On Saturday, Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa – winner of the last two Grands Prix in Spain and France – had claimed his first pole position of the campaign, heading up the front row from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso. Sunday afternoon would prove to be completely dry as the race was held in bright conditions, marking the fifth round of 18 in 2013.
A strong getaway for Pedrosa allowed the Honda man to retain his lead, but he immediately ran wide and was tagged by Lorenzo as the World Champion dived inside to take the lead on the exit of Turn 1. Pedrosa would remain with his compatriot until just past half distance, when small errors for two laps in a row allowed Marquez to attack his teammate while Lorenzo pulled out a healthy buffer.
Pedrosa’s afternoon was a mixed one. He had lost the lead at the start and kept Marquez at bay until the 20-year-old pulled off a courageous move on the inside of Savelli curve on the 19th tour. Marquez’s hard work was quickly undone in exactly the same place just two laps later, as an unforced error resulted in a fourth crash in three days and the end of his bid to become the first rookie in MotoGP history to claim five rostrum finishes at the start of his premier class career.
Marquez’s demise allowed Pedrosa to retake second place as Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow made the podium for the second time in two weeks, becoming the first British rider since 1987 to take back-to-back podium finishes. Stefan Bradl delivered a mature ride to fourth place to equal his career-best result for LCR Honda MotoGP, which had coincidently been achieved at the same race last year. Ducati Team filled positions five to seven, with Dovizioso eventually winning a battle with teammate Nicky Hayden while Michele Pirro raced the GP13 Lap bike for a second time.
Aleix Espargaro carried his Power Electronics Aspar CRT bike to its best result yet in eighth spot, with Tech 3’s Bradley Smith achieving ninth despite being in immense pain with an injured wrist and finger. Hector Barbera completed the top ten for Avintia Blusens, but the biggest drama of the day for the Italian crowd was Valentino Rossi’s retirement only three corners into the race; the seven-time Mugello winner was involved in a collision with GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, with both men heading into the barriers at Poggio Secco. After the event, Race Direction declared the coming together a ‘racing incident’.
Lorenzo’s second victory of the year sees him jump up to second place in the Riders’ Championship, 12 points behind Pedrosa, as Marquez falls to third and 26 points behind the championship leader. The action continues with the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya from Barcelona in two weeks’ time.