MOTORSPORT MONDAYS: MOTOGP ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 17-07-2012
Jorge Lorenzo said, "From the beginning I felt great on this track, the asphalt was completely different to Sachsenring which was a nightmare for us. From the first practice here I felt very strong, very good on the bike, and a fast constant pace."
Lorenzo's confidence and composure on the factory Yamaha set the tone of the whole race weekend. Despite an electronics malfunction that cost him a shot at qualifying for pole, Jorge started Sunday second on the grid and mimed Lorenzo dived right under Pedrosa on the first turn of the first lap of the race.
Dani Pedrosa was scraping Lorenzo's rear tire though, giving Lorenzo considerable pressure as the duo battled fiercely in the initial ten laps of the race. Pedrosa even set fastest lap of the race at 1:47.705 but, unfortunately, Pedrosa couldn't manage the pace for the complete race distance and began to drop off. By race end, Lorenzo had pulled a 5.223 lead over second place finisher Pedrosa.
Rear tire grip played a huge factor in Dani's race as the factory Honda rider began to worry about over-riding the bike. Adding salt to the wound, Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso was lining up a move on Dani as well.
Dani Pedrosa explained, "[A] few corners later I was surprised by Dovizioso, he passed me also and it took a few laps for me to make the overtake on him as he was very strong in the first corner so I had to pass him in another part of the circuit.
"By this point Jorge had already opened up a small gap but I tried to get back in my rhythm and I started to lap in the 1'47s. When I started to drop into these times though, my tire began to spin a lot in the rear and I got some chatter so I was worried for the tire.
"I decided to slow down a little because to catch Jorge meant laps in 1'47s. He was riding very strong so I have to congratulate him, finally for me a second place is a good result overall and I want to thank my team for their handwork this weekend."
Lorenzo's win at Mugello will let Pedrosa fall another 19 points behind in overall MotoGP World Championship standings.
The weekend was momentous for Andrea Dovizioso as well. Finishing in the podiums three races in a row, Dovi is determined to prove himself to the factory teams and hopefully earn a ride for 2013.
Starting seventh on the grid, Dovi clawed up the grid to second in just the opening lap. However, Dani Pedrosa on the factory Honda would pass him again and Dovi later found himself fighting for the podium against the LCR Honda German rider Sefan Bradl.
Bradl found his way around Dovi on lap ten, but could never gap a distance from the Tech 3 rider. Sitting in a pocket, Dovi bidded for an opportunity on the third to last lap.
Finishing third, Dovi said, "To get a podium is always special but to do it in front of the Italian crowd and after such a strong battle makes it feel even better. I got the perfect start and was third at the first corner and I felt very strong in braking at the start so passed Dani at Turn 5.
"Immediately though I could see that Lorenzo was faster in some parts of the track, but it was good to see again the small points I need to improve to get the best out of the Yamaha.
"The fight with Bradl for the whole race was fantastic and he did a great job. When he passed me he was making it look easy and I was having to push right at the limit to make sure he couldn't open up a gap that I couldn't recover.
"He was trying for his first podium and I was pushing hard to be on the podium in Italy, so it made for a great battle. I knew I was a little bit stronger in the brakes than him so with three laps to go I decided to attack and I was confident I could hold him off."
Noticeably absent from the podium is Australian hot shot Casey Stoner.
Last week, Stoner crashed just two corners from the finish at the German Grand Prix. Unfortunately, bad luck has followed him to Italy as the Australian fought tooth and nail for eighth. In fact, the inability to find the right set up for the track caused Stoner a number of heart stopping moments on the track including a messy attempt to take Alvaro Bautista.
Stoner admitted, "I made a mistake in the race, I had a bit of a shake exiting turn 11 and when I arrived at turn 12, I had no brakes. I was squeezing them as hard as I could and thought I had enough brake power to stop before the edge of the track but I had too much momentum and had to ride through the gravel which wasted a lot of time.
"I'm sorry for the incident with Alvaro. I went to make the pass into turn 2 and he started to close my front off and I couldn't do anything. Its a disappointing end to a difficult weekend that I thought I might be able to salvage something from but unfortunately not."
The next race on the calendar is the U.S. Grand Prix at Laguna Seca in two weeks.
Though Mugello was a race to forget for Stoner, factory Ducati found its best performance on the dry this year. MotoGP superstar Valentino Rossi said, "Overall, I think today was the best dry result of the year for Ducati because Nicky had a great race as well. We're quite happy, as our pace was very good, especially towards the end.
"Unfortunately, I lost time at the beginning. Not only was I on the fourth row, but I also had a bad start. I got by some riders pretty quickly, but by then I had already accumulated too much of a disadvantage. otherwise, I think it would have been possible to make the podium." Valentino was one second off of Dovi.