Dovizioso closes in on Rossi af­ter Mugello win

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

ROME: An­drea Dovizioso over­came pre-race sick­ness to win his home Ital­ian Grand Prix for Du­cati yes­ter­day while Spa­niard Mav­er­ick Vi­nales fin­ished sec­ond on a Yamaha to in­crease his Mo­toGP lead to 26 points.

Dovizioso be­came the fourth dif­fer­ent win­ner in six races and moved up to sec­ond place over­all, ahead of 38-year-old com­pa­triot Valentino Rossi who fin­ished fourth for Yamaha.

Ital­ian Danilo Petrucci came third, af­ter start­ing ninth, on a non-works Du­cati to make it two Ital­ians on the podium at the Mugello cir­cuit in the rolling coun­try­side north of Florence.

“A lot of emo­tion dur­ing the race and be­fore the race my en­ergy wasn’t so good,” said Dovizioso, who had plenty of fans in a crowd mainly cheer­ing for Rossi. “I re­ally wanted this vic­tory and it’s a dream come true for ev­ery Ital­ian rider.”

The vic­tory was his ca­reer third and the first in the top cat­e­gory by an Ital­ian rider on an Ital­ian bike on home soil since Gian­franco Bon­era won the 500cc class on an MV Agusta at Imola in 1974.

It was also Du­cati’s first at Mugello since Aus­tralian Casey Stoner in 2009.

Vi­nales now has 105 points to Dovizioso’s 79, with Rossi – who spent a night in hospi­tal last week af­ter a mo­tocross bike crash – on 75.

“I didn’t want to risk so much be­cause I saw Valentino and Marc were quite far away, so I de­cided to stay at least in the sec­ond po­si­tion,” said Vi­nales, whose arm was still painful af­ter a crash on Fri­day.

“Dovi was so strong to­day. So dif­fi­cult to catch and all the time he was re­ally push­ing me a lot.”

Honda’s reign­ing cham­pion Marc Mar­quez fin­ished sixth and is fourth over­all with 68 points but team mate Dani Pe­drosa slipped down the or­der af­ter tan­gling with Bri­tain’s Cal Crutchlow and crash­ing out.

Dovizioso was suf­fer­ing from a stom­ach bug be­fore the race and dropped back at the start while Rossi led be­fore Du­cati’s Jorge Lorenzo took over briefly and then Vi­nales hit the front.

With the top four run­ning close to­gether, Vi­nales seemed headed for a fourth win of the sea­son un­til Dovizioso passed on lap 14 and pulled away.

A 69-sec­ond si­lence was held be­fore the race for 2006 Mo­toGP cham­pion Nicky Hay­den, the Amer­i­can who raced with the num­ber 69 and died last month af­ter be­ing hit by a car while cy­cling in east­ern Italy.

From a South African per­spec­tive, Brad Bin­der fin­ished 10th in the Moto2 cat­e­gory, close to 17 sec­onds behind win­ner Mat­tia Pasini of Italy.

Bin­der’s younger brother, Darryn, mean­while, missed out on a podium po­si­tion by two hun­dredth of a sec­ond in the Moto3 race, fin­ish fourth in the process. – Reuters

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