PH2: MotoGP - The Italian Job, part two
A home race proves to be just what The Doctor ordered
When the lights finally did go out, Pedrosa charged through a clump of riders at the back of the grid, but the big news was the man in second spot – Valentino Rossi! Remember him? Up ahead and already pulling out a big lead, Jorge Lorenzo must have been struggling to contain a smile as his future teammate Rossi held up the field, and then mentally checking his lottery numbers when he crossed the stripe for the first time to see his pit board reading PEDROSA OUT. The Honda man's back wheel had been taken away by a slow-reacting Barbera, denting but not destroying his championship challenge.
Lorenzo taking the win was virtually a certainty when it all went west for Pedrosa, but Rossi second and Bautista third (just!) was a fairytale ending for the Italian crowds. And Jonathan Rea getting eighth was pretty special. "I've learnt so much in that race that you just can't get in testing," said the Norn Irelander. "I've got to be pretty happy. I'm nowhere near the bike's limits, but I don't want to upset my confidence too early. These guys are so fast."
PH2 has a bit of a soft spot for loony Iannone and after building a lead he was caught by Pol Espargaro and Marquez in the last few laps. Time to prove why he has his nickname? No such reaction from Andrea, Marquez took the win and Pol came second after a cracking last lap and big foot wave in the last corner. Redding got seventh and Smith eighth.
The Moto3 race saw a return to form for Romano Fenati, but the real race was between main title contenders Maverick Vinales and Sandro Cortese. A poor start saw Vinales with work to do while Cortese was in the leading group and looking good – certainly better than poor Danny Webb. whose race didn’t even last one corner. Sure enough, as Cortese and Vinales slugged it out at the front, Vinales was busy working his way through the field and by mid-race was sixth and closing in. The man with the best first name in racing got his elbows out on the last few laps, but a bit of a wild move by the Spaniard allowed Cortese to escape, putting Vinales fifth, Salom second and Fenati third. Kent got twelfth. Advantage Cortese…