MotoGP Mugello Results & Race Report: Pedrosa Dominates in Italy While Stoner Fights for 4th with Melandri & de Puniet

What Happens When There’s a Tornado Warning. At. My. House.

9:02am EST — Dani Pedrosa dominated the Italian GP, leading from the lights out to the checkered flag in the absence of Valentino Rossi.  His Fiat Yamaha teammate finished second, after having to fight over the position in the early stages of the race with third place finisher Andrea Dovizioso.  The fight for fourth was the most exciting of the day, with Casey Stoner only triumphing over Marco Melandri and Randy de Puniet on the final lap.

Dani Pedrosa won pole for the Italian GP, just stealing it from countryman Jorge Lorenzo in the final seconds of MotoGP qualifying by under two tenths.  They outpaced much of the field for a good portion of the day, barring Nicky Hayden who posted excellent times, but was not able to catch either them or his teammate at the very end of the session.  Casey Stoner started third with Hayden fourth, both more than a half second behind Pedrosa, who may or (more likely) may not have sorted the Honda’s myriad issues for the race.  Having spent much of qualifying in the top five runners, Colin Edwards started fifth.

A far more overshadowing incident occurred during the Saturday morning practice when Valentino Rossi suffered a nasty highside at Biondetti (Turn 13).  The results were disastrous, in that he “suffered a displaced and exposed fracture of his right tibia,” according to the Fiat Yamaha team.  He was, according to reports, sedated in the Clinica Mobile and flown (interestingly and through complete coincidence by a yellow helicopter) to Florence for continued treatment.  The crash, with footage here from multiple angles on the official MotoGP site, and its resultant injuries put Rossi out for his home race and at least six weeks of recovery.  Rossi underwent what appeared to be a fully successful operation Saturday and might be able to return as early as Germany or Laguna Seca, but Brno is the more likely scenario.

The field got away under the brightly shining sun with a good start from Lorenzo, but a rocket start from Dovizioso and Spies, Dovi fighting Stoner for third immediately.  Both soon overtook the Australian as Pedrosa kept the lead, and kept trying to grow it over Lorenzo.  Further back, Simoncelli had a bit of an excursion through the gravel.  Dovizioso had a look at Lorenzo, but was not close enough as Spies looked after the Italian and tried to keep Stoner behind, though a slight gap began to open for the American.  By the third lap, Stoner and Hayden had regained their positions over Spies, bringing Marco Melandri along with them, as Dovi had also made it around Lorenzo for second as they crossed the line, with Dovi making it stick just a bit after.  Pedrosa was nearly a second ahead in the lead, a gap that would become nearly two one lap later.  Either Pedrosa and Honda had fixed their myriad problems or the young Spaniard was looking for a gap big enough to hold them off when the race pace went away.  By L5, it was a three second gap from Pedrosa to Lorenzo.

On L7 Hayden went off, as he later said, while “trying to make up time” and did not return to the running order after having lost his position to Melandri on L5.  Ten laps in and Stoner and Melandri were fighting for fourth, fourteen seconds behind Pedrosa who still led and seven seconds behind Dovizioso in third, who was four tenths behind Lorenzo.  Melandri triumphed, and the race got far more interesting for Stoner as de Puniet came up from behind to join the party.  The three fought for fourth as Spies kept a watchful eye from close enough to capitalize.

By L15, the race was quite processional at the front, with Pedrosa leading by nearly eight seconds over Lorenzo, who had an eight-tenth gap back to Dovizioso.  Melandri was still ahead of Stoner in his home race, though the Italian only had .056s to show for it.  de Puniet got around the Australian as well.  By L17, though, de Puniet had overtaken Melandri for fourth, though Melandri was less than a tenth behind.  Stoner remained in sixth with five laps left.  Melandri returned the favor on de Puniet.  At the front, though, Lorenzo had gained a couple of seconds on Pedrosa.  With only three laps left and a six second gap, catching up and passing Pedrosa looked like an impossibility, particularly as Lorenzo had only gained another couple of tenths on Pedrosa with two laps left.  The battle for fourth got very interesting, as de Puniet was just holding onto the coveted position with Melandri looking all the time and Stoner just lying in wait to capitalize on any mistake or messy fighting.  Across the line for the final lap, both Melandri and Stoner got through on de Puniet, and all three took different lines through some of the corners, Stoner throwing the bike to the inside for fourth, then Melandri re-took the position, then Stoner.  he kept his lines a tight as possible, with Stoner just keeping the Italian behind at the line.  At the front, the standings remained as they had for so much of the race, with Pedrosa ahead of Lorenzo, then Dovizioso.

Final Positions for the 2010 Italian GP:
1. Pedrosa
2. Lorenzo +4.014
3. Dovizioso +6.196
4. Stoner +25.703
5. Melandri +25.735
6. de Puniet +25.965
7. Spies +28.806
8. Espargaro +40.172
9. Simoncelli+41.394
10. Capirossi +42.107
11. Aoyama +43.095
12. Barbera +43.363
13. Edwards +1:14.393
14. Bautista +1:24.389

[author’s note: apology for the lack of detail through some laps of the race, as there was, quite literally, a tornado warning at my house that was not of the Colin Edwards variety, knocking out my video coverage during some of the few enough exciting moments of the race. There was, thankfully, no tornado.]


1 Comment

  1. Valentino Rossi will certainly be missed in every MotoGP race that he misses this year. Unfortunately, a nasty injury like this will take a lot of time to fix.

    Other than the Rossi incident last weekend, it was a nice race. I did not like Haygen going off so early in the race. To see Ben Spies slowly coming to grips with MotoGP machinery is great to see.

    As always, thanks for the reports and updates.

    Looking forward to the Canadian GP this weekend. My money is on McLaren to blow everyone away. With the F-Duct at maximum attack on the long straights in Canada, Hamilton and Button will likely run away with it.

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