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Monday, June 2, 2014

MotoGP 2014 – Mugello: Round Up

The track is painted yellow while Marquez continues his winning streak and Lorenzo regains his form.

Mugello, Italy, home of a certain Valentino Rossi and possibly the most passionate crowd that motorcycle racing can get. The people here love the sport as much as they love Rossi. The attendance is always one of the biggest at this track and the yellow color is omnipresent.

The track is favorite of many riders on the grid with its smooth flowing corners and the straight that offers more overtaking opportunities. Mugello is also one of the fastest tracks on the calendar, that Andrea Iannone, in one of the practice sessions, recorded the highest ever top speed of 350 kmph in MotoGP history on his satellite Ducati is a testament to this fact.

This was a special race for number of reasons. Rossi was appearing for his 300th career race riding high after a very good 2nd place finish at Le Mans and great support from the crowd. Marc Marquez on pole, again, and the chance to make 6 straight wins. And Jorge Lorenzo looking to regain his form as he has been the winner on this track for the last 3 years.

On the starting grid, Andrea Iannone was the top Ducati rider on the 2nd position while Marc Marquez was on pole as usual. Jorge Lorenzo had a good qualifying as well and started the race from the 3rd position on the first row. Row 2 was headed by Marquez’s Repsol Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Pol Espargaro and factory Ducati’s Cal Crutchlow. The surprise; however, was Rossi starting from the 10th position on the grid heading the fourth row. Starting from this position could be hardly confidence inspiring for any rider but the crowd was still ecstatic and Rossi looked positive.

The lights went off and Andrea Iannone had a great start leading everyone through turn 1 followed by Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Rossi did a good start as well from 10th on the grid overtaking few riders to arrive at 7th in a couple of turns. Lorenzo took over the lead from Iannone before the end of lap 1 and now Iannone was sandwiched between the Yamaha rider and Repsol Honda’s Marquez. Iannone and Marquez indulged in a good battle briefly as they both exchanged couple of passes before Marquez finally making his move stick for the 2nd position.

Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi was charging hard as he wanted to keep the front runners within his sight. Three laps down the race, Rossi had overtaken Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro, Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone and arrived at 3rd to challenge Marquez and Lorenzo at the front. The leading pair had established a slight gap by then and appeared to carry better pace than Rossi.

As it was expected, Mugello witnessed the hardest fought battle for the 1st position of the season so far. Lorenzo led for the most part of the race while Marquez kept the gap small throughout. With 7 laps to go, the fight between the two Spaniards turned into a complete duel as they both delivered some extremely breathtaking passes against each other while keeping them absolutely safe and clean. Marquez was never pushed so hard for the win in any previous races of this season. The 21 years old Spaniard was finally able to stick his move with 1 lap remaining and successfully defended his lead to the finish line achieving his 6th straight win from pole. Lorenzo finished just .1 second behind him.

Rossi could not join the fight in the front; however, he did a good race in 3rd at which he remained unchallenged during the race. Being his 300th career race, Rossi had to make it special at the Italian circuit. Also, Rossi hadn’t been on the podium in Mugello since 2009. Along with bad qualifying, Rossi faced issue with his bike’s gearbox during the warm-up session and it meant that he could not test the suspension required for the race. Even though Marquez and Lorenzo proved a bit too fast for Rossi, he did an unchallenged race for the final podium spot. The atmosphere at the track was absolutely positive as the yellow color dominated all around. The fans cheered Rossi throughout the race and on the podium.

Few riders were not so lucky and could not finish the race. In early part of the race, Cal Crutchlow lost his bike’s frontend mid-corner on one of the turns and his bike eventually hit LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl. This resulted in a wild crash for Bradl and he was violently rolled through the gravel. Fortunately, Bradl escaped any serious injuries. In a separate incident, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith also crashed out of the race.

Valentine Rossi is now 2nd in the championship standings with 97 points leading Dani Pedrosa at 96 points while Marc Marquez continues to lead with 150 points.

Below are the results from the 6th MotoGP race at Mugello followed by championship points:

MotoGP Mugello Results 2014
1. Marc Marquez (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
4. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
5. Pol Espargaro (Yamaha)
6. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
7. Andrea Iannone (Ducati)
8. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
9. Aleix Espargaro (Forward-Yamaha)
10. Yonny Hernandez (Ducati)
11. Michele Pirro (Ducati)
12. Karel Abraham (Honda)
13. Scott Redding (Honda)
14. Hiroshi Aoyama (Honda)
15. Colin Edwards (Forward-Yamaha)
16. Michael Laverty (PBM)
17. Broc Parkes (PBM)
18. Mike di Meglio (Avintia)

MotoGP Championship Points 2014
1. Marc Marquez, 150
2. Valentino Rossi, 97
3. Dani Pedrosa, 96
4. Jorge Lorenzo, 65
5. Andrea Dovizioso, 63
6. Pol Espargaro, 49
7. Aleix Espargaro, 44
8. Stefan Bradl, 39
9. Alvaro Bautista, 34
10. Bradley Smith, 34

Text by : Sachin Sen
Image Courtesy : MotoGp.com
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  1. Mugello was a battle of skill against horsepower. Just loved the way Lorenzo rode and fought back after consistently being overtaken by the faster Honda. For me, he was the real winner. Am sure this race would have brought back the spark in him- all good for the season ahead.


Item Reviewed: MotoGP 2014 – Mugello: Round Up Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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