MUGELLO, Italy – Despite suffering a case of food poisoning overnight that limited his running in the morning warm-up session, Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso gave his home-based team and home fans something to cheer about in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Driving for the Ducati Team, Dovizioso was able to hold off polesitter and championship leader Maverick Viñales to score his first win of the season at the Mugello Circuit.
While Viñales’ Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi jumped Viñales for the lead initially, it was the fast-starting Jorge Lorenzo whose Ducati scorched past them both to lead at the start of lap two. It was not to last, though, as he began slipping back while his teammate came through the field after a poor start.
A four-way fight for the lead began to develop between Rossi, Viñales, Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. Vinales held the lead for most of the race, after passing Rossi to head the pack on lap four.
Dovizioso kept pace with the Yamaha teammates, eventually passing Rossi for second on lap six and then passing Viñales for the lead nine laps later.
Petrucci, meanwhile, was shaping up Rossi for third and got past him at the last corner on lap 14. Petrucci then repeated the maneuver the following lap on Viñales, as the young Spaniard ran wide.
Viñales passed Petrucci back with four laps remaining and set off after Dovizioso. He began to close up to him, but the Ducati rider was able to hold him off, with over one second between them at the finish line.
Rossi began to drop back in the final laps, as the injuries from his motocross training accident began to show. That allowed Petrucci to have an unchallenged run to third, scoring his first podium finish since the 2015 British Grand Prix.
Dovizioso was delighted after the race, especially as he had to overcome illness en route to his third-career MotoGP win and first since Malaysia last fall.
“I didn’t have energy before the race; I was scared about that … I was scared to lose the energy during the race,” admitted Dovizioso. “But the reality was that I was able to ride fast in a smooth way. That for me made a big difference during the race, to stay behind Maverick.”
Rossi put in a brave performance in front of his home supporters, but said after the race that “with eight laps to go, I was already finished and I started to suffer more.”
It was a poor day for Repsol Honda, as Marc Marquez could not challenge for the lead and was passed for fifth by Alvaro Bautista around the halfway mark. He kept the pressure on him for the rest of the race, but did not have the power to get by the year-old Ducati.
Honda’s day was made even worse after Dani Pedrosa crashed out while fighting for 11th with Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.
Johann Zarco finished in seventh, while early leader Lorenzo faded to eight at the end. Michele Pirro and Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone completed the top 10.
Pedrosa and Crutchlow’s crash allowed Tito Rabat up into 11th, with Scott Redding, Jonas Folger, Hector Barbera and Jack Miller rounding out the points-scoring drivers.
Viñales goes into his home event, the Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona, with a 26-point lead over Dovizioso in second.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…