Mugello. Arguably the most iconic and coveted podium on the MotoGP calendar. Formula 1 has the Monaco Grand Prix, MotoGP has Mugello. Personally, my favourite racetrack in the world, along with Monza and Spa-Francorchamps. The last three races here have been won by Italian giants Ducati. They’ve held a bit of a stranglehold on their home GP having won in 2019, 2018 and 2017. And going into the weekend, you would’ve thought they had a very good shot at making that 4 in a row. They have showed blistering pace, they even broke the all-time MotoGP top speed record by getting past the 360 km/hr mark (shoutout to KTM and Brad Binder who managed to match that record. That was perhaps also a sign of things to come on race day are how KTM would get on). Add to this the fact they came into this race with two wins on the bounce (both going to Australian rider Jack Miller), they would have expected a good haul of points. But the best they could manage at Mugello was 4th place with Johann Zarco. Although, by the end he was over half a second off a podium place. Thriller Miller finished the race in 6th place and Michele Pirro for Pramac crossed the line at 13th place. Pecco Bagnaia in the lead Ducati crashed out on lap 22 and a potential top step at the most iconic podium on the calendar came to nothing. Just not a good weekend for Ducati and it’s on to the next.
Yamaha and Quartararo finally took advantage of their good qualifying performances by grabbing victory. Quartararo is now building a gap in his lead for the championship. Once he took the lead, he reminded me of a former Yamaha legend who was immaculate when in the lead. Quartararo was brilliant in the lead and is showing true championship mettle and skill. Maverick Vinales (8TH position) does really need to sort himself out. If the Yamahas want to be dominant for the next few years, they need 2 riders who can push for victories and poles on a consistent basis.
In terms of team balance and motorbike balance, I think Suzuki are right up there. Two top riders who are close to each other in skill and track position. A team who competes as a duo. Just like Ducati and their riders. And from a team perspective, that helps so much. But the past four races haven’t really gone to plan. World Champion Joan Mir (3rd position) has been riding well. But teammate Alex Rins has crashed out in the last 4 races. Him and his team need to make some adjustments.
One team that will be extremely happy with their weekend will be KTM. Miguel Oliveira with second place, Brad Binder in 5th and Petrucci and Lecuona both finishing in the points with 9th and 11th place finishes respectively. The KTM certainly know that they’ve got the raw pace to match the Ducatis. They have to keep working on their bike to get the right balance. But promising signs for sure! Promising signs also for Aprilia! Aleix Espargaro with a very good 7th place finish and Lorenzo Savadori grabbing the last point on offer with a 15th place finish! And I think everyone expects this season to be one of learnings and developments for Honda. There is a clear separation and “mini leagues” forming. The Yamahas, Ducatis and Suzukis battling it out for the title. KTM and Honda have enough to have a say in the championship battle in certain moments. And Aprilia are finally seeing meaningful progress! Mugello is an iconic track. The most iconic in MotoGP. And this season it’s not only proven to be potentially season defining for Quartararo and Yamaha in terms of pulling away in the lead. But, also as a venue where teams have learned a lot about themselves and are more or less all in a position where they believe they can really push on for this season and the next.