Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) today endured his toughest Sunday of 2018, crashing out of the battle for victory in the early stages of today’s race at sun-blessed Mugello.
The 25-year-old did everything he could to hold onto his sliding RC213V but eventually had to give up the fight. But that wasn’t the end of him. Marquez bravely remounted and kept racing as hard as he could, lapping at a similar pace to some of the podium finishers, only to cross the finish line one place short of a World Championship point.
Yesterday Marquez already knew this would be a difficult race because during practice he couldn’t find the perfect front tyre for his riding technique and the track conditions. He finally chose a hard-compound asymmetric front tyre, which lost grip as he attacked the downhill Scarperia right-hander on lap five of 23.
The crash lasted a long time – in true Marquez style he tried to save the situation by digging his right knee and elbow into asphalt. He was still holding onto the handlebars as he finally slid into the gravel, where he quickly picked up the bike, remounted and continued on his way, down in 18th place.
The reigning World Champion – who has won four of the past five MotoGP crowns – scored no points today but still goes to his home race outside Barcelona in two weeks with a 23-point lead over Italian Valentino Rossi, who finished third today behind winner Jorge Lorenzo and team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.
A noisy, appreciative crowd of 90,000 fans was treated to a thrilling battle for the last place on the podium, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) chasing Rossi, Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins. Crutchlow finally crossed the line in sixth place, less than three seconds behind third-place Rossi. The Briton also enjoyed the accolade of taking the prize for the top independent-team finisher.
Reigning Moto2 World Champion and MotoGP rookie Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) did superbly in practice, ending the first three sessions eighth fastest, in his first visit to Mugello on the MotoGP bike. He then qualifying on the fourth row of the grid. However, the race was more complicated for the 23-year from Rome, who took the last World Championship point in 15th position, his fifth points-scoring result in six races.
Today didn’t go so well for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) who went down at the second corner of the first lap. Nakagami’s fellow rookie Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) didn’t last much longer. The Swiss Moto2 runner-up fell on the following lap
The next MotoGP round takes place at Catalunya, just outside Barcelona, Spain, on June 17.