Stoner’s Mugello win not only marked his first at Mugello, as well as Ducati’s first at the Tuscan circuit. The Aussie also now leads the 2009 championship points.
Stoner’s win is the first MotoGP victory for both the Aussie and his Ducati employers at the Tuscan track. The 2007 champion took the checkers thanks to solid tactics, as riders started the race on a wet track but finished on a dry one – having to make a mid-race switch to a Desmosedici equipped with slicks. Stoner would finish one second ahead of the man who actually led the championship entering Mugello, Lorenzo. Now it is Stoner enjoying the points lead, with a 4-point edge at 90.
As for Lorenzo, the Spaniard’s second-place finish was not without drama. The sophomore sensation crashed on the sighting lap and, after frantically making it to the start line, had an abysmal jump off the green light from pole position. Still the Yamaha young gun retained second on the day and in the overall points.
The third-place result for Valentino Rossi is a disappointment considering The Doctor’s seven-year winning streak at his home GP. But the Yamaha ace is a mere 9 points down on his rival, Stoner, and scored some valuable points by winning a battle with Dovizioso over third.
Dovizoso ran a strong race, one of the three Italians looking for podium glory at home. The Repsol pilot fell less than one tenth of a second short of Rossi for his first rostrum of the season, but he did best Capirossi – the MotoGP veteran riding his Suzuki at the front for portions race before settling into fifth. Dovi also fared much better than his teammate, Pedrosa, whose participation in the upcoming Barcelona round, his home race, is now questionable after his DNF-generating crash.
Jorege Lorenzo. Still a title contender, but dodged a bullet after crashing during the sighting lap at Mugello.
After the front five, there was a wide 20-second gap to the sixth-place finisher, Tech 3 Yamaha’s Colin Edwards. The Texas Tornado had to relish the final lap, as he passed his teammate, James Toseland, for the six spot. The satellite Yamahas contested the position with LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet, who finished eighth.
Niccolo Canepa’s ninth-place was one of the better results for Pramac Racing rookie, but Chris Vermeulen’s 10th-place is not what the Aussie was looking for, as the Suzuki rider had a fantastic start but struggled after making the bike switch. As for the Hayate/Kawasaki effort of Marco Melandri, the Italian was unable to continue his surprising top-10 results in 11th place.
Nicky Hayden continues with his Ducati woes, moving up four positions from his starting spot to finish 12th aboard the factory Desmosedici. Mika Kallio (Pramac Racing), Toni Elias (Gresini Honda) and Alex de Angelis (Gresini Honda) complete the finishers and point scorers. Meanwhile, Yuki Takahashi (Team Scot Honda), joined Pedrosa in the ignoble ranks of the DNF.
The Grand Prix paddock will take a weekend off before scuttling from Tuscany to Catalunya for the June 14th race in Barcelona.
MotoGP Mugello Results:
1 Casey Stoner (Ducati)
2 Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) +1.001
3 Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) +2.076
4 Andrea Dovizioso (Honda) +2.129
5 Loris Capirossi (Suzuki) +3.274
6 Colin Edwards (Yamaha) +24.451
7 James Toseland (Yamaha) +25.621
8 Randy de Puniet (Honda) +26.046
9 Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) +31.815
10 Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) +34.814
11 Marco Melandri (Kawasaki) +35.09
12 Nicky Hayden (Ducati) +39.122
13 Mika Kallio (Ducati) +52.462
14 Toni Elias (Honda) +52.478
15 Alex de Angelis (Honda) +1 Lap
DNF Dani Pedrosa (Honda) +11 Lap
DNF Yuki Takahashi (Honda) +13 Lap
Casey Stoner – Ducati Marlboro – 1st
“I have already won in Italy, at Misano in 2007, and it was great for Ducati but this was the one I really wanted. We’ve struggled to find a great setting here for the past two years but today was our day. During the practice my pace in the dry wasn’t perfect but it was quite good. We started out well in the wet, I felt good and the bike was doing great until the wet tires were worn out. I kept trying to push to the limit because I didn’t want to lose ground on the others like at Le Mans and stayed out there until I was absolutely sure it was the right time to change tires. As soon as I went out on slicks I felt comfortable and competitive. Unfortunately I had an issue with the clutch and it started to give me a few problems. Loris came past and was pushing hard and riding very well and he kept me on my toes. At one point I thought it was all over but thankfully I was able to work out a way to ride around the problem and bring the victory home. I made a couple of mistakes over the final two laps but luckily it didn’t matter. It was a really difficult race but a great one for the whole team, for Filippo (Preziosi), for everybody at Ducati and all the Ducatisti. I’m so happy today.”
