Lorenzo takes win on Rossi’s home turf

THE MOTORSPORT LAP/ A rivet­ing Ital­ian Moto GP race took place at the Mugello race cir­cuit on the week­end

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mo­tor News Re­porter

The Ital­ian leg of the Moto GP Cham­pi­onship un­folded at the Mugello race cir­cuit this past week­end, which once again proved to be a rivet­ing race for com­peti­tors and spec­ta­tors alike.

With ex­cel­lent weather on race day, it was a tight jos­tle for po­si­tion in the top-tier Moto GP class, which saw Jorge Lorenzo (Du­cati) de­liver a su­perb ride to fin­ish on the top podium spot ahead of team­mate Andrea Dovizioso (Du­cati) and the leg­endary Valentino Rossi (Mo­vis­tar Yamaha), who proved that he still has some mojo in him in front of his home crowd.

The Moto 2 class saw Miguel Oliviera (Red Bull KTM) romp­ing to first place, chased by Lorenzo Bal­das­sari (Pons HP40 Kalex) and Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex). South African rider and for­mer Moto3 cham­pion Brad Bin­der (Red Bull KTM) came sixth over­all as he con­tin­ues to find pace in this class.

Mean­while, in the Moto 3 cat­e­gory Del Conca Gresini Honda rider Jorge Martin proved the man to beat as he raced his steed to claim vic­tory. He was chased down by Marco Bezzec­chi (Re­dox Prues­tel GP KTM) in sec­ond and Fabio Di Gian­nan­toni (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda) in third. The next race will take place in Barcelona, Spain on June 17.

As prepa­ra­tions for the WEC (World En­durance Cham­pi­onship) Le Mans 24 Hours race in France draw closer, many teams took part in the of­fi­cial test day re­cently. Fol­low­ing its one-two vic­tory in the FIA World En­durance Cham­pi­onship (WEC) sea­son opener at Spa-Fran­cor­champs, Toy­ota Ga­zoo Rac­ing again set the pace at the Cir­cuit de la Sarthe in France this past week­end.

Fer­nando Alonso, who shares a car with Se­bastien Buemi and Kazuki Naka­jima, set the fastest lap of the day for LMP1 cars, 0.614 sec­onds quicker than the sec­ond-fastest Re­bel­lion team’s car, while the other Toy­ota team of Mike Con­way, Ka­mui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez ended in third.

In to­tal the two Toy­ota TS050 hy­brid cars com­pleted 202 laps — 2,752km — on a day of trou­ble-free run­ning de­spite three red flags and mul­ti­ple safety car pe­ri­ods.

“It was a good day for us,” said Alonso. “We ob­vi­ously pre­pared this test in the best way pos­si­ble be­fore the big race in two weeks’ time. The car felt good from the first lap and ev­ery­one was happy straight away. Then it was about get­ting fa­mil­iar with the cir­cuit; I have been in the sim­u­la­tor and stud­ied on­board laps from pre­vi­ous years but it’s al­ways dif­fer­ent on the real track which feels per­fect for th­ese cars. It was a lot of fun.”

Other big names in For­mula One that were present at prac­tise days were for­mer driv­ers Jen­son But­ton and Juan-Pablo Mon­toya, who will both be com­pet­ing in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race. Another high­light will be BMW’s re­turn to the dis­ci­pline with its M8 in the LM GTE Pro class.

As the excitement to­wards the event on June 16 mounts, it looks like this year’s race will once again be one to watch.

Fer­nando Alonso topped the test day time sheets at Le Mans in the Toy­ota.

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