Valentino Rossi sent the 54,000-strong crowd into raptures by claiming his first victory of the season at Misano. The home favourite had the measure of Marc Marquez before the world champion crashed out and went on to defeat his teammate Jorge Lorenzo with ease, triggering scenes of euphoria in the grandstands.
The hard work was done in the opening ten laps with Rossi embroiled in a fierce scrap with Lorenzo and Marquez. Jorge got the holeshot after a superb start from pole position but Marquez was taken plenty of risks in his efforts to keep on terms with the Yamahas, first diving up the inside of Rossi into Tramanto before pushing the Italian wide with his next attempt at Rio on lap three.
Rossi seemed a step ahead of the world champion though and after regaining second at the Quercia bend, turned his attentions to the Spaniard up ahead of him. Lorenzo had opted for the harder option front tyre which he had hoped to pay dividends in the hotter conditions but four laps in, Rossi had a stronger package underneath him and stormed past into Quercia before outdragging his teammate out of Tramanto. Lorenzo’s afternoon got even worse moments later when Marquez demoted him to third at turn fourteen.
Chasing a twelfth win in thirteen starts, the next challenge for Marquez was to overhaul the other Movistar Yamaha which, like him, was running the medium compound front tyre and it seemed that the world champion was riding on the ragged edge just to stay with the no.46. That theory was proven on lap ten when the Spaniard extraordinarily lost the front end of his Honda at Rio, falling to the back of the field and leaving the Yamahas to dispute the victory amongst themselves.
In the end, it didn’t prove to be much of a battle between the two with Rossi comfortably keeping Lorenzo at bay, never letting the no.99 within two seconds of him, and after 28 agonisingly long laps from their point of view, the home crowd were finally able to celebrate a first Rossi win on Italian soil since 2009. Lorenzo followed him home in second with Dani Pedrosa salvaging a podium for Repsol Honda on the day their 2014 unbeaten record came to an end.
Andrea Dovizioso gave further confirmation of Ducati’s progress by taking fourth with Andrea Iannone a fine fifth on the Pramac GP14. The two Tech 3 Yamahas finished line astern in sixth and seventh with Pol Espargaro seeing off the challenge of Bradley Smith while Alvaro Bautista, Cal Crutchlow and Yonny Hernandez rounded out the top ten. Having remounted, Marc Marquez did at least have a point to show for his efforts thanks to a last lap fall from Aleix Espargaro.