Movistar Yamaha Make Mugello Magic
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo was unbeatable in Mugello today to claim a brilliant victory in the Gran Premio d'Italia, his third consecutive MotoGP win of the season. Teammate Valentino Rossi also gave a stunning performance, to finish third, making it three double podiums for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team in a row.
Thousands of home fans of the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team gathered at the Autodromo del Mugello to see their dreams come true today. Not only did Jorge Lorenzo claim a flawless victory for the Gran Premio d'Italia, Yamaha's fifth of the season, but their local hero Valentino Rossi also battled his way onto the podium. He secured third in a hard fought race, making it his sixth consecutive podium.
After a flying start from second on the grid, Lorenzo tucked in behind Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso to quickly make his intentions clear. He moved up from third to lead the way when he crossed the line for the first time. With a clear track ahead of him, the race went exactly as he planned. As his pit board signaled rival Marc Marquez's approach, he put the hammer down, setting a 1'47.700, the fastest lap of race.
He gradually built a gap and remained untouchable for the rest of the race. Riding consistent laps in the low 1'48s the Spaniard finished his perfect performance at the team's home GP with a 5.563s advantage. This win is Lorenzo's third at the Mugello circuit in four years' time.
Starting from eighth on the grid, teammate Rossi lost time when he got caught up in the pack and finished the first lap in ninth. He quickly made his way through the field, hunting for Cal Crutchlow riding in sixth and overtaking him on lap eight. It took The Doctor four laps to close down a 2.5s gap to the group battling for second place. He immediately passed Dovizioso for fifth and went on chasing Dani Pedrosa, Marquez and Iannone.
Rossi had his mind set on the podium and, having watched Marquez crash out, he was quick to make a move on Pedrosa for third. He pushed hard to close in on Iannone, setting a personal best of 1'48.173, but was unable to catch his compatriot and secured the last podium place, 6.661s from his teammate, accomplishing a third consecutive double podium for Yamaha.
Lorenzo's 25 point score adds to his total of 112 points, keeping him in second position in the standings. He is six points behind teammate and championship leader Rossi, whose 16 points put him on 118 points.
1st / 41'39.173 / 23 laps
"I'm very happy, because I didn't expect to escape with such a big margin, but sometimes it happens that you feel great on the bike. Today the track was not so quick so everyone has been a bit slower than we expected. I was the only rider to ride multiple 1'47s, so luckily for me I was gaining six or seven-tenths per lap, this was key to the win of the race. If someone would have told me before Jerez that I would win three races in a row I wouldn't have believed it, but this is what happened. We are in a great shape; Valentino is getting podiums in every race so that means he is strong and also the bike is working really well. It seems that this year could be our year, so we have to take advantage of it. It was a different situation when I was twenty-nine points behind than now when it's down to six, but even like that it's difficult to close in on Valentino in points because he is always on the podium. Today Iannone stayed in front of him so it's four points more and as I said six points difference is much better than twenty-nine, but we can't relax and neither can Yamaha. Our competitors are working really hard to fix the problems they seem to have with the stability of their bikes and they will arrive at a point that they will win races, but until then we need to make the most of our potential to improve the bike little by little."
3rd / +6.661s / 23 laps
"Mugello was very busy, because I am very competitive and all the Italian fans expected a great race from me. It's a bit of a shame that it wasn't a fantastic race. I wasn't strong enough but at the end of the race I arrived on the podium after a great recovery and a hard race. To be on the podium with whole the crowd is always magical with the track being full of people. I've been suffering the whole weekend, I was never strong and didn't achieve a good level of speed. In the race I also suffered a lot, especially on the first lap. I think we have to improve, especially with Jorge being very strong, he is in a great shape and to match his level we need to be more competitive."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"To win anywhere is a fantastic result, but to win here in Mugello is even more special. It's an important circuit to dominate at so to have both riders on podium in front of thousands of Italian fans at our home race is perfect. Jorge has again been very impressive and shown us all weekend his determination and belief in his ability to win, it was a well deserved victory. Despite not having the best start position Vale also showed his skill and race craft to fight his way through to a podium finish. I have to thank both the riders and the whole team for their hard work and effort to deliver these results, they give us the motivation to continue like this. We leave here holding first and second in the championship having demonstrated that we have the riders, bike and team capable of consistently fighting for victory every weekend."
