Round 13 San Marino – Misano MotoGP
The Misano circuit with its 4.226m track featuring six left turns and ten rights saw the race weekend get underway on Friday with riders heading out for their practice sessions. After the cancellation of the British MotoGP last round due to poor weather conditions the riders and teams alike would have been having withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully the Misano circuit which is prone to some sketchy weather will treat us kind and let racing occur.
Saturday saw an action packed fast paced qualifying session as Jorge Lorenzo took a brilliant pole beating his pole record that he set in 2016 with a lap time of 1:31.629. Championship leader Marc Marquez was not so lucky crashing on his second run and in classic Marquez style sprinting from the track back to the garage to board his second machine in the hope of rectifying the mistake. However, it was not to be but he did give it a red hot go finishing the session in fifth.
Aussie Jack Miller put in a magic effort to score himself second place on the grid which also makes him the top independent qualifying rider. Movistar Yamaha rider Maverick Vinales will join them on the front row. Heading the second row of the grid is Andrea Dovizioso who will be desperate to gain points back on Marquez as he chases him first place in the championship. With Marquez already placed in fifth the second row will be completed by Cal Crutchlow. Home town favourite Valentino Rossi will start out of seventh.
As the lights went out Jorge Lorenzo rocketed off the line to take holeshot ahead of Jack Miller, Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso. Dovi was quick to make his move passing Marquez at turn 8 of the first lap to take third and set his sights on Miller. A few laps later he overtook Miller and headed after his teammate.
Miller next came under pressure from Marquez with a strong move up the inside of the Australian forcing him to sit up to avoid contact. In a further blow Miller low sided in turn 14 of the third lap.
Behind the front trio of Lorenzo, Dovi and Marquez was Movistar Yamaha ride Maverick Vinales who had Alex Rins and Cal Cruthlow hot on his wheels. Rins was the first to pass him and by lap seven Crutchlow had pushed Maverick down to sixth.
Back up the front Dovi had closed in on his teammate and at turn seven of lap six Dovi lead the race while Crutchlow moved into fourth a few laps later with the hope of catching Marquez in third.
As the race progressed Dovi hammered out his laps creating distance with the gap out over 1 second with Marquez passing Lorenzo up the inside of turn 14 on lap 13. Lap by lap Dovi further increased the gap while Lorenzo battled hard to stay with Marquez and with 11 laps to go the two began a back and forth fight for second,
With two laps to go disaster befell Lorenzo. After managing to hold onto second from Marquez, Lorenzo crashed out of the race at turn 8. He tried to rejoin but was unable to and subsequently handed Marquez second place with Crutchlow taking the final place on the podium. Alex Rins took fourth after settling into the position early on and without contest. Vinales claimed fifth while Dani Pedosa and Valentino Rossi trailed behind him in sixth and seventh. Pedrosa and Rossi had throughout the race been very close behind Vinales and it seemed a possibility that they would pass him but it never eventuated. Andrea Iannone, Alvaro Bautista and Johann Zarco completed the top ten.
It was a day of disappointment for Xavier Simeon and Stefan Bradl who crashed out of the race on laps five and eighteen respectively.
Danilo Petrucci was penalised 1.1 secs during the race for taking a shortcut between turns 1 and 2 and Pol Espargaro was forced to retire with his still healing injury causing him grief.
Jack Miller rejoined the race after his lap three crash finishing eighteenth and sadly outside the points.
The race heads to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.
1st: Andrea Dovizioso
“I’m happy to have beaten Marquez and to win here where I had never managed to before. I really enjoyed it today, except when I saw that Jorge was starting to push. I was feeling at one with my Ducati.
“The rear tyre worked very well, it was very consistent from the beginning to the end, but the grip from the track seemed less than the practice, this happens many times in the race and it makes it difficult to manage, we don’t know why and we need to understand. At the end our pace was so good, so I am really happy and it was especially good to set a new lap-record and get the win here at my home race.”
2nd: Marc Marquez
“We’re very happy with this podium because we knew that at this track Ducati would be very fast and actually they were! They’d tested here and we hadn’t, but we fought hard and we got very close. I had a good start and then it took some time to bring the tyres up to temperature. I closed the little gap to the front but then I saw that Dovi was so strong today, so I set second place as the target. I was behind Jorge but he was faster than me. I kept pushing and pushing to see if I was able to make a move in the last lap and then he crashed. We took second meaning that we leave here with a 67-point advantage in the Championship which is very important. I’m happy, I feel comfortable on the bike, and I’m ready to prepare for Aragon, which is a track that I like very much.”
3rd: Cal Crutchlow
“The Team did a fantastic job this weekend, this is a very important round for them, I was disappointed not to race at mine two weeks ago, so we put everything into this one. We tried our best, sure we got lucky with the crash of Lorenzo at the end, but as I said, I don’t really care because we did a good job. I’m proud of my Team and we now go to Aragon in good shape”.
“I lost one second (behind Maverick Vinales and Alex Rins) and that just stopped me being there with Marc (Marquez) and Jorge (Lorenzo), but that’s the way it goes. I wasn’t willing to push at the start of the race as much as I could and I got passed by Rins. But overall we have to be very pleased for the team and we head into the rest of the year in good shape.”
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