Lorenzo Seals Yamahas 100th MotoGP Win in Remarkable Mugello Race
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo continued his momentum at the Autodromo del Mugello track today as he secured a brilliant victory in the Gran Premio d'Italia. His achievement marks the Yamaha Factory Racing team's hundredth premier class win of the modern four-stroke era, that began in 2002, as well as their third consecutive first place of the 2016 season. Valentino Rossi also gave a stunning performance in the early stages of the 23-lap sprint as he battled with his teammate for the lead, until a mechanical issue on lap nine prevented him from completing the race.
Today the Autodromo del Mugello circuit was filled with thousands of fans who gathered to see the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders continue their 2016 MotoGP World Championship challenge. Jorge Lorenzo rode his signature race, leading over the line on each lap, to take a flawless victory at the Gran Premio d'Italia. Teammate and local hero Valentino Rossi was also in contention for a strong result, but was unable to finish the race due to a technical failure.
Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear and had a flying start from fifth place on the grid to take the holeshot. With his teammate on his tail, he led across the line after the first lap, but it soon became clear his fellow Yamaha rider would not go down without a fight. The Doctor made a pass going into turn one, but Lorenzo was not shaken and quickly regained the lead as the Italian ran wide.
With a clear track ahead the number 99 rider tried to break away, but he was unable to shake Rossi who continued to pile on the pressure, ready to seize any opportunity to pass. However the smooth Spaniard left no space for him to slip past and made sure to brake at the last possible moment every time going into turn one to keep the lead.
Lorenzo rode defensively until Rossi fell behind due to a mechanical issue and was forced to retire. This allowed the current World Champion a small breather until Marquez tapped onto the back of his YZR-M1 with ten laps to go. With five points between them in the championship, the two compatriots battled hard for the win. The last lap saw a flurry of activity, with Lorenzo making an unexpected overtaking manoeuvre in the Scarperia corner. It didn't stick, but Lorenzo cleverly used his experience and launched his YZR-M1 out of the last corner to steal the victory, his third of the season, as he crossed the line 0.019s ahead of Marquez.
Starting from pole position, teammate Rossi had a good start and slotted in behind Lorenzo going into turn one. Determined not to let the Spaniard get away, Rossi briefly took the lead in the second lap of the race going into turn one, but had to hand it back when he ran wide. With the massive support from his fans cheering him on, the Doctor kept as close to Lorenzo as possible while keeping Marquez at a distance, but his race ended prematurely with 15 laps to go due to a technical issue.
Lorenzo's 25 point score gives him a total score of 115 points, keeping him in first position in the championship standings, with a ten-point lead. He is 37 points ahead of Rossi in third place, who has scored 78 points so far this season.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It's been a mixed day for us today. Jorge did a fantastic job to take over the lead into the first corner starting from the second row of the grid. He knows how difficult overtaking at the Mugello circuit is and made his YZR-M1 as wide as he could while he was battling with Valentino and later with Marquez to give Yamaha its 100th premier class win since the modern MotoGP era started in 2002. It was very unfortunate that Vale's race ended early because of a technical issue, else he would certainly have been able to challenge for the win and join his teammate on the podium. He was really confident on the bike and it's a real shame that he lost a lot of points in the championship. We will look into what happened today during the break between the races, to come back fully prepared for the next round in Barcelona."
1st / 41'36.535 / 23 laps, Championship: 1st / 115 points
"It was an unexpected race, because we thought for example that Iannone and Viñales, who had a very high pace, would be fighting until the end for the victory, but in the end it was Marc. He didn't look like he had the pace in the practice sessions, but he was following me the whole race. I tried to escape, pushing so much on the changes in direction and I used a lot of energy and I thought I maybe I didn't have enough to fight with Marc for the victory, because with him riding behind me he maybe saved more energy and was more powerful at the end, but my luck was the engine this time. When I stayed behind him I thought I was losing the race and tried a bit of a crazy move that I pulled on De Angelis in 250cc in the race in 2005. This memory was in my head, so I said to myself "Why not try the same?" and did it. I passed him but went wide and he overtook me again. In the last corner I tried again under braking, but he closed the door so much that if I had released the brake maybe we could have touched and crashed together, so I decided to stay in second place and make a lot of speed in the last corner and exit with the slipstream and try. When I exited the corner I thought I was losing the race, but my bike caught up with him so much, it was a surprising win. In Moto3 we often see races like this, but in MotoGP this kind of finish doesn't happen often. Today, if I had been fighting with Rossi or Iannone, I wouldn't have won, it was a crazy battle."
