Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) put on a great show in front of the Italian crowd, battling for the lead for several laps. Lorenzo, who has won his last three races at Mugello (2011, 2012, 2013), made an excellent race start and caught up quickly to early leader Andrea Iannone (#29 Pramac Racing Ducati) before taking the lead.
Lorenzo soon had to contend with Championship leader Marquez and the two battled hard for the majority of the race. Lorenzo was able to maintain an advantage on the corners, his Yamaha M1 able to maintain a high speed, but lost out on top end pace down the straight. Marquez took the victory by just 0.121s on the final lap, narrowly squeezing his way past Lorenzo on the entry into turn one for the race-winning pass.
“I think this was the toughest race of the year for me, I struggled particularly in the beginning of the race and Jorge was really strong in the middle of the corner, he was able to keep a strong pace. But then, with the used tire I started to feel better and in the warm-up we made a small change to my gearing which worked very well in the race.”
On the race Lorenzo said, “The bike worked very well on the braking, better than ever. We need some more top speed, we lost all the tenths in the straight with the slip stream. With a couple more kilometers we could have kept the first position. I think we can get the victory soon, not this time, but soon.”
“When you finish so close to first, you’re not fully happy, your goal is so close. But this race compared to the others, this is the best. I could fight with Marc for 60% of the braking, the top speed is still where we are lacking. I will try to repeat this podium at my ‘home’ race,” he added on finishing second.
Sunday also saw Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) become the second rider to compete in 300 Grand Prix races, joining fellow Italian Loris Capirossi who, earlier in the day, had ridden an emotional tribute lap for the late Marco Simoncelli – now a MotoGP Legend – on a Honda Gresini bike.
The yellow sea of Rossi fans were cheering their hometown favorite to capitalize on any mistake from the front two, and although The Doctor had to settle for third by just under three seconds it was still a great ride for him from 10th on the grid.
With Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and impressive rookie Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) the next two across the line – albeit more than 10 seconds further back – there were four Spaniards in the top five.
Behind them Italians Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) also got great support from the crowd en route to sixth and seventh respectively, with Iannone making a brilliant start and leading in the early stages having started second on the grid.
The top ten was completed by Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing).
Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) and Michel Fabrizio (Octo IodaRacing Team) both retired from the race with technical problems.
Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) crashed out on lap 4, but walked away unharmed. Shortly afterwards Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) went down with Bradl being hit by Crutchlow’s bike as it slid across the track. Both riders fortunately avoided injury.
Shortly after the incident, Crutchlow said via Twitter: “Really sorry to @stefanbradl for the bike being in track ! Was scary moments when in track with bikes coming at me. Improve in Barcelona …”