Under Tuscan skies, MotoGP ends its three-consecutive race weekends in Mugello, Italy — one of the most favorite stops on the Championship calendar each season. With Casey Stoner struggling at the Italian track, and Jorge Lorenzo dominating, a clear move in the Championship points seemed destined for the Italian GP. Adding a curve ball to the equation though was Repsol Honda man Dani Pedrosa, who sat on the pole-position, and who also showed a renewed promise to contend for the Championship title.
With the battle at the front of the Championship heating up, the battle between the best of the rest was also coming to a head — especially over the empty seat in the factory Yamaha squad. Said to be held up by one Mr. Valentino Rossi, waiting in the wings are also Andrea Dovizioso, Ben Spies, and Cal Crutchlow. With the American said to have an edge on keeping his seat, mostly due to the checks Yamaha USA writes, Spies’ abysmal season seems almost all but forgiven. Though anything can happen before MotoGP makes its next stop, in the USA at Laguna Seca.
Meanwhile still in Italy, the Italian GP was largely a processional race. Lorenzo took the lead into the first turn, and the Spaniard never looked back. Though a pack of four other riders (Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Hayden, and Bradl) would trail him, Lorenzo slowly made his gap, and finished a comfortable race. With Pedrosa getting around Dovizioso quickly into the game, the Repsol Honda rider would also have a comfortable finish, though he felt the pressure from Dovizioso and Bradl for some time more before that.
The group would eventually lose Hayden, who at one point was almost in the clutches of a charging Casey Stoner, though the American would make a stellar push forward back to the group that was racing for third. Running off the track, Stoner took himself out of the equation, as the Australian just never found a setup he was comfortable with on his Honda RC213V on the Italian track.
With Dovi mixing it up with a very potent Stefan Bradl, the more experienced Tech 3 rider eventually robbed the rookie of his first MotoGP podium finish, though it was a tough-fought fight for that position. Nicky Hayden would join the duo, and for a fraction of a lap seemed to have a fourth-place finish tied-up on the final lap.
Leaving the door open for Bradl to respond, Bradl’s tough pass left Nicky running wide as Bradl went through. Hayden’s charge would cost him thrice, as both Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow got around the American in the process as well — Rossi a corner later, and Crutchlow just ahead of the final turn.
Languishing throughout the race was Ben Spies, who was dealing with a suspected bout of food poisoning. Said just to be concentrating on not making a milkshake in his helmet, the Italian GP is just another bullet point on a laundry list of bad breaks the factory Yamaha rider has had to endure this season. Whether the worst luck in the history of modern man, or a symptom of a greater issue, the fact remains that another horrendous result for Spies just muddles the future further on his retention at the Yamaha squad.
With two satellite riders consistently out-doing him on the track, for whatever reason it may be, Yamaha surely has to be weighing its options carefully, and the fact that Spies hasn’t signed a contract already just adds further credence to the Japanese company weighing all its possible choices.
In other news, the debate is still raging as to what was more ridiculous: Jorge Lorenzo’s “black mamba” parc fermé celebration, or Michele Pirro’s attempt to shortcut nearly half the track (which resulted in him being black-flagged) after pitting on the first lap. Cast your vote in the comments.
Race Results from the Italian GP at Mugello, Italy:
|1||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||41’37.477|
|2||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+5.223|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+10.665|
|4||Stefan BRADL||GER||LCR Honda MotoGP||Honda||+10.711|
|5||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+11.695|
|6||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+12.060|
|7||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+12.235|
|8||Casey STONER||AUS||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+30.617|
|9||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||+31.728|
|10||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||+34.589|
|11||Ben SPIES||USA||Yamaha Factory Racing||Yamaha||+57.862|
|12||Randy DE PUNIET||FRA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+59.963|
|13||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Power Electronics Aspar||ART||+1’11.200|
|14||James ELLISON||GBR||Paul Bird Motorsport||ART||+1’11.458|
|15||Mattia PASINI||ITA||Speed Master||ART||+1’11.828|
|16||Ivan SILVA||SPA||Avintia Blusens||BQR||1 Lap|
|Colin EDWARDS||USA||NGM Mobile Forward Racing||Suter||13 Laps|
|Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Avintia Blusens||BQR||14 Laps|
|Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Came IodaRacing Project||Ioda||20 Laps|
|Michele PIRRO||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||FTR||0 Lap|
Source: MotoGP; Photo: © 2012 Jules Cisek / Popmonkey – All Rights Reserved