MotoGP: Petrucci tells Marquez ‘not today’ in crazy Italian GP


Petrucci rode a perfect race to prove his worth and give Ducati a perfect homecoming at the Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley

It was a classic encounter at the wonderful Mugello circuit for the Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley, as Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci overcame last lap madness, a Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) onslaught and home pressure to take his first win in MotoGP™. In his eighth season of GP racing, the Italian, who has come agonizingly close on many occasions, beat Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) in an incredible last lap battle.

Off the line and down to Turn 1 for the first time, Marc Marquez fended off his pole position advantage and got the hole-shot, ahead of a fast-starting Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) and Andrea Dovizioso, who got from ninth to third. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) got a far from ideal start and went backwards, whilst Alex Rins (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) got a phenomenal start and climbed seven positions by the end of the opening lap.

In the early stages however, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was beginning to push on in the leading group, with Alex Rins making passes behind, taking Cal Crutchlow at Turn 1.  Downfield, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was into the points and chasing Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team).

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In the early stages however, Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) was beginning to push on in the leading group, with Alex Rins making passes behind, taking Cal Crutchlow at Turn 1.  Downfield, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was into the points and chasing Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team).

However, it wasn’t long before the first drama of the race would unfold, as home-hero Rossi tangled with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) at Turn 4, running across the gravel and rejoining in last place. However, a few laps later, on lap eight, the veteran Italian crashed at high speed at Arrabbiata 2, ending his hopes of success after what was already a tricky home round.

At the front of the field, fireworks were already being set off, as Alex Rins and Dovi hit the front. Marc Marquez was also being pushed back down the order, with 14 laps to go, as first, Danilo Petrucci got ahead of him and then, Jack Miller pushed his way through.

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By now, Marquez was down in fifth and at the front of the field, Danilo Petrucci and Alex Rins started to press hard. The leading group consisted of nine riders, with Crutchlow, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU), Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), Fabio Quartararo and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). Soon though, the group began to fragment, with Francesco Bagnaia crashing out with 12 to go at the final corner, as his Italian GP hopes went up in smoke.

Cal Crutchlow fast start didn’t last long, as the British rider began to slip back down the field, with Takaaki Nakagami leaving him. The Japanese rider was now lying in fifth and whilst lapping a tad slower than the quintet ahead of him, he was holding his own and pulling clear of those behind him.

Despite momentarily losing touch, Jack Miller put in the fastest lap of the race in fifth position, pulling himself back into contention. However, disaster struck the Australian as he crashed at Turn 4. This took the leading group down to four riders, but the scrap in the final few laps was incredible.

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Going into the last lap, after various lead changes, Dovizioso got ahead of Marquez at Turn 1 but ran wide, leaving the door open for Danilo Petrucci to scurry back through and take the advantage, to the roar of the crowd. Petrucci found himself leading at his home Grand Prix, with Marquez fighting into second; the stage was set for a thrilling showdown.

Marquez and Dovizioso tried their best to get on terms with Petrucci and in the final corner, Marquez gained massively, but try as he might, Petrucci held on for his first ever win, ahead of the Repsol Honda Team rider and ‘Desmo Dovi’ in third. Alex Rins lost touch with a moment on the exit of Turn 15 but came home fourth, with Takaaki Nakagami completing the top five.

Maverick Viñales moved into sixth place ahead of Cal Crutchlow in the closing stages and completed the race in this position, whilst Michele Pirro (Mission Winnow Ducati) took seventh away from Crutchlow in the closing stages. The Brit came home eighth, whilst Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Quartararo completed the top ten.

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1. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati)
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.043
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 0.338
4. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) + 0.535
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU) + 6.535
6. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 7.481
7. Michele Pirro (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 13.288
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) + 13.937
9. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 16.533
10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 17.994

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