Jorge Lorenzo snatched a dramatic victory in the Italian Grand Prix after overtaking Marc Marquez within metres of the finish line at Mugello. The defending champion looked set for a comfortable victory when teammate Valentino Rossi retired with a blown engine but an inspired Marquez took the race all the way to the wire.
After a slight delay due to a red flag in the earlier Moto2 race, the action got underway with Lorenzo outdragging Rossi on the approach to San Donato. The polesitter had numerous looks up the inside of his teammate and often drew alongside down the start/finish straight but the home favourite appeared to be biding his time in second place.
Any plan Rossi may have had disappeared out of the window on lap nine though when his Yamaha YZR-M1 slowed with an apparent loss of power. The cause of the issue became painfully clear to the capacity crowd seconds later when the no.46 machine began billowing smoke, bringing silence to Mugello.
Lorenzo, whose Yamaha had suffered a spectacular engine failure of its own in the morning warm-up, continued without problems with Marquez three quarters of a second adrift but the Honda rider gradually closed the gap despite the flowing Mugello layout seeming to suit the Lorenzo-Yamaha combination perfectly. On the penultimate lap, Marc signalled his intentions with an unsuccessful dive up the inside of San Donato but he still had plenty up his sleeve yet.
Lorenzo had seemingly seen off the biggest threat when Marquez failed to slipstream past on the run to San Donato but a tremendous move into Materassi swung the race his way with half a lap to go. Jorge soon demonstrated his bravery with a lunge up the inside through the Biondetti corners but Marquez edged ahead again into Bucine, the final bend. With that, the job was surely done but the Honda’s lack of acceleration, an Achilles heel all season, proved to be the difference maker as Jorge outdragged his compatriot to snatch victory by 0.019 seconds.
After a terrible start from the front row, Andrea Iannone recovered to third ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso while Maverick Vinales, another rider to botch the start, climbed back up to sixth ahead of Bradley Smith who finished as the top independent rider for the first time this year. Danilo Petrucci finished close behind in eighth while Aleix Espargaro and Michele Pirro rounded out the top ten.
2016 Gran Premio d’Italia TIM (Race Result)
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