Jorge Lorenzo – Fiat Yamaha – 2nd
“Honestly, this is as good as a win for me and I can’t really believe the race today, it was like a movie! This morning in warm-up I was quite worried because I was slow in the rain, then on the sighting lap I slid off into the gravel pit. All I could think about was making it back to the pits as quickly as possible in case there was still a chance to make the grid and luckily I made it just in time. My team had the second bike ready and I was able to still start from the pole position. On the grid I tried not to think about the crash, I just tried to focus. But then I had a big slide off the line and the first part of the race wasn’t so good for me. I have to say the biggest thank you to my guys today for getting the damaged bike ready in such a short time; it was a brilliant job and after I swapped bikes everything changed. From then on I had a great rhythm and I was able to stay on fighting to the end and take this second place. It’s a really amazing result because things could have been much worse today, so thank you again to everyone for making it possible. I’m really happy with this result.”
Valentino Rossi – Fiat Yamaha – 3rd
“Of course I am disappointed not to win again in Mugello but seven times in a row is not so bad and the important thing is that I made it onto the podium. It’s a very special moment in Mugello, with all the fans below, and I would have been very sad to have missed that! It was a very hard race today and once again the weather was a problem for us, we’re very unlucky in these half-and-half races and I think this is my first podium in one. In the wet we were very fast because we had found a great setting, but then when we changed bikes we made a mistake and chose a front tire that was too hard, so it took me a long time to be able to put enough temperature on it and I lost a lot of time. At the end I was able to ride better and I knew that I had to make it onto the podium, so I am happy for this. Of course after Le Mans this is a big improvement and these points are important because it’s very close between the three of us.”
Andrea Dovizioso – Repsol Honda – 4th
“The sensation of leading the race in front of my home crowd was incredible and I think overall we had a good race today – I’m satisfied. I fought like hell to take third and we were so close – only 53 thousandths from the podium! I think our race strategy was good, we changed the bike at the right moment and I pushed as hard as possible to maintain my position. With three laps to go I tried to keep in contact with the others and when Rossi overtook me, I managed to stay with him. Then I tried to slipstream him out of the last corner but I couldn’t make it. Anyway, all in all it was an exciting race and a positive result. We are getting closer, but still not close enough to win. We need to keep on working because we are still not as competitive as the fastest riders, especially in dry conditions. I want to say thanks to the team because they did a great job today, and we’ll use this result to give us an extra boost of motivation.”
Loris Capirossi – Rizla Suzuki – 5th
“I tried my best today and we nearly got the result the whole team deserved. When I came in to change my bike I was quick immediately and I tried to catch Casey. When I did, I thought I’d done a good job to get there but from then it was very difficult to stay with him and keep a distance from the guys behind. The whole team worked so hard this weekend and we tried to find the best solution for today’s conditions and the bike felt like it had a good rhythm in both the wet and the dry. We now need a lot of help from Suzuki, because on the straight it is difficult to follow and stay with the faster guys – and this is what is limiting us at the moment. I want to say a big thank-you to everybody and we will try to build on this next time.”
Colin Edwards – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 6th
“That race was almost exactly the same as what happened in Le Mans where I was losing time in the wet at the beginning and then charging through from the back in the dry. I don’t know why, but when the track is damp or full wet, I’ve got no confidence with the front. And being a front-end guy, if I’ve got no feeling then I don’t go fast. When I enter the corner I get too much weight transfer to the rear and that makes the front feel really vague. I probably should have come in for my dry bike a couple of laps earlier than I did, but with the hard compound front and rear slick in, it took me a while to get temperature in them and I was having a few moments. I just put my head down and was able to get down to some decent times and to take the positive out of the race I at least came back to finish in the top six because I was way back. But I’ve got to get this bike fixed for me in the wet because I haven’t sorted out that particular puzzle yet.”
James Toseland – Monster Yamaha Tech 3 – 7th
“That’s my best result of the season and I’m happy with that because I feel I should be fighting around the top six on a regular basis. I started the race with quite a hard spring in the rear shock and in the first few laps I was in trouble. I hadn’t planned on coming into the pits so early for my dry bike but I had no choice. I was losing a lot of time so it was definitely a gamble worth taking. The first couple of laps on slicks were eventful while I was trying to get the hard tires to temperature, but once I’d got a rhythm going I felt pretty confident and I was pleased I’d decided to come in early. The section of track with the new tarmac was a bit scary because that never dried through the whole race, but you could ride the rest of the track pretty much flat-out and coming in when I did definitely helped gain me a lot of places once I’d picked up my pace. I had a really good dice with Randy and there were a few good overtakes. It’s the first race I’ve enjoyed for a while because for most of it I was fighting for the top six. That’s where I was a few times last season and that’s where this bike and team deserve to be. Hopefully I can push on in Catalunya.”
Randy de Puniet – LCR Honda – 8th
“Unfortunately the conditions were the same as they were at Le Mans, though our result here was a bit better. I got a very good start but I did not feel very confident in the wet, so I was slower than some of the other guys. I was probably being too cautious. I changed bikes at the right moment, but for the first two laps on slicks I struggled to find a good rhythm, especially on the damp parts of the track. Anyway I had fun battling with Toseland. I tried many times to leave him behind but finally it was impossible. With two laps to go Edwards caught us and I pushed really hard to get sixth place but it was too late. Eighth position is not so bad in these conditions but we could have got sixth. Thanks once again to the team for their good work.”
