Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbideli scores first MotoGP win in San Marino GP at Misano from Pramac’s Francesco Bagnaia and Suzuki’s Joan Mir.
Pole-sitter Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales dropped to third at the start of MotoGP San Marino GP at Misano with teammate Valetino Rossi in second as Petronas SRT’s Franco Morbidelli lead the way, with his teammate Fabio Quartararo in fourth.
It wasn’t for long as Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller cleared not only Quartararo and Vinales to be third as Rossi tried to get through Morbidelli for the lead. Suzuki’s Alex Rins stationed at sixth with teammate Joan Mir passing Pramac Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia for seventh.
Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was only ninth with Avintia Ducati’s Johann Zarco in 10th from lead Honda of LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami. The Top 15 then had KTM’s Pol Espargaro, Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci and Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira.
The Portuguese’s teammate Iker Lecuona was handed a Long Gap Penalty for Grid Procedure Infringement as Aprilia’s Bradley Smith crashed out at Turn 14. As Morbideli led from Rossi and Miller, it was hard for Vinales and disaster for Quartararo.
The Frenchman just passed Vinales for fourth but crashed out at Turn 4 as the Spaniard then lost out to Rins with Mir and Bagnaia hot on his heels. A moment from the Suzuki rider behind the Yamaha allowed the Pramac rider to sneak past him.
Bagnaia made a quick work of Vinales to be fifth as he and Rins were catching the Top 3 far quickly. Quartararo, meanwhile, re-joined the San Marino GP in 20th to salvage something in the MotoGP title fight if there was to happen something in the grand prix.
As Morbideli led Rossi, Rins got through Miller for third as teammate Bagnaia also got through to fourth, with Mir passing Vinales for sixth. The Australian another place as he dropped behind the other Suzuki rider for sixth.
It soon became a fight for second soon as while Rins chased Rossi, Bagnaia made the most to get through the Suzuki rider and also pass his MotoGP mentor for third. At the same time, Quartararo pitted from the back but returned to the track soon.
However, his day was done after a crash for the second time in Turn 6 on cold tyres. In the lower half of the Top 15, Oliveira was the man on the charge as the Portuguese was up to 11th just behind another position gainer KTM’s Brad Binder.
The MotoGP riders to lose in this were both the Espargaro brothers and Petrucci as well. At the same time Avintia Ducati’s Tito Rabat crashed out to join Quartararo in the retirement list. It was getting tasty towards the end of the grand prix in a close fight.
The pace dropped for Morbideli but it was enough for the Italian to secure his first-ever MotoGP win in San Marino GP as he led Bagnaia, who had his first podium to make it a VR46 1-2. It was almost a 1-2-3 for them with Rossi in third but it wasn’t to be.
The Italian lost to Mir in the final few corners to secure his second podium finish after he passed Rins just a lap before. Rossi stood fourth with his teammate Vinales sixth from new MotoGP points leader Dovizioso with Nakagami eighth from Miller and P Espargaro.
Post-race, however, Nakagami was handed a 1-place drop penalty for track limits as he dropped to ninth, helping Miller to be eighth. Behind Espargaro was Oliveira, Binder, A Espargaro, Lecuona and Zarco in the points position.
It was a fightback from Lecuona after serving the Long Gap Penalty as Petrucci stationed in 16th from Honda’s Alex Marquez & Stefan Bradl, with Smith returning to the track to end up 19th. DNF: Rabat, Quartararo.