Esteve Rabat returned to winning ways after narrowly getting the better of Luis Salom in a tense Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The Spaniard brought an end to the winning run of his teammate Mika Kallio and with the Finn only finishing sixth, Rabat has increased his championship lead to 22 points.
Much of the British focus centred on Sam Lowes heading into the race with the Briton having qualified a sensational second but a frantic first lap saw him shuffled back to eighth. Rabat didn’t make the best of the starts either, losing the lead to Jonas Folger, and a forceful move by Salom at Savelli cost him further ground, Dominique Aegerter relegating him to fourth.
The leading duo capitalised on Esteve’s delay to build a two second lead over the championship leader but Rabat wasn’t mired behind Aegerter for long and regained third on lap three. Despite his difficult start, Esteve didn’t panic and set about a relentless pace which eventually hauled the front two in by half distance.
Folger’s grip on the lead was now looking decidedly loose but it wasn’t Rabat but Salom who finally broke it, outbraking both of his competitors into San Donato on lap fourteen. The fight victory was now a straight head-to-head between the two Spaniards and Esteve swung the battle his way for the first time on lap fifteen. Salom responded into San Donato moments later but the same corner would effectively see his victory hopes ended when Rabat made the decisive move four laps from home.
Folger maintained third on another sensational day for the class rookies while Simone Corsi stormed through from 22nd on the grid to snatch fourth from Dominique Aegerter and Mika Kallio. Johann Zarco handed Caterham a welcome boost with seventh while Sam Lowes held off a fast-closing Maverick Vinales to finish eighth on his Speed Up.