Going into this weekend, there was plenty of speculation as to whether this would be the race where Yamaha’s factory team was finally able to top the podium; so far this year, the Honda factory squad has taken every race, with Marquez winning 11 races and teammate Dani Pedrosa taking a single win.
But this was Rossi’s home turf and the Misano track was said to favour the Yamahas, so there was plenty of speculation we might see a Honda upset, aided by front row starts for both Lorenzo (pole) and Rossi (third).
The start saw Jorge Lorenzo stay in front with Rossi moving into second, but before long it looked like we’d see the usual picking off by Marquez to get in front and once again take the race. Lorenzo couldn’t maintain his lead ,and after a few laps it was Rossi leading with Marquez hot in his heals.
Then the unexpected happened; Marquez lost the front and slid out mid-corner on lap 10. He was able to re-join the action after marshals helped him bump start his bike (odd, considering they were most likely Rossi fans). He took home a sole point after battling his way back up to 15th.
Rossi managed to keep his head and take the race; it was the Doctor’s 107th career win in MotoGP action, and on home soil to boot. “I had a good start to the race and battled with Marc and Jorge,” Rossi said, post-race. “I knew Marc wanted to stay in front. After I saw the board and understood that he had crashed or something it was a little easier as I already had a small advantage over Jorge. It has been five years since my last victory here, a similar race too, it’s like a time machine!”
You can watch an interview with Rossi here.
Rossi was 1.578 seconds ahead of Lorenzo, who was in turn 2.698 seconds up on Pedrosa. Lorenzo said he was disappointed that he hadn’t been able to fight a little harder in the race, although he was happy with Yamaha’s success.
Marquez saw his first-place lead in the standings cut a little; now, he’s 74 points ahead of Pedrosa, who finished third behind the Yamaha leaders. He said that despite the crash, he was happy he’d proved he could run with the Italians on their home track.
“I’m happy with how today went, despite the crash due to my first mistake of the season, because yesterday I did not think that I would be capable of sticking with Valentino and Jorge,” Marquez said. “I was riding over the inside of the rumble strip and that meant that I lost the front. Luckily I was able to rejoin the race, continue with a good pace and score a point that could always come in handy in the future.”
After Rossi, Lorenzo and Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac) rounded out the top five. Iannone had actually been in contention with Lorenzo for pole, but started in second and slipped down the rankings through the race.
“I knew I could not fight with Jorge and Vale, but I tried anyway,” Iannone said. “My engine was not at its full potential but we knew it before the race that it had less power. I am satisfied with this result; it is our lowest distance from the first rider this year and this confirms the improvements.”
Tech3’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith finished sixth and seventh on their satellite Yamahas, Alvaro Bautista was eighth on the Gresini Honda, Cal Crutchlow was ninth on the other factory Ducati and Yonny Hernandez finished tenth on the other Pramac Ducati.
Aleix Espargaro, Stefan Bradl, Danilo Petrucci and Mike Di Meglio all earned DNFs.
During the podium awards the crowd were ecstatic to see the Doctor back on top spot and Rossi was obviously delighted, kneeling down to the adoring fans in a show of respect. It was also a welcome change to discover what something other than the Spanish national anthem sounds like.
Tito Rabat racked up more points to extend his Moto2 series lead on Sunday. Marc VDS teammate Mika Kallio had pole and made a terrific start, but with eight laps to go, Rabat made the pass and took his seventh win of the season.
He now has a 22-point lead on Kallio – 258 to 236. Maverick Vinales’ fourth-place leaves him in third overall now, with 179 points. Johann Zarco was third, Thomas Luthi fifth, Dominique Aegerter sixth, Franco Morbidelli seventh, Julian Simon eighth, Axel Pons ninth and Takaaki Nakagami tenth.
Jonas Folger had a particularly disappointing race; he was running in seventh until he was given a ride-through penalty for failing to drop one position after exceeding track limits. That ended up dropping him down to 19th.
Alex Rins won the Moto3 event, barely beating out teammate Alex Marquez (a 0.042-second gap!) for the win, his second in a row.
Rins’ win was even more impressive when you consider he crashed in a warm-up lap, requiring medical attention after he bruised his legs badly.
The podium was Marquez’s sixth, and improved his standings against series leader Jack Miller. Miller was third; he now leads Marquez by only nine points, with five races left in the series. Isaac Vinales was fourth and Enea Bastianini finished in fifth.
Next race: Aragon, Sept. 28.
MotoGP standings after Round 13:
1). Marc Marquez (Honda) 289
2). Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 215
3). Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 214
4). Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) 177
5). Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 142
6). Pol Espargaro (Yamaha) 98
7). Aleix Espargaro (Yamaha) 92
8). Andrea Iannone (Ducati) 92
9). Stefan Bradl (Honda) 74
10). Bradley Smith (Yamaha) 74
1). Esteve Rabat (Kalex) 258
2). Mika Kallio (Kalex) 236
3). Maverick Vinales (Kalex) 179
4). Dominique Aegerter (Suter) 133
5). Thomas Luthi (Suter) 103
1). Jack Miller (KTM) 195
2). Alex Marquez (Honda) 186
3). Alex Rins (Honda) 175
4). Efren Vazquez (Honda) 151
5). Romano Fenati (KTM) 140
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