Loris Baz left needing surgery in action packed Mugello GP

The weekend at Mugello, Italy for the sixth round of the MotoGP season seen Rossi's forced to retire from race when his engine exploded and left two riders needing to undergo surgery. A summary of the race incidents at Mugello from crashes, to penalties and retirements.

Loris Baz left needing surgery in action packed Mugello GP
Things went wrong for Rossi in his home GP | Photo:Yamaha MotoGP Team

The sixth round of the MotoGP took place at Mugello, Italy and once again it was not without incident, with two riders coming out of the weekend having to undergo surgery.

Operation successful for Rabat following crash in Free Practice

Free Practice 3 took place on Saturday, this session is where the riders compete in to finish in the top ten so they can automatically progress through to the second qualifying session where they will guarantee a race start from the front half of the grid. Unfortunately for rookie Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) he crashed at turn 13 early on during the session and was left needing to undergo surgery.

Rabat fractured and dislocated his sternoclavicular joint (collar-bone) in his left shoulder and surgeons Dr Xavier Mir and Dr Victor Marlet operated to insert a titanium plate to help to stabilise the fracture which had to be secured with eight titanium screws. He is now rehabilitating back in Barcelona after having the procedure done on Monday at the Barcelona Hospital Universitario Dexeus.

Michael Bartholemy (Team Principal) said the injury was a “high price to pay” in what he described as an “innocuous crash.” He spoke of how the surgery was “a success” however he confirmed that Rabat will need another medical assessment before deciding on the Spanish rookie’s return. He knows that, “Tito will be keen to get back on the bike as soon as possible, but we want him to be fully fit before he does so.

Rabat has turned to Twitter to express his disappointment in missing the sixth round at Mugello, and to confirm that he is well following the procedure.

Hernandez penalised as three riders crashed out at first corner of race

Come race day and the MotoGP class took to the track to complete the race. All riders made a clean start bar Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) who made a jump-start and had to complete a ride through penalty. More disaster struck in the first lap as a racing incident seen Loris Baz (Avintia Ducati), Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crash out of the race ending up in the gravel, Miller and Bautista were able to walk away however Baz knew straight away that his foot was hurt and was escorted off track by medical staff.

Not the best from Baz | Photo: Avintia Racing
Not the best from Baz | Photo: Avintia Racing

Baz spoke of how the race was “incredibly short.” Describing the incident he said after he made a good start he found a lot of traffic on the inside and that it was difficult to overtake in the first turn, because of this he “decided to get the outside line,” in doing so he felt someone hit him and he crashed. He knew instantly how severe his injuries were and saying, “From the first moment I realised that my foot was broken.

Frenchman Baz left needing surgery

Baz injury consists of fractures on the second, third, fourth and fifth metatarsals on his right foot, and a displacement on the first. His first metatarsal was reset in the medical centre at the circuit however he had to visit the hospital in Geneve today to have the others operated on. Cautiously, Baz plans to “Follow the Doctor’s instructions” as he said he does not want to “come back soon and take risks for the next races.” Baz spoke of how he will be more disappointed if he is unable to test in Barcelona following on from the race as he feels he can really benefit from the testing.

Bautista apologises for crashing into Baz and Miller

Bautista accepted blame for the incident which caused Baz’s injuries. He had crashed in the warm-up session and so needed to use the second bike for the race. He said that during the warm-up lap, “the front brake felt strange” and so because of this he “adjusted the lever before the start.” Describing the incident he said, “When I got to the first turn I braked normally, but as I was leaning the bike into it I felt the wheel lock up and I crashed.

The Spanish rider made the move to Aprilia when they joined the MotoGP this season. He was very apologetic to the other two crash victims saying, “First of all I want to apologise to Baz and Miller who I involuntarily involved in my crash.” Bautista remained “disappointed” saying, “Despite the fact it wasn’t my best weekend I was confident in my race pace.” His aim now is to do a “mental reset” and to concentrate on the next round in Barcelona.

Miller able to walk away unhurt

Miller spoke of how “You can’t control what is out of your hands” after his “race lasted about 500 metres.” Having “worked hard all weekend” to ensure they had a good setup for the race he felt it was “really disappointing to be taken out at the first corner.” Speaking about the incident he said he, “got hit from behind and Alvaro Bautista also lost the front” and so he thinks that it is Bautista’s sliding bike that caused him to crash. The Australian felt it was a “shame” but looked for the positives saying, “We improved all weekend.” Apologetic to his team and sponsors, he now hopes to leave this behind and to “look ahead to the next race in Barcelona.

