Yesterday’s Italian GP, which took place at Mugello, Italy, is being touted as the best race of the season yet and rightly so. With the Moto3 and MotoGP races having the winner and runner-up being separated by 0.029s and 0.043s, respectively, it was bound to be a scintillating affair. Battles, crashes and sheer dominance, Mugello saw it all in the Italian GP 2019.



Moto3

Mugello, the home of The Doctor, served up a classic in the Moto3 class, which almost always promises to be a thrilling contest. After the practice, seemingly, no less than a dozen riders looked set to win the race. Predicting a winner has already been difficult considering the fact that the Moto2 class has seen 11 different winners in the last 11 races! And with that many riders donning race-winning pace, it was near impossible to bet on one rider.

Tony Arbolino who had the pole was the one who took the win but that came as a shock to the ones watching the race. Lorenzo Dalla Porta had been dominating the Moto3 race at Mugello in a manner that is rarely seen in the class. At a few points in the race, Dalla Porta was not only leading the race, but he was also doing so with a significant margin which is very rare in Moto3. But finally, it was Arbolino who had the last laugh with him crossing the line less than three-hundredth of a second before Dalla Porta!

Dalla Porta was putting up a clinic and made very few mistakes in the race. The first significant one came at lap 9 where he ran wide. But the Italian was quick to rectify the mistake as he overtook five riders just 3 turns later and regained the lead! This kept up till the very end of the race and the last 3 laps were where the chaos began. While Dalla Porta was fending attacks from every direction, Arbolino was getting ready to make the move of the race.

After being tried and tested by almost everyone in the lead group, Dalla Porta was still in the lead and in the last corner, where he really wanted his strategy to work, Arbolino carried a lot of drive from out of there and the slipstream was just enough to rob Dalla Porta of a classic win. Masia had led briefly on the final lap and crossed the line third, ahead of an excellent comeback ride for Antonelli in fourth. Foggia, McPhee, Canet and Suzuki decided positions five to eight amongst the lead group, with Celestino Vietti and Binder completing the top ten.



Moto3 Championship standings:


  1. Aron Canet KTM 83
  2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta Honda 80
  3. Niccolò Antonelli Honda 70
  4. Jaume Masia KTM 65
  5. Celestino Vietti KTM 52
  6. Tony Arbolino Honda 51
  7. Kaito Toba Honda 51
  8. John Mcphee Honda 44
  9. Andrea Migno KTM 40
  10. Gabriel Rodrigo Honda 37


Moto2


The Moto2 race had a tall task to live up to after the stellar show by the Moto3 grid. But Alex Marquez had other plans. The younger Marquez who started from 3rd on the grid took the lead from Tom Luthi who started from the 2nd place early on. After a couple of scuffles between the two, the Spaniard just pulled away from the pack and rode to a comfortable victory, his second in a row after a similar victory at Le Mans.

Luthi had a better start than the poleman Marcel Schrotter who was already trying to fend off Marquez right from the start of the race. As Luthi and Schrotter started to pull away, Marquez posted the fastest lap of the race in order to keep up with them. Luca Marini and Jorge Navarro were in pursuit of Marquez but Marini soon upped the ante and started to catch up to Marquez. Lorenzo Baldassarri, the current championship leader, started from 15th on the grid and was already in the 9th place by the end of lap 4.

Schrotter was starting to fade and Marquez could not let Luthi get away and he made a move on Schrotter in lap 6 and made it stick. Schrotter was soon demoted by Marini who was starting to look really strong now. In the back of the pack, Bastianini pulled out a few hot laps and joined the lead party and brought a friend with him as well in the form of Baldassarri.

Marquez took the lead on lap 9 and started to pull away right after. While Luthi wanted to chase down Marquez, Marini was the bigger problem for him. That gave Marquez the chance to slip away and build a significant lead. About 9 laps to go, Marini made a move of Luthi and took the second place. At this point, Navarro and Baldassarri were looking really strong and they moved up right after Luthi threatening to jeopardize his podium chances.

Marquez rode to his victory from then on with Luca Marini coming in the second place. Luthi was somehow able to keep his third step on the podium safe and Baldassarri took the 4th place. Augusto Fernandez grabbed fifth with Bastianini in sixth and Navarro seventh. Schrotter crossed the line a second later in the eighth position, ahead of Lowes and Fabio Di Giannantonio completing the top ten.



