Marc Marquez overcame his toughest test yet to maintain his unbeaten streak in the 2014 MotoGP season at Mugello. The world champion fought out a race-long battle with a rejuvenated Jorge Lorenzo before prevailing on the very last lap after 41 minutes of high quality racing.
Lorenzo aimed to put his tried and tested 2013 plan into practice on the opening lap by wrestling the lead away from Marquez and opening up a gap while the Repsol Honda was busy been slipstreamed by the Ducati of Andrea Iannone. Marc finally shook off the Italian with a pass into San Donato on the third lap and was soon able to focus his attention on the no.99 Yamaha ahead. Valentino Rossi overcame Iannone a lap later and kept a watching brief for lap after lap but as the relentless pace from the front two continued, the home favourite became an increasingly detached third.
The pessimists among the Movistar Yamaha team would have feared the worst when Marquez breezed past Lorenzo at the start of lap seventeen with such ease that it appeared he had been biding his time. However, Jorge had other ideas and powered past into Materassi next time around, putting the race back in the melting pot.
Marc tried again with manoeuvres into San Donato on consecutive laps but the stubborn Lorenzo struck back again. It would all come down to the 23rd and final lap with Marquez’s fourth move of the afternoon at San Donato proving the decisive one with Lorenzo simply unable to respond around the final lap, leaving him powerless to beat the Honda in a drag race to the finish line.
Rossi kept up his impressive form with third, claiming his first Mugello podium since 2008, sparking jubilant scenes among his supporters who surrounded the rostrum. Dani Pedrosa recovered from a disastrous opening lap to finish fourth although that didn’t make up for a disappointing weekend. By contrast, Pol Espargaro had another excellent afternoon to take fifth ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and the impressive Iannone.
Alvaro Bautista was eighth for Gresini with his teammate Scott Redding breaking into the points again in thirteenth but the other British riders finished empty handed. Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith didn’t finish at all with the Tech 3 youngster sliding out on lap three and Crutchlow doing likewise a lap later, taking Stefan Bradl with him. Although Michael Laverty did see the chequered flag, he did so in sixteenth position.