DNF / -15 laps, Championship: 3rd / 78 points
"It's a great shame, because it's always a pity when you have a problem with the bike in the race, but here even more so because it was in Mugello in front of all the crowd. I was very competitive in the race and very fast, I had a good start and I was there. I think I could have fought for the victory because I had a very good feeling and a strong pace. It's also a great shame because this zero points score for the championship weighs very heavily. Lorenzo and Marquez finished first and second, so now the distance is hard, but it's like this. The positive thing is that 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 Montmeló. Catalunya is one of my favourite tracks, I like to race there a lot, so I think we will have a good potential, but now we have to wait ten days and after that we will see."
On form Smith powers to top independent position at tough Italian GP
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith produced a strong showing to finish the round six battle at the meandering Mugello circuit in 7th place aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The British star undertook a superb start and shot from the head of the third row on the grid up to 3rd by the time he entered the first corner as he fought with the leading MotoGP bikes. He quickly stuck into his rhythm but got shuffled back yet remained composed and reignited his campaign to move back up the field by setting a series of consistent lap times. He reclaimed 8th at the midpoint of the race and continued to make advances forward with his target being the factory Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro who he slotted past on lap 15. The 25 year old powered onwards and comfortably opened a gap to the pursuing riders before speeding across the finish line only 13.340 seconds behind the leading bike. The result sees him successfully clinch a return to the top independent team position.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pit box, Pol Espargaro suffered a tricky race as he met the chequered flag in 15th despite his best efforts after unfortunately falling and then re-joining the GP. The young Spaniard began the Grand Prix from the middle of the fifth row, but he was unluckily pushed wide on the opening lap and dropped back to 15th. Yet, he remained fully focused and started his quest to jump back up the field, moving up three places with just under a third of total distance having been completed. However, a mistake two laps later caused Espargaro to fall but he bravely remounted and determinedly closed the gap to the final point scoring position, which he claimed on lap 17. Nevertheless, the current leader in the independent standings will seek to make amends at the next MotoGP event, the Monster Energy sponsored Gran Premio de Cataluña, his home race.
7th / +13.340 / 23 laps, Championship: 12th / 29 points
"I am very happy to finally be the top independent rider plus back to where I need to be. I worked on my starts all weekend and we did way more practice than usual but it looks like it paid off! I pulled down the left-hand side and as a result, I was third as we entered the first corner. Yet, to be really honest, I didn't have such a great pace at the beginning but I aimed to stay as close as possible to the guys in front plus not make any mistakes because I knew that my pace would be better later on. Therefore, I tried to look after the tyres as best as I could and remain consistent. All weekend we felt good and we modified the bike a little bit from Le Mans even though I was already pleased with the feeling. Thirteen seconds behind the leader at the end of the event is a strong result for us and shows that we have worked in the right direction. 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. It has taken us until the sixth round to get to where we were last year, which is quite a long time but we have plenty more races to go to make up the points we lost at the start of the season. Altogether I wasn't as fast at adapting to the Michelin tyres when compared to some of the other riders, but we can see that we are getting there and I'm confident, plus looking forward to the next round."
15th / +59.811 / 23 laps, Championship: 7th / 48 points
"We had the speed over the entire weekend but we just weren't able to score the result that we needed to today. The team and I had to face quite a few difficulties at this event, but with regards to the race, if you start from that far behind, you have to either pass a lot of riders really quickly or any hope of a good finish is gone. I tried to overtake as much as I could at the beginning but as a result. I had some contact with other riders which caused me to lose a lot of time in the initial laps. I saw that the group in front was getting away from me so I pushed harder and caught up to Pirro. However, the Ducati's are strong at this track, so it takes that bit extra to pass them. In the end, I ended up braking a bit too late when I tried to overtake him and I ran off the asphalt. I fell but I was able to pick up the bike and finish the race. We will leave Italy with only one point in our pocket, which is not at all what we aimed for but at least it's something. Next up is my home GP in Montmelo where I fully intend to do a much better job and seal a great result in front of my home fans."