Lorenzo claims an emphatic win at Mugello
Making amends for a poor showing at Le Mans, the Spaniard leaves Italy with his second win of the season
After a dramatic qualifying session on Saturday, the stage was set for Sunday: crisp blue sky, sun beating down on the track, and the stands awash in a dizzying shade of yellow, rooting for the local hero, Valentino Rossi. It was his first race at Mugello in Yamaha livery after two years, and The Doctor's gazillion fans were all there, expecting to see Mr.46 cross the finish line in first place.
If you were one of those gazillion fans, you were in for a rude shock. Rossi wore a turtle-themed helmet, and little did he know that come the third corner of the first lap of the race, he'd turn turtle quite literally.
When the lights went out, almost everyone had a perfect start: Pedrosa led into the first corner, Marquez found his way up to third place, and all seemed well till the time the riders headed into Turn 3, which is where Pedrosa ran wide, Lorenzo crept up on the inside and before Repsol Honda's No.1 could do anything about it, Lorenzo shot past him into the lead. You may not have noticed it, however, because when Lorenzo made his move, something more noticeable happened at the back.
Alvaro Bautista somehow managed to nudge Rossi and fell, but his bike also dragged Rossi and his Yamaha into the gravel trap and sent them barreling into the cushions placed ahead of the tyre wall. The dust settled quickly, to reveal The Doctor lying flat on his back. Both escaped unhurt, but within mere seconds, Rossi's Italian GP was over.
The attention soon turned to the head of the race - Lorenzo leading the pack with both Repsol Honda riders in hot pursuit of the Yamaha. Pedrosa didn't let Lorenzo get away, but halfway through the race, it appeared as if Lorenzo flicked a switch and pulled out a lead so big, even Pedrosa looked content with second place. He had to be, with Marquez constantly looking for chances to move up the field.
Move up the field the rookie did - with about five laps to go, Marquez eased past Pedrosa, and put enough daylight between the two Hondas to seal his chances of finishing second, and becoming the only rider in the history of MotoGP to have five consecutive podium finishes. Rather disappointingly though, he undid all the good work when with just two laps left, trying to push even harder, he lost control of his bike and crashed out for the fourth and final time this weekend.
Which meant Pedrosa moved up to second place again, and the wounded Cal Crutchlow slotted into a much-deserved third position. Honda LCR's Stefan Bradl held off an inspired run by local boy Andrea Dovizioso to finish fourth.
The way Lorenzo absolutely dominated today's race and completed a hat-trick of wins at Mugello begs a simple question - will anybody be able to challenge the champion's supremacy at his home circuit, Catalunya, two weeks from now?
1. Jorge Lorenzo
2. Dani Pedrosa
3. Cal Crutchlow
4. Stefan Bradl
5. Andrea Dovizioso
6. Nicky Hayden
7. Michele Pirro
8. Aleix Espargaro
9. Bradley Smith
10. Hector Barbera
11. Randy De Puniet
12. Danilo Petrucci
13. Andrea Iannone
14. Colin Edwards
15. Karel Abraham
16. Yonny Hernandez
17. Michael Laverty
18. Bryan Staring
19. Lukas Pesek