The Gran Premio d’Italia at Mugello on Sunday was a day of firsts – it was first win of the 2010 MotoGP season for Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa, and the first time in 2010 that a pole sitter took a victory.
But it was also a sad day for Italian fans as their hero Valentino Rossi was unable to compete at his home circuit due to breaking his shin in a highside crash during FP2 on Saturday. If he started, it would have been his 230 consecutive GP start since he began in the 125cc class in 1996. VR 46 underwent successful surgery a few hours after the wreck at turn 13, and is expected to be out for up to six weeks.
Although the nine-time champion is sidelined, the over 140,000 fans still got an action packed round 4 of 17. Pedrosa showed dominance from the grid, getting out before the 16-rider field first, and lead all 23 laps on the 3.259-mile track containing 15 turns.
The 24-year-old Spaniard’s win moved him to second in the points standings, just behind series leader Jorge Lorenzo, who followed Pedrosa’s RC212V to the pole 4.014 seconds later. The final spot on the podium was filled by Pedrosa’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso. Pedrosa’s victory from the pole was his first since winning in Valencia in 2007.
Dani Pedrosa says “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win again. We’ve been working really hard and we had some problems through the winter and in the first races, so I’m really delighted with this victory, especially after leading at Jerez for so long but not quite making it. It looks like we are back near where we need to be and the team deserves the victory. I had a great feeling on the bike today, especially at the beginning section of the race and I could open up a gap.
“It’s important that we are competitive now because we have one weekend off and then three races in a row. The next race is at Silverstone which is a legendary track so I hope that we can match this kind of performance there – and also that this part of England has better weather!”
Lorenzo started from second on the grid, and followed Pedorsa to the first turn. Dovizioso passed Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha M1 on lap 3, but Lorenzo came back on lap 6, and remained in second until the end. By the end of the race, Pedrosa had over two seconds on Dovizioso.
His second-place finish adds to his lead; the Spaniard now has 90 points, 25 ahead of Pedrosa, with the injured Rossi in third with 61. He arrived on the podium sporting a yellow Rossi shirt, showing support for his hurt teammate.
Jorge Lorenzo says “Unfortunately my pace today wasn’t as good as yesterday and I could only finish second; something happened and I couldn’t ride in the same way but in the circumstances I am happy with my result. Anyway Dani had a perfect race today; he had an amazing pace and I don’t know if I could have beaten him even if I had been as fast as yesterday! To take 90 points from 100 is great and I am leading the championship, so I cannot ask for more. I need to make some improvements to my riding style and Yamaha needs to try to improve the power of the bike a bit so we have some things to work on, but I am confident about the next weeks. It was very strange today without Valentino, I am so glad the fans honored him so well. I wanted to win to dedicate the victory to him but that wasn’t possible so all I can do is say get well soon!”
Finishing third, Dovizioso pleased his home crowd and added 16 points to his championship standings. He was quick from the grid also, challenging and eventually passing Lorenzo, but couldn’t hold on and had to settle for third.
Andrea Dovizioso says “It’s so special to be on the podium at Mugello in front of my home crowd because I’ve never made the podium in MotoGP here – I always had to watch it on the TV in the garage! It was a really emotional experience up there with all the fans supporting us.
“Three podium finishes is a good start to the season and is very important for the Championship, and it’s thanks to the hard work we’ve done over the winter and in the first races,” said Dovizioso. “I’d like to say congratulations to Dani on the win because he had an incredible pace, and this is an extra motivation for us to take that extra step forward so we can fight for the win
Mugello was the first race with both Repsol Honda riders on the podium since the German Grand Prix in 2007.
Ducati Marlboro rider Casey Stoner had his best finish of the 2010 season with fourth. The Australian struggled with grip as the front runners pulled away, but fought hard for fourth with San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Marco Melandri and LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet.
Casey Stoner says “We expected to be a little faster in the race today especially using the softer option of the tires, but unfortunately we just didn’t seem to generate any grip. We had a reasonable set-up in the morning warm-up which was a big step from yesterday, but we made another change for the race which didn’t seem to work so I wasn’t able to catch the guys in front. The guys behind me were using me as a good rabbit to chase, and I wasn’t able to pull away from them so I let them have their race and then on the last lap I knew it was time for me to get in the best points position possible.”
Stoner’s teammate, the American with three consecutive fourth-place finishes, didn’t have much luck at Mugello. Ducati Marlboro rider Nicky Hayden tucked in the front of his GP10 on turn 12 with 18 laps to go, and crashed out.
Rounding out the top five was Melandri. The Italian started from 14th on the grid, and worked his was up to sixth quickly. By the final lap, he was engaged in the three-way battle with de Puniet and Stoner, and beat de Puniet to the finish line.
As for the injured Rossi, he’s recovering well after surgery at the Centro Traumatologico Ortopedico in Florence, Italy.
Dr. Roberto Buzzi of the CTO, who performed the operation, says “Valentino is recovering well following yesterday’s operation and his morale seems to be high in the circumstances. Tomorrow we will wash and stitch the wound. He has been moved to a more normal room in the hospital and the only requests he has made are for peace and quiet, privacy and a television on which to watch today’s race!”
The Doctor’s Updates Here at UltimateMotorCyling.com
Stop back here for more updates and we wish Vale a very speedy recovery.
MotoGP Mugello Results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team, 42:28.066
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 4.014
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team + 6.196
4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team + 25.703
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 25.735
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP + 25.965
7. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 28.806
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team + 40.172
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 41.394
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 42.107
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP + 43.095
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team + 43.363
13. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 1’14.393
14. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1’24.389
DNF: Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team, 15 Lap
DNF: Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team, 18 Lap
Not Starting: Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha
MotoGP Point Standings (after 4 rounds):
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team 90
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 65
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 61
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 58
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 39
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 36
7. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 32
8. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 24
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 23
10. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 20
11. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 19
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 19
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 18
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 16
15. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 13
16. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 12
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 8