Italian rider, Italian bike, Italian GP…and the tricolore flew high over the podium at Mugello, as Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso took a magnificent win battling rivals on track and illness off it to cross the line over a second clear of Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales and an impressive home podium for second Italian Danilo Petrucci on the Pramac Ducati.
Home hero Valentino Rossi shot off the line for the lead from P2 on the grid, denying teammate and polesitter Viñales as Ducati’s Jorge Lorenzo stormed up from seventh to fight off Dovizioso for third.
With the leaders in-line, Lorenzo used the incredible speed of the Ducati to take the lead for the first time in red, dueling with old nemesis Rossi before the Italian took him back.
Dovizioso pounced next, passing Lorenzo after Viñales had gone through on Rossi, the Championship leader taking the ‘Doctor’ as the trio began to break away from Lorenzo – with Petrucci on the chase.
Petrucci caught the group before too long as Dovizioso took over at the front, and the Pramac rider then pounced on Viñales after a small mistake to follow the factory Ducati.
The gap grew and then shrunk, before the factory Ducati in the lead gained a small gap, then Viñales took over in second. Closing in and then falling back, the pendulum swung between the two men until the last lap – with Dovizioso riding inch-perfect around every corner to take his third ever Grand Prix victory, and the first for a red machine at Mugello since Casey Stoner won in 2009.
Viñales took second to increase his Championship lead once again, with Petrucci putting in the dry-weather ride of his life to complete the podium after staying clear of Rossi over the last couple of laps. The ‘Doctor’, who suffered a motocross crash in training the week before the event, pushed hard through the pain barrier at home and just missed the podium but took good points.
Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati took a big scalp as he caught and passed reigning champion Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda to complete the top five, with Johann Zarco guiding his Tech 3 Yamaha to seventh behind Marquez.
Lorenzo, after his early duel for the lead, suffered grip issues later in the race and crossed the line in eighth, beating Ducati test rider Michele Pirro over the line. Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone completed the top ten.
Late drama further down the field saw Dani Pedrosa slide out, with his Repsol Honda unfortunately collecting LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow on the final lap.