Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo made a stunning return to form today, taking second place in the Gran Premio d’Italia after an epic battle with rival Marc Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi made good on a challenging 10th position grid start to take a well deserved third place podium finish for his 300th Grand Prix appearance.
The drama started before the first corner for Lorenzo as the riders bunched over the crest off the start line. He was quick to recover and fought his way through the first turn to close down and pass Andrea Iannone for the lead.
Having secured the front Lorenzo then proved he was back on form, delivering lap after lap of perfect lines with Marquez in pursuit. Even with less than 0.3 of a second between them it wasn’t until the last seven laps that Marquez was able to make a move. An incredible Spanish duel then began with the two trading places numerous times, Lorenzo always able to answer any attack from Marquez with a response of his own. The two took it to the wire, Marquez entering the last straight slightly ahead and able to hold it to the line, leaving Jorge in second, just 0.121seconds behind.
Home hero Rossi was not to be daunted by a 10th place grid position on his 300th Grand Prix start. The nine-time world champion had taken three positions by the first corner and was up into fifth place by the second lap. He made short work of dispatching Andrea Dovizioso for fourth and then with 20 laps to go passed Iannone to move up into third. By this time Lorenzo and Marquez were too far in front to catch however he remained less than three seconds behind them, hinting at what could have been with a better grid start. He completed the podium in third to the roar of the bumper Mugello crowd, just 2.688 seconds from Marquez.
Lorenzo’s stunning performance takes 20 points and moves him up into fourth in the championship standings on 65 points, 31 behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
Rossi’s impressive comeback from tenth to the podium earns him 16 points and moves him up into second place in the championship standings, 53 behind Marquez.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP now move to Barcelona in two weeks time for Lorenzo’s second home race of the year.
Jorge Lorenzo: 2nd
“I’m happy, I could be more happy if I had won but I tried my best. Probably in the last corner I should have stayed more in the inside to try to overtake him on the inside line but I made a mistake and went wider and it was impossible to overtake him on the straight. When I feel physically strong and the bike has a small improvement I can be there and fight with him. We have some margin, some physical condition to improve for me and the bike can make another step so we will get better. I’ve worked really hard to be more physically fit and the team also worked very hard this weekend to give me a great bike, so thank you to them.”
Valentino Rossi: 3rd
“Today was a great day for all the people and for MotoGP. Mugello is one of the greatest race tracks in the world; a lot of people around and the race was very funny with a great battle between Jorge and Marc. I wasn’t too far from them and all the people were happy for my podium. It is a great emotion as always, it was a solid race from fourth row to third. I think I had the chance to battle with them but unfortunately we made a mistake yesterday in practice but we will try in Barcelona again. The podium in Mugello is always fantastic, it’s the most special moment of the season, it’s like a great concert. It’s a great party for MotoGP and motorcycling because the passion in Italy is amazing. This is my 300th GP, so I’m in the middle of my career, another 300 before the end!”