Determined to extend his lead in the championship, Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales had claimed pole position ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley at the Autodromo del Mugello.
Fantastic start from pole in Mugello
He got a fantastic start, and immediately was challenging for the lead against his teammate, Valentino Rossi who was looking to do well in front of his home fans. Despite being the second rider heading into the first corner of the race, he lost positions immediately as the Yamaha riders were mobbed by the Ducati team riders, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.
He soon began to compensate for places lost, and despite the Ducatis being notorious for their acceleration in a straight line, Vinales tactfully and successfully used the slipstream to receive a tow down the start-finish straight and out-braked his rivals heading into turn one to redeem them. He had to work hard to fend off the Ducatis who at one point where one either side of him as they began a new lap, and worked hard to out-brake them.
Vinales targeted his teammate
Vinales’ first objective was to pass his teammate Rossi who had slipped back to second when he lost a drag race against Lorenzo who took the lead. Rossi forcefully made his way passed Lorenzo, causing the Spaniard to sit up and allowing both the Yamaha riders through on lap three. Then on the following lap, Vinales tried to overtake but Rossi out-braked him.
Later on in the lap however he was able to pass and make his move stick. Rossi was no longer his problem however as corners later Dovizioso overtook the injured nine times world champion too. After a couple of laps, although Vinales remained in front but unable to extend his lead, Dovizioso proved successful out of the two battling Italians, and then chased down, caught, and passed Vinales around the outside of turn one of the 14th lap.
Second for Vinales in Mugello
Despite remaining under pressure from another hungry Italian, as Danilo Petrucci was looking incredibly strong on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati Desmosedici GP17 passed him at one point, and despite running wide on the 18th lap at turn one, he was able to cross the line in second, claiming yet another podium just 1.281 seconds behind race winner, Dovizioso.
The 20 points earned in Mugello meant that he has extended his championship lead. He remains top on 105 points, but now he is above Dovizioso, as the race win for the Italian allowed him to bypass Rossi on the rankings who is four points behind Dovizioso (79) on 75 points.
Vinales left happy and pleased
Vinales was left feeling “so happy and pleased” as he revealed that race day in Mugello was a day to “stay on the bike”. After he witnessed on track “Valentino fall back” and also “with Marc (Marquez) not being there at the front”, he told himself, “OK today is the day to take second place and bring home a lot of points.”
He felt that this was “really important after the crash on Friday” where he escaped injury after coming off at the fast turn 12 during Free Practice. Discussing surviving the crash he felt “already very lucky” to be racing as he described it as “a fast crash” and he found his “arm was hurting a lot”. So as a result he was “very pleased” for his result in Mugello.
Vinales overcome pain to push for final five laps
Vinales spoke of how he was “only feeling pain when the bike was moving”, not in general, but when he had to fight it to go the way he wanted it to go, however he reported that for “most of the race” he was “feeling really good” and was “at 100%”.
Vinales spoke of how he was “as always” during the race “preparing to push on the last five laps” and in doing so make his “best rhythm of the race”. But he concluded by saying, that the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, “was a good day to stay on the bike”.