Moto2 Championship standings:


  1. Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex 88
  2. Alex Marquez Kalex 86
  3. Thomas Luthi Kalex 84
  4. Jorge Navarro Speed Up 73
  5. Marcel Schrotter Kalex 64


MotoGP


The biggest surprise of the weekend at Mugello was the main race on Sunday. A MotoGP race with a Moto3 like battle did well to reduce the pain of the crowd at Mugello after the homeland hero Valentino Rossi crashed out. The two factory Ducatis, ridden by Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso, faced a very tough challenge from Marc Marquez and at a point, from Suzuki ridden by Alex Rins. Mugello is Ducati’s backyard and they won there, but it wasn’t an easy one.

Marc Marquez started strong and kept the lead at turn 1 despite the Ducati's holeshot device. Cal Crutchlow followed the factory Honda. Dovizioso who started from the 9th position, made a thunderous start as he made quick work of Crutchlow and started to gain on Marquez. Dovi had other Ducatis for backup too as Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci also joined after Dovi. Like the fantastic racer that Alex Rins is, he shrugged off his poor qualifying performance and was in the 5th position after the poleman Marquez and the Ducati party despite a 13th position on the grid at the start. Nakagami was following Crutchlow and the Yamahas were also trying to shake off either a bad qualifying or a bad start. Fabio Quartararo was leading the Yamaha charge followed by Franco Morbidelli and Maverick Vinales. Rossi too made up a couple of places at the end of lap 1.

The Doctor started from the 18th places, made up a few places, ran wide and was pushed back to last again before finally losing the front, which ended the race for him. In the front, Alex Rins on his Suzuki was making waves as he kept up with the Ducati and Honda Missiles in the lead group. The battle started to heat up as Marquez was attacked by Petrucci on lap 6 and in an attempt to fight back, Marquez let the rest of the Ducati brigade pass him as well.

Dovizioso soon took the lead but was not able to open up a gap as Marquez was still hunting the Ducati pack. But he had other problems to deal with too in the form of Alex Rins who not only kept up with Marquez but passed him on quite a few occasions too. As the game of cat and mouse kept on in the front with Petrucci and Dovizioso exchanging lead, Crutchlow, Pecco Bagnaia, Takaaki Nakagami and Quartararo were biding their time just behind. At this point, Vinales also started to creep closer to the now sizeable lead pack.

Petrucci was in the front and the pace was starting to get serious halfway through the race. This gave rise to another rare occurrence as we got to see a Honda slipstreaming Dovizioso’s Ducati into turn 1, after the extremely fast main straight of Mugello. Marquez now began to chase Petrucci. While Rins and Jack Miller kept up with the action, Nakagami and Crutchlow began to fall behind. While Nakagami was going good, Crutchlow was being pushed by Qurtararo and Vinales.

The lead pack was thinned a bit when Jack Miller crashed out right after setting the fastest lap of the race. Bagnaia crashed out a bit before Miller, therefore, marking a rather bad day for the Pramac team. Petrucci was being hounded by Marquez in the front when Dovizioso started to really move and passed Marquez, and then Petrucci in the next lap. Nakagami was running a lonely 5th and Crutchlow was all over the place trying to defend his position from Vinales, an exercise in futility.

As the two factory Ducatis battled at the front swapping places, Marquez and Rins were closely observing the battle. The final lap was where the race was declared as the best of the season so far. As the riders finished the penultimate lap, Dovizioso was leading. In turn 1, it was Marquez who led the race but was soon demoted by Petrucci by turn 2. Marquez took the lead again but missed the apex which gave Dovizioso a chance to make a move but a miracle pass by Petrucci saw him overtake both Dovi and Marc to take the victory.

Marquez crossed the line four-hundredths of a second after Petrucci followed by Dovi who nearly lost his 3rd place to Rins after a battle of epic proportions. The picture shows Marquez, Dovi and Petrucci side by side is a picture for ages. Nakagami, in the 5th place, celebrated like a winner for the position on a year-old Honda. Vinales was top Yamaha in sixth place, ahead of wildcard Michele Pirro and a fading Crutchlow. Pol Espargaro continued a fine run for KTM with a ninth spot, one ahead of rookie revelation Quartararo.



MotoGP Championship standings:


  1. Marc MARQUEZ Honda 115
  2. Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 103
  3. Alex RINS Suzuki 88
  4. Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 82
  5. Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 72