Magic Mugello ramps the drama to feverpitch for the Italian Grand Prix!
Every year we look forward to arriving in Florence for the short drive up through the Tuscan hills to Mugello. It is a magic place where the atmosphere on race day is unequalled anywhere in the world. But day one was hampered by overnight rain, cold weather and a damp track for the first free practice sessions on Friday. By Saturday the sun had come out, the hills filled with thousands of fans and... Valentino Rossi found incredible pace to set Pole Position for Yamaha.
Race day, sun up, and so were we as the hordes decended on the tiny access roads to this fantastic arena. A record crowd had crammed every vantage point around the famed 3.2 mile Ferrari owned tarmac. Over 100,000 people officially but I bet there were more! Anticipation was as tasty as the smouldering bonfires of the night before!
Moto3 showcased a new Italian star. A 17 year old rookie, yet to score his first series point, had everyone on their feet. Now we are all practicing how to pronounce, Fabio Di Giannantonio! But it was Brad Binder who just can't stop winning, Di Giannantonio was second with Francesco Bagnaia Mahindra's hero once again in third.
With Sam Lowes on Pole Position for Moto2 the Brits were looking forward to a great race, and that is how it started until Xavi Vierge's machine speared into an air-fence bringing out a red flag so that the safety crew could replace it. Race Direction implemented the Fast Restart procedure, that proved to be anything but! Some big names never made it onto the sighting lap in time and were dragged off the reformed grid to start from pit lane. Cue a massive row! Eventually, after further delays a ten lap race got underway. Johann Zarco's preferred soft option Dunlop suited a shorter race and he took the win from Lorenzo Baldassarri and a tyred out Sam Lowes! Lowes had loved the harder option tyre, didn't want to switch to a soft, but only had a worn version of his favourite rubber.
Then it was the turn of the MotoGP stars. With 10s of thosands of fans singing the Italian National Anthem as the bikes waited on the grid it was lump in your throat stuff. It was also the kind of atmosphere that you either rose to or failed in front of! The great Rossi got the start he had practiced for so diligently on day one and it was his team mate, Lorenzo, who followed him down to San Donato on lap one. But like Lorenzo in warm-up Rossi's M1 Yamaha eventually blew up in a smoke screen of disappointment. Utter devastation for the Tifosi and a blow to Rossi's bid for that elusive tenth world title. But that was not the end of a fantastic battle for honours as Marc Marquez fought tooth and nail in a final lap dust-up with race leader Lorenzo. Marquez scrabbled his awkward Honda onto the final half mile stretch to the flag only to be pipped by Lorenzo's Yamaha after an immaculate last turn offered extra momentum to pass the Honda virtually on the finish line! Lorenzo extended his lead to ten points from Marquez as we head to Catalunya for round seven of the 18 round MotoGP year.
Join us if you can for the next showdown in Spain, we look forward to your company. Time now for a beer!!
All the best