Smith strikes again to clinch top five finish at Mugello
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith produced a superb performance at the Italian Grand Prix to clinch 5th and his fourth top six finish this year aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The young British rider began the race from 11th on the grid but highly confident of speeding to a top result after finishing this morning's warm up in 5th place. As the lights went out, Smith bolted forward to meet the first corner in 4th, having overtaken 7 riders before he completed the lap one place back. The following stages of the race saw him running in 8th and after posting a series of consistent lap times, his strong rhythm saw him locked in a battle with Cal Crutchlow at the mid point of the 23 lap sprint. The British star kept plugging away and with 20 laps completed he was in 6th before soaring across the finish line one place higher. The successful result elevates him to the position of the leading satellite rider in the 2015 MotoGP world championship standings and he now looks to ride to a similar placement at the Monster Energy Gran Premi de Catalunya.
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro met the chequered flag in 6th place and right behind his teammate in the MotoGP battle at the legendary Mugello circuit, as he closed his weekend with a strong result. The 2014 rookie of the year opened his day with a 6th place finish in the warm up after qualifying in 10th for today's 23 lap dash. He shot off the starting line and ran behind his teammate before completing the first lap in 6th. As the distance to the end decreased, Espargaro dropped back to 9th but remained focused and rode rapidly to create a gap to the pursuing riders. Moreover, his firm race pace allowed him to home back in on Smith in the final section of the Grand Prix and as the race drew to a close, the 23 year old Spanish rider finished just behind his teammate by four tenths of a second. The result today marks a superb return from his recent arm surgery and now the 2013 Moto2 World Champion confidently looks on to his home Grand Prix in a fortnight at the Circuito de Catalunya.
5th / +15.284s / 23 laps
"I'm really pleased to close this weekend with a 5th place finish after a superb race that was a real pleasure to ride! Although my qualifying position was not fantastic, it spurred me on to get a good start, which is exactly what I did and then to come home with 5th is great for me, the team and the championship standings. I had fun battling with Cal and I really gave it my all, plus the bike was strong today, even though there are a few things that we need to address in the coming weeks. One of these was the handling of the bike in the beginning of the race, yet, there's not a lot we can do with the setting to close the gap in the opening laps. I am sure Yamaha understands where we are struggling and I'm convinced they will do their very best to assist us in solving this in the future. Still, the bike is working really well at every track we have visited so far so I look forward to the next race in Barcelona, which is almost a home race for me because I live quite close by!"
6th / +15.665s / 23 laps
"After the recent surgery and two weeks without training, this was the optimum that we could obtain, even though it is not an incredible result, as we are behind our team mate. Still, in normal conditions I think we could have been stronger as I suffered a lot with the changes of direction and I could hardly move the bike. Nevertheless, we were right behind Cal and Bradley and I even managed to come back on them during the closing stages of the race when I was really tired. Therefore I think there are plenty of positives to take from today. Now we have to keep working as Montmelo, which is my home race is coming next and I'm highly motivated to score a strong result there, so we have to be physically prepared."
Loris Baz first Open at Mugello
A very positive day has just ended for the team Athinà Forward Racing and Loris Baz at the Italian GP in Mugello. The French rider, rookie in MotoGP, after an all-out race crossed the line in 12th position winning the Open category in front of Barbera.
Baz, who started from 18th place, had a very good start and quickly reduced the gap to the group of other Open bikes. He was able to battle for most of the race with Redding, before being forced to slow down to save his tyres. The Frenchman has now 10 championship points, trailing the leader of the Open class by just six points.
The race ended prematurely for his teammate Stefan Bradl. The German, who was the fastest Open until then, crashed during the third lap after he made contact with Hayden and was forced to retire.
12th / +42.158s / 23 laps
"I'm really pleased with the epilogue of this race. I knew I would have suffered in terms of speed, but I had a good pace. I started well, I immediately closed the gap with the other Open bikes and I kept my pace. With ten laps to go I started to have some tire problems and I had to slow down a little to make it to the finish. I'm happy at the end of last season I did not have a bike but Giovanni and the team believed in me, we worked hard and this is the best way to repay their commitment".
DNF / +20 laps
"Unfortunately my race ended earlier than expected. I started well, I was fighting for victory in the Open with Hayden, when I heard a bump from behind and found myself on the ground with him without being able to do anything to avoid collision. I do not know exactly what happened, but it's really a shame because we have proven to be consistent this weekend and the head of the Open was within our reach."