The fans’ favourite’s  engine exploded when contesting for the lead

Looking determined to do well in front of his fans at his home GP at Mugello, Movistar Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi worked hard to gain pole position ahead of the race. He did not have the best start and had to work hard in the first corner to ensure he did not lose too much space behind his teammate Jorge Lorenzo who was leading.

The Italian pushed and made several attempts to overtake and gain the lead but ran wide several times. However the nine times world champion was determined not to give up.

Rossi nurses M1 back to pits | Photo: www.crash.net
Rossi nurses M1 back to pits | Photo: www.crash.net

The stands at Mugello were dominated by Rossi fans and riders passed through a yellow haze as many yellow flares had been set off around the track. Rossi tried to get past Lorenzo in any way that he could varying his lines to try and catch out the Spaniard and make the pass stick. However he would retaliate. This continued and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) caught the two factory Yamaha riders whose momentum was spoiled due to the battle.

However unfortunately for the Italian and much to the disappointment of the many fans of ‘The Doctor’that surrounded the circuit, Rossi’s M1 started to smoke during lap nine as he had a fault. He was out of the race and pulled off the racing line, as he nursed his bike back to the pits his engine exploded and smoke poured out of the back of his bike confirming that his race was well and truly over. This was the second M1 to do this on the day as Lorenzo's did the same during the warm-up.

Rossi disappointed with result in front of home fans

Rossi described it as a “great shame” saying, “It’s always a pity when you have a problem with the bike but here even more so because it was in Mugello in front of all the crowd.” The Italian felt he was “very competitive in the race and very fast” and after having what he felt was a good start he thought he “was there.” Rossi felt he “could have fought for the victory” due to his strong feeling and pace.

Speaking about the championship he mentioned how not claiming points “weighs very heavily,” the fact Lorenzo and Marquez finished first and second did not help his disappointment and he feels “now the distance is hard.” Remaining positive he said, “I was competitive over the whole weekend and I was strong. I could have fought for the victory so now we wait for the next race in Montmelo.”

Rossi feels the track in Catalunya is one of his favourite saying, “I like to race there a lot,” because of this he thinks he has “good potential.

Another DNF for Brit Redding

On the same lap British rider Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich Ducati) was also forced to retire from the race.

Redding reported seeing “the red light flashing” and so he “tried to slow down to see if the problem could be solved.” As he rode around he felt that “there were no signs of improvement” and so he made the choice to “stop to avoid damaging the engine.” Unwilling to accept blame he said, “I have not made a mistake and from a certain point of view I am satisfied with my performance.” Despite this he felt the “weekend had been good even if with some ups and downs.” He finished by saying, “We will try again in Barcelona.” This is the third race Redding has failed to complete out of the six rounds so far this season.

Unusual result for Espargaro

Following a great start to the season, and unusually for the Monster Tech 3 rider who has finished as the top independent rider in most rounds, Pol Espargaro only managed a 15th place finish due to crashing out and having to remount and complete the race. The Spaniard felt they “had the speed over the entire weekend” despite having to “face quite a few difficulties at this event.” He started from 14th on the grid and talking about the feat he had to overcome he said, “You have to either pass a lot of riders really quickly or any hope of a good finish is gone.

Despite his attempts to overtake as much as he could during the beginning of the race he spoke of how he “made contact with other riders” which he said caused him to “lose a lot of time in the initial laps.” In an attempt to overtake wildcard Michele Pirro on a factory Ducati he “ended up braking a bit too late” when trying to overtake him and “ran off the asphalt.” 

In doing so he fell but was “able to pick up the bike and finish the race.” Still appreciating the one point he collected at Mugello, he looks forward to his home GP in Montmello where he “fully intend(s) to do a much better job and seal a great result” in front of his home fans.

Pol Espargaro crashes out | Photo: autoevolution.com
Pol Espargaro crashes out | Photo: autoevolution.com

Hernandez penalised for jump-start

Hernandez' poor start meant he had to complete a ride-through penalty and he was unable to recover from this, he finished in 16th behind Pol Espargaro, unable to collect any championship points.

The Colombian felt it was “very sad to finish the Grand Prix in this way” having experienced a weekend in which he felt they would have been very competitive. He felt they were “closer to the top riders than usual” and felt they had “done very well in general,” and spoke of how he was “very surprised by the penalty.

Describing his start he said, “The bike moved a bit of the start; I grabbed the clutch and the bike moved by itself.” Hernandez said, “By the time I realised it was a little late.” He felt it was a “shame” when he received the penalty as he was in twelfth which the intention of fighting to be in the top ten. Remaining optimistic he said, “We continue with good energy in order to face the next race in the best way.