Along with wins in the 125cc and 250cc classes, Rossi now has nine career victories on his home track. The win also moved the Fiat Yamaha racer ahead of Ángel Nieto for second on the all-time wins list with 91 victories.
“After winning the championship, winning at Mugello is the next best thing for me and once again today it was like a dream,” says the five-time world champion who sits on top of the current rider standings with 122 points. “It’s been a fantastic day, it’s always one of the best moments of the year for me and now we’ve made a bit more of the gap at the top of the championship so things couldn’t be better.”
Rossi started the race with his first pole position of the year but quickly slipped down to fourth after the first turn. He would regain the lead on lap four, passing Ducati Marlboro’s Casey Stoner and hold on to it until the end. Stoner finished 2.2 seconds behind for just the third podium spot of the year for the 2007 champion, and just his second ever at Mugello.
“I led from the start but I didn’t want to push too hard because the front tire took a few laps to bed in,” says Stoner. “Valentino came past in a section of the circuit where I was losing a little bit too much time – I was trying to make it up around the rest of the track but pushed it too much into turn one, ran wide and lost touch with Valentino. We knew the setting of the bike would be more suited to the final few laps and we expected to be strong but unfortunately I’d fallen a little bit too far behind.”
Dani Pedrosa finished third, returning him to the podium after just missing out in the previous race, May 18 in Le Man, France.
The Repsol Honda rider battled with Stoner for much of the race, but was forced to settle for third. Pedrosa now sits 12 points back of the lead for second in the rider standings but with just one win in six races this season, he knows he’ll need to do better to catch Rossi.
“I got a good start and the rhythm was really high, at first I was able to go with them, then I had a battle with Casey. I tried to catch him at the end but it was impossible,” says Pedrosa. “It was great to be on the podium, it’s a good result for the championship, but while consistency is always important, we need to win more races.”
Pedrosa entered the race in a tie with Rossi’s teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, for second in the standings. Lorenzo has had a great start to his first year in the MotoGP class, but this weekend he was held pointless for the first time after crashing out on lap seven. Lorenzo was in sixth and was attempting a move on JiR Team Scot rider Andrea Dovizioso at turn 10 when he appeared to lose grip on the front and slid into the gravel.
“I think I could have fought for the podium and I can only say sorry to my team and to all of my fans; it was my mistake,” says Lorenzo. “I shouldn’t have tried to pass Dovizioso in this corner, it wasn’t the right place and I will learn from it.”
Lorenzo had better learn quickly as the MotoGP tour continues this weekend at the Catalan Grand Prix in Spain.
|1.||Valentino Rossi||FIAT Yamaha||42:31.153|
|2.||Casey Stoner||Ducati Marlboro||+2.201|
|3.||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||+4.867|
|4.||Alex de Angelis||San Carlo Honda Gresini||+6.313|
|5.||Colin Edwards||Tech 3 Yamha||+12.530|