After posting a 1-2-3-4 result during qualifying on Saturday, Yamaha was triumphant again today as Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) produced perfect laps on home soil to bag his first MotoGP victory. Morbidelli took the chequered flag at Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini 2.217 seconds ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), followed by Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) who got the better of home hero Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) on the very last lap. Former championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) crashed out at the Misano World Circuit.
Starting from the middle of the front row, Morbidelli put paced both Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Quartararo off the line and lead the pack into Turn 1. Fourth place Rossi got a great superb start placing himself into second place ahead of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing). Viñales dropped to P4, followed by Quartararo at P5 as Morbidelli and Rossi sent the Italian fans into raptures on the opening lap.
Rossi got a good run down into Turn 8 on Lap 1 but Morbidelli was late on the brakes and closed the door. Number 21 and 46 created a bit of a gap to third place Miller, with Viñales holding off Quartararo and the two Team Suzuki Ecstar machines of Alex Rins and Joan Mir.
Quartararo’s progress was then halted moments later. El Diablo was in a little hot into Turn 4, and it proved costly. The Championship leader tucked the front and crashed out of fourth place in another 2020 MotoGP title twist. Quartararo remounted but was down in P20, over 15 seconds down on Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team).
Into the last five laps, the riders went, with Rossi holding strong in third place as himself as he continued to ride an impressive defensive display – especially at Turn 2 where Rins looked superb. With three to go, Morbidelli was 3.2 clear but Rossi was 0.4 faster than Bagnaia – what looked like a guaranteed second for the former Moto2 World Champion now became a proper dog fight for second and third.
Viñales eventually found his rhythm at the end of the race on the hard Michelin rear tyre, but it was far too late as he had to settle for a disappointing P6. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was handed a one-place penalty for exceeding track limits on the final lap. P8 for Miller, P9 and the leading Honda accolade for Nakagami, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) winning the KTM battle for P10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) rounding out the points.
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