MotoGP: Weather Plays a Factor at Mugello

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Just like LeMans two weeks ago, the starting of today’s GP at Mugello was a mixture of both wet and then dry, which meant that once again tire choice and pit strategy would decide the winner. With Valentino Rossi clearly being the biggest loser in Le Mans when this situation last presented itself, would he be able to make the right choices and win his eighth victory at his home track? Continue reading for the spoilers and find out.

Jorge Lorenzo said that today would be a crazy race, which summed up his outing nicely. The Spaniard crashed on his way to the starting grid, and had to have his spare bike brought out to the pole position. After a quick clean up of his leathers and helmet, Jorge was ready to go physically, but perhaps not mentally. As the starting lights went off, Lorenzo smoked his tire at the launch, and at the end of the first lap saw Chris Vermeulen at the head of the race followed by Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa.

On the second lap Casey Stoner overtook Vermeulen on the straight, taking the lead, but two laps later it was Stoner who was overtaken by Dovizioso, with Valentino Rossi followed by Lorenzo right on Vermeulen’s tail. Rossi took the lead on lap eight with Melandri then overtaking. Not content with second place, Marco made his move on Valentino on lap 10 and took the lead.

At the end of lap 10 with their rain tires exhausted and seeing on their boards that James Toseland who pitted his bike on lap four was the fastest man on track with slicks, the four leading riders, Melandri, Rossi, Lorenzo and Stoner headed to their garages to change their bikes. Dovizioso, who pitted his bike one lap before the leading pack, had already warmed up his tires when Melandri headed out of the pit lane, and Dovi took first place with Stoner almost 3 seconds behind him. Stoner by the end of the lap was second with Melandri third, Lorenzo fourth, Loris Capirossi fifth, and Rossi sixth.

It took Stoner 3 laps to take the lead again and keep it until the flag, but it was Italian Loris Capirossi who stole the show when he took second place from Dovizioso.  On the 22nd lap, Lorenzo passed Dovizioso and Capirossi, with Stoner in his sights, but Jorge just couldn’t keep up with him and had to settle for 2nd. Rossi passed Capirossi and Dovizioso. Dejected, the ex-king of Mugello would finish 3rd, but just barely as Dovizioso was just behind him by 0.053 second. Loris Capirossi finished 5th.

Commenting on his 3rd place finish, Rossi focused on the positive, and was thankful to not have a “Le Mans” while in front of his home crowd.

“I made a good decision on when to come in and change this time but unfortunately we decided to go with the harder front tyre for the second part of the race and that was a disadvantage for me, especially at the beginning. I was slow in the first two laps on slicks and I was thinking about the Le Mans crash. The front choice wasn’t right and even though I found a good pace it wasn’t enough to win.

After seven victories in a row here it was just important to get on the podium for all the fans. The podium here in Mugello is always a great party and a great emotion even if we are not on the top step. The championship is very close, with the three of us separated by less than ten points, but it will be a long fight and we will try again in Barcelona next time out.”

Casey Stoner now leads the Championship standings by 4 points over Lorenzo, and 9 points over Rossi, with the three riders pulling away in the points from the rest of the pack.

Race Results of the 2009 MotoGP race at Mugello:

Pos. No. Rider Manufacturer Time Diff
1 27 Casey STONER DUCATI 45’41.894  
2 99 Jorge LORENZO YAMAHA 45’42.895 1.001
3 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 45’43.970 2.076
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO HONDA 45’44.023 2.129
5 65 Loris CAPIROSSI SUZUKI 45’45.168 3.274
6 5 Colin EDWARDS YAMAHA 46’06.345 24.451
7 52 James TOSELAND YAMAHA 46’07.515 25.621
8 14 Randy DE PUNIET HONDA 46’07.940 26.046
9 88 Niccolo CANEPA DUCATI 46’13.709 31.815
10 7 Chris VERMEULEN SUZUKI 46’16.708 34.814
11 33 Marco MELANDRI KAWASAKI 46’16.984 35.090
12 69 Nicky HAYDEN DUCATI 46’21.016 39.122
13 36 Mika KALLIO DUCATI 46’34.356 52.462
14 24 Toni ELIAS HONDA 46’34.372 52.478
15 15 Alex DE ANGELIS HONDA 46’03.967 1 lap
Not Classified
  3 Dani PEDROSA HONDA 25’15.529 11 laps
  72 Yuki TAKAHASHI HONDA 21’18.170 13 laps
Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.