Dovizioso uses Ducati power and beats Marquez to win
Using the HP advantage of the Ducatis to good cause, Italian Andrea Dovizioso scored a dominant third win of the MotoGP season at Misano ahead of Marc Marquez, as the 2nd Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo crashed out of second place.
Dovizioso scored Ducati's third successive race win to the delight of the partisan Italian crowd. While Lorenzo and Marquez managed to close the gap in the latter stages until the former slid out at the Turn 8 left-hander on the penultimate lap, they were never able to really challenge Dovizioso.
How fast was the winning Ducati? Well he appeared to be toying with everyone.
Dovizioso's lead was hovering at less than a second until he set a new fastest lap on lap nine, and five laps later his advantage had grown to nearly two seconds.
Marquez and Lorenzo, engaged in a thrilling fight over second, edged ever so closer to Dovizioso in the final five laps but the Italian was stroking it at that point, knowing no one was going to beat him.
Behind Marquez, LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow was gifted the final podium spot, 4 sec. behind Marquez, followed by the Suzuki of Alex Rins.
Yamaha's Maverick Vinales finished 5th for Yamaha.
Teammate Valentino Rossi was seventh behind the second works Honda of Dani Pedrosa.
How the race unfolded
It was polesitter Lorenzo who shot out ahead and got the holeshot – as the number 99 is oft to do – but Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) kept second from second on the grid as the Aussie got a good start. Marquez was the biggest winner off the line, moving up from fifth after a crash in qualifying to slot into third, but he wasn’t there long…
Dovizioso struck quickly against the reigning Champion before picking off Miller, pushing hard to tag on to the back of his teammate as Marquez then sliced past the Aussie too – intent on keeping tabs on the Ducati duo at the front. Unfortunately, disaster struck a lap later for Miller as he slid out at Turn 14.
Back at the front, ‘DesmoDovi’ was honing in on Lorenzo and looking to make a move. With 22 laps to go the Italian did just that, slicing past at Turn 7. He then began to pull away as Marquez tagged on to Lorenzo in the battle for second, before the number 93 then shot past with 14 to go as Lorenzo headed a little wide. The gap? 1.4 seconds to the Ducati ahead.
He’d prepared the move with a couple of feints beforehand, but this time he made it stick. From there it was time to put the hammer down and Lorenzo set about cutting the gap to his teammate. Tenth by tenth, the Spaniard was reeling him in – and the gap went back down to 1.3 seconds. Dovizioso began to respond, but drama suddenly hit the front on the penultimate lap – pushing and pushing, Lorenzo suddenly slid out of second.
That left ‘DesmoDovi’ in free air at the front to take his first ever win at the venue, having managed the race to perfection. Marquez took second and extended his Championship lead, with Crutchlow’s impressive pace and race rewarded by a podium after the late drama.
Crutchlow had pulled free of a squabble and sliced past Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) to get into the position to try and close in on the then-leading trio, and more than made amends for a late crash in qualifying. Rins, meanwhile, impressed on the softer compound rear tire to get well in the initial fight and then hold great pace to the flag, not able to stay ahead of Crutchlow but nevertheless holding station in the top five until Lorenzo’s late crash saw him take fourth.
Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) took fifth after dropping back slightly from a front row start and suffering a more difficult race, holding off some steady pressure from Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), who took sixth.
For Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), it was a difficult Sunday at home. Missing the race through injury last season – as his special edition ‘Back to Misano’ helmet attests – the ‘Doctor’ had higher hopes for the race that takes place so close to his home town of Tavullia. He took P7, retaining his qualifying position by the flag. Compatriot Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also had a tough weekend, and come home eighth.
Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) continued his good run of recent form and took P9, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) completing the top ten ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing). Petrucci had a difficult race day and was also given a 1.1 second penalty for cutting a corner early on.
Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) beat Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) to the honor of top rookie and P12, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking points for Noale factory Aprilia on home turf in P14, just ahead of Ducati Test Team wildcard Michele Pirro.
Behind them? Lorenzo had remounted and dueled Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) to the line, but the Brit was just able to stay ahead by a tenth. For full results, click here.
That’s it from a dramatic weekend at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Next we return to MotorLand Aragon and home turf for Marquez, Lorenzo and Vinales, leaving Dovizioso and Rossi behind enemy lines. After three Italian wins over the three classes at Misano, can the Spaniards fight back?
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