It was a dramatic end to the sixth round of the MotoGP at Mugello as Movistar Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo stole the win in the most final stages of the race, crossing the line just ahead of Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez by 0.019 seconds.
Dramatic start to the sixth round at Mugello
A series of events led up to Lorenzo’s victory. The 29-year-old started from the second row where he was fifth on the grid, a fantastic launch at the start when the lights went out and a dive to the front of the pack meant he led into turn one.
He fended off his teammate Valentino Rossi who made several attempts to overtake him in the early stages of the race. Then fortunately for Lorenzo, Rossi forced to retire when his engine blew up from his M1.
Marquez was in pursuit of Rossi as he battled with Lorenzo; this battle meant he was able to stay within reach of the two Yamaha riders and when Rossi was forced to retire, he was right on the tail of Lorenzo. The young Spaniard was able to pass the 2015 MotoGP Champion after several attempts at turn one; this is where many riders would try to out-brake the others at the end of the start-finish straight where they will have took advantage of the slipstream.
Marquez made several lunges at turn one, but would go wide and immediately lost the place. On the final lap, the two battled and it was Marquez who led out of the final corner. But Lorenzo stayed tucked in behind him until the very last moment where he came out of his slipand had the power left to accelerate past him and crossed the line just ahead of the Repsol Honda rider.
Unexpected victory for Lorenzo
Lorenzo spoke of how the “pace wasn’t very fast” and that he did feel like he could “escape” as he aimed to. He felt that Marquez “stayed strong” throughout the race and that he himself “used a lot of energy to go at the front in the race.”
Because of this, the Champion thought that Marquez “would have more energy at the end when he passed me.” Contemplating settling for second place he spoke of how he remembered what happened in 2005 when he was riding for the 250cc race when he “passed De Angelis in this corner in the last chicane,” he attempted a repeat of history.
Lorenzo said: “I tried a crazy move and it was OK but I was going right in the second corner of the chicane.” He found that his “bike was quite fast” and knew that he could “get past Marc” which he did to claim an “unexpected victory.”
Marquez regressed to his less mature ways
Marquez lost by a tiny amount and said, “For the first time in my career I know what it is like to lose the race in the last 50 metres,” an experience that he said he was unsure that he had felt before. Describing the closing stages of the races he “knew it was really close” between him and Lorenzo saying, “even with the slipI wasn’t able to overtake Jorge.”
Again Marquez spoke of how he and the Repsol Honda team “were struggling a lot all weekend,” a claim he has made at many rounds so far this season, he repeated his concerns with the “last acceleration and on the top speed.” The young Spaniard felt that he gave his “maximum” throughout the race and that it was “the best race that was possible today.”
Marquez said: “I tried to win the race but in the last straight Jorge got me with the slipstream.” Speaking about the remainder of the season he said, “We must still work on acceleration” remaining hopeful by saying, “We’ll try to make another step for the next races.” Marquez appears to have taken a much more mature approach to the season this year yet he confessed to regressing saying "the old Marquez came and I forgot about the championship and just attacked.”
Did Iannone have a point to prove?
After recently learning that he would lose his place at the Ducati factory team, as one of them had to make way for Lorenzo who has just signed a contract for the next two seasons, it seemed that maybe Iannone wanted to teach the Italian team what they would be missing as he will be riding for Team Suzuki Ecstar after this season draws to a close. It may have just been the determination to win at his home GP, and a chance to do this on Italian bike for what could be the last ever time.
Despite finishing third at Mugello and claiming the last podium spot and 16 points towards his championship Iannone felt “a big disappointment” in the result. At the start of the race he said “the clutch was slipping and the bike started with a big wheelie.” He said how he finds it “difficult to control” and feel that he was at a disadvantage as he said, “everyone passed me and I arrived late to the first corner.”
Worrying the race was going to be a “disaster” for him, he described how he pushed very hard throughout the race, rode fast and felt he had “a good feeling with the tyres.” Praising the Michelin tyres he said, “In this track the tyres work really well,” the French manufacturers have been the suppliers to the elite class since the beginning of the season and he said, “Michelin improve race by race and this is really important for us.”
Iannone said his disappointment at Mugello was with the result, trying to remain positive he said, “Yes the podium in Italy is great but I have the potential to fight for the victory.” He finished by saying, “I needed this today and we’ll keep trying.”
Smith back to flying form
The fastest independent rider at Mugello was again a Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider, only this time it was Britain’s Bradley Smith who finished seventh and claimed nine points. Smith has struggled to feel comfortable with the bike so far this season and felt happy with his achievement which is was he felt was back to where he needed to be. He put effort into practising his starts all weekend and felt the extra effort in practice paid off. He pulled to the left as they entered turn one and found himself in third on the exit.
Smith did not feel that he had the pace at the beginning of the race but he “aimed to stay as close as possible to the guys in front plus not make any mistakes” as he felt that his pace would be “better later on.”
The Brit chose to maintain the tyres and try to “remain consistent.” Recalling the race he said, “Petrucci tried to fight me in the last laps but I had a little bit left in the reserve tank so I just went for it in the final part.” He felt that the modifications made to the bike since Le Mans left he feeling pleased with the feeling he received.
Despite it taking six rounds, Smith feels, to get to the stage they finished the 2015 season at, he said, “We have plenty more races to go to make up the points (we) lost at the start of the season.”
Blaming the fact he was not “as fast adapting to the Michelin tyres when compared to some of the other riders,” he remains positive and said, “We are getting there and I’m confident, plus looking forward to the next round," said Smith. “Thirteen seconds behind the leader at the end of the event is a strong result for us." He went on to add that, "it shows that we have worked in the right direction."