The determination shone through from one Italian in particular who in his own performance in the Moto2 Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, demonstrated his own masterclass of overtaking, especially at turn seven of the track.
Extraordinary skill from Pasini on modified bike
Mattia Pasini, rider for the Italtrans Racing Team rides with a modified Kalex machine. An injury when he was younger left his right arm weaker, and he amazingly and inspirationally competes at the world championship level with the clutch and front brake lever on the left handlebar…. Amazing!
He is highly competitive, always looks strong throughout the race and a victory, never mind a podium, has been long overdue. But, it seemed that nothing was going to stop the Italian from claiming the top step of that podium in front of his home fans in Mugello.
Front row start for the Italian
Qualifying third on the grid and starting on the front row alongside the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS teammates, Franco Morbidelli and Alex Marquez, Marini proceeded to spoil the teams long run of victory since the season began in Qatar; Morbidelli has won four rounds and Marquez one… enter Pasini!
Pasini gained a place within corners of the 21 lap race slotting in behind Morbidelli after a fantastic start. By the end of the first lap he led ahead of Morbidelli and Marquez. Behind them on the final corner of the opening lap Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) crashed and took Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) allowing Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) to gain a position.
On the second lap Marquez took second from Morbidelli using the slipstream on the start-finish straight, Morbidelli retaliated but on lap four Marquez once again claimed the position. Luthi then worked on closing the gap between him and the leaders.
Morbidelli going backwards
Lap six saw Morbidelli lose another place to Luthi on the track that was at half the temperature that it had been the day before because of the overcast conditions. He was right behind Pasini and Marquez in no time; the Italian and Spaniard were taking completely different lines around the circuit.
With seven laps remaining, Marquez and Luthi decided to attack Pasini, mobbing him on either side of the start-finish straight and passing him into turn one however they both ran wide and Pasini regained his lead with ease. This was to continue for the rest of the race as they would gain the lead on turn one, but then Pasini would make the most amazing move, overtaking with precision using the tightest line you have ever seen at turn seven.
The three took turns to lead, but each time, they fought back, switching positions throughout. Luthi would be the later breaker on turn one but then would make a mistake and go wide at the first turn allowing the others through.
The last lap arrived and Luthi surged from third to first in one swift move at turn one, perfecting what he had practiced several times before. But, Pasini was determined and once again perfectly demonstrated his overtake at turn seven to pass Marquez, and then with corners remaining passed Luthi and went on to win the race.
Pasini wins his first Moto2 race and in Mugello
Pasini crossed the finish line just 0.052 seconds ahead of Luthi and 0,136 seconds ahead of Marquez in third. He was ecstatic as was everyone who has known, worked with and supported him. Achieving it in Italy made it that more special, and after accidentally slipping up on the podium and being helped up by Marquez, he stood and sang the Italian national anthem at the top of his lungs; he oozed with pride.
The 25 points he collected in Mugello in front of his home fans means that he has closed the gap between him and rookie, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) in fifth; Pasini is sixth with 49 points.
Pasini dedicates win to Simoncelli
Claiming his first win since 2009, and his first victory in the Moto2 class, Pasini explained that to “win in front of all of these people” was for him, “incredible” and mentioning “at a track like that”, he went on to say “I can’t believe it.” He thought that he “looked like one 20 year old rider out there” and that the race was “perfect” for him describing it as a “fast race”.
Pasini then went on to thank everyone for their support, including his family, team, fans and to certain persons for “believing” in him and “giving [him] the possibility for to make [his] revenge”. He said, “Here we are now, we need to continue like that.”
Returning to the podium for the first time in a long while, Pasini then went on to “dedicate this victory to Marco (Simoncelli)” who he felt on race day “surely pushed [him] a bit more forward in the race” and so said that the race “was for him” as he explained that the “last time [he was] on the top step of the podium it was with him”.
Luthi finished second in Mugello
Luthi’s 20 points from finishing second in Mugello means he managed to close the gap between him and championship leader, Morbidelli (113 points) down to 13 points as he is now on 100 in second.
Afterwards, the German rider said, “What a race and what a battle” when reflecting on the sixth round of the season in Mugello. He spoke of how he “slightly lost contact two or three times and had to make it up on the brakes”. He then explained how he “gave it everything on the last lap” however he “knew that Mattia was the strongest out there in that particular section of the circuit where he passed Alex Marquez a few laps earlier”.
He commended the Italian further saying how his “pace was exceptional” in Mugello and said “well done to him” as he felt that he “deserved to finally win his first Grand Prix in this class”. He thought that he “was not far off” and that they “were right there as every weekend”. He also felt that “in terms of the championship [he] did really well”.
Marquez dedicates podium to Nicky Hayden
When he returned to parc ferme, Marquez team changed the number on his bike from 73 to 69 in tribute to the late, Nicky Hayden. His 16 points collected in Mugello means he remains third in the championship now on 78 points; 22 behind Luthi.
Marquez described the final lap as “incredible” and although he “pushed as hard as [he] could” he felt that maybe he “thought too much about it”. He explained how he “saved [his] tyres for the final lap” however he found that “in the end it was not enough”. He complimented Pasini saying that he “had unbelievable rhythm for the whole race”.
The Spaniard was left feeling “happy to be on the podium in Italy” and also happy to be able to “score some very important points for the championship” before his home race in Barcelona.