Niccolò Canepa – Pramac Racing – 9th
“I am very happy today. At the beginning with wet surface I was last; I didn’t have the confidence to ride as I would have liked to. When the condition of the track got better I started to register very interesting lap times. My ninth position in my first Italian Grand Prix in MotoGP is not bad at all. Now we have Barcelona race, another track that I already know quite well and where I think we can conquer another good result.”
Chris Vermeulen – Rizla Suzuki – 10th
“I had a good start and everyone braked early for the first corner and that allowed me to take a wider line where it was a bit drier and I got through into second. A couple of corners later I moved into first and everything felt quite good while the track was wet, but as it started to dry out I struggled a bit with entry grip on the rear. I rode as hard as I could to try and stay with the front guys. I waited for a lap or two to come in and change bikes and I think I did it at the just the right time, but then I struggled to get enough heat into the slick tires. I did as much as I could and got past a couple of guys right at the end and brought the bike home in 10th – obviously we were hoping for a bit better. The next track we go to is one where we’ve been a bit more successful so hopefully we’ll do alright there.”
Nicky Hayden – Ducati Marlboro Team – 12th
“Once again we got hit by some crazy weather although to be honest I was hoping for a wet race today after being sixth fastest in the warm-up. I didn’t get away well in the race but I managed to get past a few guys pretty quickly and my team did a great job to change the settings on my second bike and allow me to be amongst the first to change over. That allowed me to make up even more ground and I was up to ninth, having a good race until the rear brake wore down towards the end and I lost three positions. I was using it too much to stop the rear from spinning up and moving around and it has cost me a lot in the end. It’s a shame but we can take some positives out of this race – I was back in the top ten for several laps and we have something to work from in the next race.”
Mika Kallio – Pramac Racing – 13th
“With the first bike everything seemed to go well, but than I don’t know what happened with the bike with dry set up. In the first two turns I was going only 50km/h, but the bike didn’t want to follow my instructions. In the second turn I almost went off track. I was going really slowly in the first two laps and this made me lose many positions. The situation was unmanageable, now we have to check where we went wrong.”
Toni Elias – San Carlo Honda Gresini – 14th
“I’m disappointed and angry because in racing you have to be ready to tackle any situation and today we weren’t. The most frustrating thing is that I was expecting the first six or seven laps in the wet to be the hard part for us today and we actually did a good job, so I was confident we could kick on for a top result in the dry. I came out on slick tires right behind Valentino and Casey, just two seconds behind them, but it took me four laps to get the rear tire up to temperature and even then we were losing three or four seconds a lap, which I cannot understand. It’s a disaster and something clearly wasn’t working right. We’re going to analyze the data, find out what went wrong and make sure we’re better prepared next time. There are positives to take out of this weekend because in general we have stepped up our pace but right now that just makes me even more disappointed that we haven’t come away with a good result.”
Alex De Angelis – San Carlo Honda Gresini – 15th
“I think we went with the right race strategy and chose the correct moment to change bikes. I went back out pretty fast but went a little bit too hard into turn two and was heading straight for the air fence, so I had to jump off. It was a real shame because it has probably cost us a handful of points but the reality is that we didn’t have a good set-up with the bike for the dry and I honestly don’t think we’d have been capable of great things anyway today.”
Dani Pedrosa – Repsol Honda – DNF
“What can I say? It’s obviously been a pretty bad weekend for us and the crash in the race just about summed it all up. After the problem with my right leg yesterday I had a pain-killing injection this morning for the warm-up and it allowed me to ride the bike, but to be honest there was still a lot of pain and I couldn’t ride at full speed. The rain didn’t help either because all the practice sessions were dry so the wet settings were a bit of a gamble. Anyway, I want to thank Doctor Costa and his assistants for all his help that allowed me to be on the grid today. I had another injection before the race but the conditions were very hard to read and it was difficult for me to gain confidence or find a rhythm – also the bike change wasn’t easy for me because of my leg. On the dry bike I didn’t really have time to get used to the settings and track conditions because I lost the rear on my third lap out and crashed. It’s quite hard to find anything very positive to say right now, but I’m glad that I didn’t do any more damage when I crashed – that’s something. I want to check it again with my doctors and have a bit of rest – I feel really tired now. Despite this setback we’ll keep working. It’s my home Grand Prix next and I just hope I can go there and be in contention.”
Yuki Takahashi – Scot Honda – DNF
“Yesterday in the dry we had an excellent set-up for this track. Today in the wet we struggled a bit. I came in to change bikes when the team signaled me to come in, then I went out again with slick. Maybe the tires were too cold or maybe I pushed too hard, anyway, I crashed. I’m really sorry for my crew and for the team. But we have learned a lot here and I am confident that we can get a good result at the next race.”