back – in an otherwise excellent turn of events for Yamana considering their early season troubles. Dovizioso found himself right back in the mix too, 29 points down on the world champion. And on to the world champion’s home we go.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 41'43.230
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +6.370
3 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +6.629
4 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +7.885
5 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +7.907
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +9.120
7 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +10.898
8 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +11.060
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +11.154
10 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +17.644
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +20.256
12 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha +22.435
13 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +22.464
14 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +22.495
15 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +26.644
16 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +39.311
17 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +1'01.211
18 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 5 Laps
    Not Classified    
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 4 Laps
  43 Jack MILLER Ducati 22 Laps
  12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 22 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 0 Lap
  17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 0 Lap
  45 Scott REDDING Aprilia 0 Lap
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In spite of the somewhat processional nature at the front there was still a lot to like.  Jorge can be a bit of a tool but I was really glad to see it finally click for him. Marc was looking ragged before his crash, it's easy to say he should have backed it off a tad and take some points, so I will... he should have backed it off a tad and taken some points. :)  Both Vinales and Rins still seem to have poor pace at the beginning, Rins was looking good, he had far more tyre than the others toward the end but struggled to get by, was it a pass gone wrong which pushed him back behind Rossi and Ianonne?  I guess with the start to the year he's had he was conscious he should not toss it.  What happened to Dovi at the end, Rossi damn near had him?  And in spite of the well publicised troubles of Yamaha, Rossi trails by only 20-something points, heading into some of the tracks he goes best at... Assen in particular.  It's a long season though.

I thought we would never see J.L.99 win on the Ducati. At last the day has arrived, YIPEE !!

It was said that Dovizioso's front tire was finished. A.D. 04 did well to take second.

Valentino Rossi, beyond 5000, a great result.

I was honestly surprised there was no investigation of Marquez's pass on Petrucci on the first lap. My first impression upon seeing the pass was that Marquez barged Petrucci off the track pretty firmly. It looked a little less onorus from the overhead view, but given that Marquez has already been disciplined this year for such passes I thought some sort of action would come of it even if there ended up being no punishment.

Didn't see much wrong with it, yes it was late but still fair. Marquez made the apex and took it away from Petrucci.

He used Petrucci as a berm. And did it wilfully. Petrux was lucky: if there had been gravel in that  corner his race was over. Coming from another rider - Pedrosa, Lorenzo, Vinales- we should not look too much into it... but it's Marquez, he has been warned times and again and does not care.... Race Direction should have given him a warning. Just a reminder that things have changed since argentina. 

It was definitely a harsh move, but not as rude as the actions in Argentina. It was also at one of the first few corners, where it is usually a little more chaotic. Petrucci by the way got a taste of his own medicine: just ask Redding, Pedrosa, Espargaro a.o...

... it looked like 6 of one, half dozen of the other to me; and I imagine if you’re making contact like that, you would lean in on the other if it stops you from crashing. Racing incident.

Speaking of crashes, I have to take my hat off to mm, he gave that 110% to try to get back upright, that’s more determination than I’ve ever seen from anyone else, bar perhaps Colin Edwards on that last corner almost win.


For school teachers around.

Sick and tired of more rules and you people like to question why there are more!?

Marc and Danilo were racing

My opinion - he exceeded a limit of hard racing vs. overly aggressive manuever.  And also agreed...given his track record (no pun intended) I thought there'd at least be a review and made that comment to my lady the moment it happened.  

Jorge finally got the best result he could've asked for, a home win for Ducati. Even if it is too little too late. He will forever be able to say he did it when Rossi couldn't, granted two very different Ducati's. Rossi has won on two different manufacturers, just not the Ducati. It's always edge of your seat excitement when the weather conditions throw a wrench into the works. I was really hoping for a Rossi win in Mugello, but a pole and P3 show us that he still has it. Assen is always a favorite so maybe we will see a win there. The standings are all pretty close so that makes the season all the more fun.

I have an itch to write something lengthy for the round up.

Ducati will become the 3rd best bike as of next year.  And by the way - have fun fighting 3 Factory Yamahas.

All you had to do was dispell the Jack / Danilo rumors.  Maintain transparency with Jorge.  And you'd still have a championship team next year.

have fun relying on 2 non- MotoGP world champions.

btw - did it secretly hurt that Jorge took 5 potential points from Dovi?; which was a Ducati victory for sure?  Get used to it for the rest of the year. 

Yep. Saw it coming.

That was a lot of first lap crashes though eh? The tires at high temps were a tad challenging. The hard front was a bit soft both in construction/flex and compound. Not a lot of asymmetrical users (4?). Lorenzo babied his edge grip well. He was hanging WAY off that bike. So many DNF's (a full 1/3rd of the Moto2 grid!). First lap crashes...caught out pushing.

Suzuki looked great too.

No one ever likes to see "I told you so," but I did about Marquez racing himself to a crash, Ducati and Lorenzo, Suzuki, anx Yamaha coming together,. It was the Yamaha rear tire we were to worry about, but the front that was getting stressed. The old dog did very well. Dovi too looked solid, he has mindfully settled himself.

Too little too late of course from Jorge. But good for his job hunt. Old style! Hammering out the metronome.

During the race btw 221.8mph was hit by Dovi, new top speed record. And again, a very low take given the speed trap placement in the braking zone. Fast!

Fun race

I missed that - he did this during the race, with the aero kit?

Much was made of Mugello being "Rossi's home track", and yes there is the legion of fans, home country, and a lot of wins in the past, but Jorge has won 6 of 8 races there starting 2011, including an uncharacteristically scrappy 2016 win. This track seems to really suit his style, and I wonder if it also was the track that sold him on trying a Ducati, seeing all that time being made back in the straight after he built a lead through the rest of the course on the Yamaha's corner speed. So maybe it's not that surprising that his first Ducati win comes here?

great ride from JL, the post race comments he made harked back to CS27 complaining of speed of upgrades from Ducati. If you’re one of the best racers on the grid it must be frustrating that you’re not given the minor component upgrades that can make a small difference in a sport where a the top ten is covered by a couple of % over race distance.

Silly season had a premature start this year, but we’re now entering the legit silliness phase:

  • can Ducati keep JL (do they want to)?
  • does JL think a factory Duc is worse (for him) than a ‘satellite’ Yam
  • how ‘satellite’ will this Yam be? Yam know what JL does vs possible regret over resigning MV prematurely
  • Will Duc regret not focusing/listening more to a proven multi-MotoGP champ vs the prospect of promoting Petrux or Miller to the factory squad (no offence, but neither is likely to win a championship based on their historical results)
  • if JL does go, will Duc pull a move out of left field and go for Mir?
  • If Honda have looked into Mir, and he turned them down, what next for Ped -Suzuki?
  • etc, etc

silly season just got real

he said he altered his riding style to compensate for wear on the front tire.

I'm pretty sure you can't base a season on one race's results, especially considering what seems to be a guessing game on very narrow-range Michelin tyres.

I'm extremely happy for JL, especially as the podium 1-2 comes on Ducati's "home" track. Watching him pound out those laps, most of them in the 1:47 range, in the heat, was so gratifying. And to do it on the Med/Soft front/rear tire combination was incredible.

But, we'll still have to see what the rest of the season brings for Jorge Lorenzo. I still find it hard to believe a tank modification can consistently make all the difference between a mid-pack and a podium finish. Irrespective of what the media wants, I believe minds have already been made up, on both sides, and JL will be very happy to see the last of the red bike at the end of this season.