With Rossi being a DNF in the Italian Grand Prix, the four usual suspects of Lorenzo, Rossi, Marquez and Pedrosa had a new friend in the top four finishers as Andrea Iannone squeezed in a third place finish when Rossi was forced to retire after 15 laps with a “technical problem” which may well be as vague as a “lower body injury ” in hockey. Lorenzo was off to a hot start and looked like he might run away with the race until Honda’s Marc Marquez reintroduced himself on the 10th lap. After the two exchanged the lead, Lorenzo managed a .019 second victory over Marquez – a very slim margin indeed. While Rossi and the Italian fans were disappointed at the DNF, the fans could take some solace that Ducati riders managed a 3rd and 5th place finish on the Mugello track. Pedrosa finished where he seems to have found a groove in 4th place.
What did they all have to say for themselves?
Jorge Lorenzo (1st in points standings with 115)
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.
Marc Marquez (2nd in points standings with 105)
Today we made a good race, we managed to get very close, and finally we made the podium which is always positive, but even with the slipstream I wasn’t able to overtake Jorge. We struggled throughout the weekend with acceleration and top speed. I tried to give my all and I did the best race I could do today, I really tried everything. I took several risks in an attempt to win, but on the home straight Jorge slipstreamed me. Now we have to keep working on acceleration because we’re still lacking a little in that regard. Honda is working hard back in Japan, as we do at the tracks and we’ll try to take a step forward ahead of the next race.
Valentino Rossi (3rd in points standings with 78)
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.
Dani Pedrosa (4th in points standings with 66)
It was a better race than the last few we’ve had. The start was demanding, and with a full tank of fuel I lost some ground. However, my pace wasn’t bad and I was able to make back several positions while also taking advantage of mistakes by other riders. I managed to stick with Iannone and increase my pace to try to fight for third position, even if he was a little faster. I followed him, but it was difficult to overtake because he was very fast on the straight and it was hard to get even with him. We learned a lot about our bike in this race, so we’ll try to work on it to take a step forward in the future.