Danilo Petrucci wins his first and emotional MotoGP race at the Italian MotoGP.
It was a thrilling race from start to end, but it was only decided on the last lap.
Alex Rins fought hard, but his Suzuki was outgunned by the Ducatis and Honda.
Danilo Petrucci has come agonizingly close to a win on many occasions, but he couldn’t have scored his maiden MotoGP race at a better place than at the Italian round in Mugello. Petrucci was having a fever coming into the race, making the win even sweeter.
It was a nail-biting race from the start, with eight riders battling for the lead. The front group included Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati), Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), Fabio Quartaro (Petronas SRT) and Maverick Vinalez (Monster Energy Yamaha).
Marquez led into the first corner, stalked by the Ducati riders and Cal Cructchlow. But it soon developed into a slipstream race as the Ducatis made good on their supreme horsepower. Quartararo found himself swamped by the more powerful bikes and was ninth into the first turn.
The race settled down to a five-horse race by mid-point but Alex Rins overtook everyone and led the race for a number of laps, only to find his Suzuki outgunned by the Ducatis and Honda along Mugello’s long, long front straight.
Soon, Petrucci and Dovizioso overtook Marquez to set the pace. Behind Rins, Jack Miller started pushing, recording the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately, the Australian made a mistake and crashed out at the chicanes.
That left Petrucci, Dovizioso, Marquez and Rins to battle it out until the end of the race.
Dovizioso stalked his teammate Petrucci before pouncing with three laps to go. But Petrucci fought back the next lap and held on until to start the last lap.
As Dovizioso slipstreamed Petrucci on the straight, Marquez played the role predator as he double-slipstreamed both rider and passed them into Turn One.
However, Marquez couldn’t hold on to his line and went wide mid-corner. Dovizioso slipped into the gap, but Petrucci didn’t give up and slotted inside Dovizioso turning it into three bikes abreast in the corner! Rins, holding ship in fourth probably thought he had a chance of the podium had all three crashed.
The move surprise Dovizioso who had to stand his bike up into Marquez, which forced Marquez into second and Dovizioso back into third.
Marquez kept up the pressure but Petrucci didn’t crack and held on through the last turn and past the finish line with the former in firmly in his slipstream.
Rins attempted a gutsy last gasp past on Dovizioso into the last turn but was again out-dragged to the checkered flag.
An emotional Petrucci apologized his teammate Dovizioso for the last lap move, but also thanked him for the support and assistance.
Nakagami rode a steady race to complete the top five. Maverick Vinalez fought up the field to cross the line in sixth, Mission Mission Winnow test rider Michele Pirro in seventh, Crutchlow faded to eighth at the end, Pol Espargaro made it to ninth on the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bike, Quartararo eventually finishing tenth.
Valentino Rossi had a torrid weekend after qualifying 18th before coming together with Francesco Bagnaia and running off the track. He managed to get back to racing but crashed out eventually.