Bagnaia boosts title hopes with Mugello MotoGP double

Even the Abu Dhabi Auto Racing League

MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia completed a Mugello double by dominating the relatively short 23-lap Italian Grand Prix.

Bagnaia went 1-2 for the Ducati bike factory – which wore a special blue livery in honor of the Italian national team rather than its usual red colors – as championship leader Jorge Martin let second place slip away at the final corner.

A grid penalty for impeding Alex Marquez on Friday relegated Bagnaia from the front row, but it made no difference to his race. He was third when he exited San Donato after the start, overtook teammate Ena Bastianini on the exit of the corner and then raced onto the inside of leader Martin.

There has been no beating Bagnaia since, although his lead has not grown particularly large – and, in fact, he allowed a brief moment of late tension as Martin went close again.

Staying within Bagnaia's range, Martin finished just a tenth of a second behind Bagnaia when the champion ran a sloppy 21st of 23 laps, but Bagnaia responded immediately to assert his dominance.

Martin looked to have accepted defeat there – but perhaps wasn't expecting to have another fight on his hands before the checkered flag was raised.

It was a leading quartet for most of the race, with Bastianini and Marc Marquez lurking behind the leading duo but unable to make much of an impression.

Marquez, whose 2023-spec Gresini Ducati was emitting some smoke from the rear as he dealt with the oncoming car height device on the main straight, finally got past Bastianini with a rather audacious dash into the first turn.

But his pace immediately evaporated from there, and Bastianini brought him back to Scarperia on the penultimate lap.

Remarkably, he still had enough time to chase Martin as well, and Martin running wide at the final corner, Buquin, opened the door for Bastianini to steal second place, finishing off the top three within a second.

Marquez settled for fourth place, another second behind. Martin is 35 points behind Mugello, while Bagnaia is now 18 points behind Martin.

Pedro Acosta tried to keep up with the Ducati quartet in the early stages, but he simply didn't have the pace. It made it one race to fifth, as the top KTM RC16 rider on his gas-badged Tech3-powered machine.

Franco Morbidelli finished sixth for his Pramac Ducati, completing his best weekend ever since joining the team, while Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati) almost robbed him of the position after a late hit.

On a beautiful big day for Aprilia, Maverick Viñales was the only rider in the field to roll the dice on a medium-sized rear tire – rather than a soft rear tire – and spent most of the race behind Morbidelli.

Then his pace dropped and Di Giannantonio overtook him before finishing eighth.

Alex Marquez finished seventh on his Ducati in the top nine, with only Marco Pizzicchi, the eighth Ducati rider, trailing in 13th.

Brad Binder (KTM) defeated Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) to salvage a top-10 finish from a clearly mediocre weekend, albeit still better than teammate Jack Miller – who finished 16th, beating KTM wildcard Pol Espargaro on the final lap.

Yamaha's promise at the start of the weekend was nothing more than a single point, scored by Alex Rins in 15th.

But it was still much more than Honda dared to dream of, as factory rider Joan Mir and LCR rider Takaaki Nakagami both crashed and Johann Zarco (LCR) finished 19th, more than half a minute behind Bagnaia.

The only other retirement besides the two Hondas was Augusto Fernandez, who had to park his gas-badged KTM in the pits due to an apparent issue.


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