Bagnaia masters Mugello to extend MotoGP lead

Italian rider elated to complete 'one of best weekends of my life' after win at Ducati’s home track

AFP June 12, 2023


Francesco Bagnaia won the Italian MotoGP to extend his lead in the world championship and complete "one of the best weekends of my life" at his Ducati team's home track in Tuscany.

Sunday's race win followed the world champion's sprint success 24 hours earlier after nailing pole for both events with a record lap time in qualifying.

His third win of 2023 after Portugal and Spain put further distance between him and Marco Bezzecchi, his closest rival in the standings who had to settle for eighth.

Jorge Martin took second with Johann Zarco completing the all-Ducati podium for the sixth round of the season at Mugello.

Bagnaia delighted his home fans by celebrating at a hastily erected picnic table, covered with a Ducati red tablecloth, in front of the stands.

"I wasn't expecting a race like this," he beamed.

"Job done, now we move on to Germany next week but let's enjoy this moment, this is one of the best weekends of my life."

Jack Miller got the run on Bagnaia off the grid but the world champion was back in front by turn two, the Italian who won on the track last year showing he meant business after crashing in the French MotoGP at Le Mans last month.

Martin emerged from the chasing pack to track Bagnaia, half a second splitting the pair.

Bezzecchi was struggling for pace on the Ducati of Valentino Rossi's VR46 team.

With 18 laps to go Marc Marquez crashed out.

The six-time world champion waved his arms in frustration at his fallen Honda as his wait for his first points in a race this term continued.

With Bagnaia setting sail for home, Miguel Oliveira joined Marquez in crashing out, Alex Marquez following suit with nine laps left.

Up front Bagnaia stretched his advantage over Martin to well over one second to take the chequered flag at his Ducati team's local track in the picture-postcard Tuscan hills.

This was his third race win of the season to add to his three-sprint success and it lifted him up to 131 points, 21 clear of Bezzecchi.

Spaniard Alex Rins was absent after breaking his right leg in a fall during Saturday's sprint race.

The 27-year-old LCR Honda rider fell on the fourth lap and was airlifted to Careggi Hospital in Florence where he was diagnosed with fractures to his right tibia and fibula.

Rins won the Grand Prix of the Americas earlier this season and slips to 11th in the riders' standings.

The MotoGP circus moves on to Germany next weekend and then Assen the following week before taking a summer break.


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