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The Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley saw Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s #polespargaro register another positive 11th position finish for the sixth round of 2018 #motogp as #migueloliveira celebrated a fantastic Moto2 victory around the hot and fast Italian layout plus Italian championship leader Marco Bezzecchi second in Moto3.
Track temperatures reached almost fifty degrees at the Autodromo de #mugello that was bursting to the fence seams with fans and #motogp ‘tifosi’ keen for the latest episode of the FIM World Championship. #polespargaro and #bradleysmith launched from the fifth and sixth rows of the grid with their KTM RC16s and settled into a tussle for the final slot of the top ten. Smith, using a softer tyre choice, set the early running but could not dislodge Espargaro who assumed control in the second half of the 23 lap chase.
The Spaniard crossed the finish line to classify 11th for the third Grand Prix in a row and for the fourth time this season. His time distance from winner Jorge Lorenzo was slashed by more than half compared to the debut at the same venue twelve months ago. Smith took part in a frantic chase to the line and lost 12th place by six-hundredths of a second; the Brit was 14th.
Espargaro: “Overall I think we struggled a bit this weekend and we were a second away from the rhythm of the top group. We had a better race than some others and 11th position is not bad at all and has become ‘our’ position in the last races; I don’t think we did a bad job today but we need to ask for more and we’ll see how we can improve. Hopefully Barcelona will be a bit easier and more fun for us because it looks like we were cruising here and we didn't get the chance to fight with the others. I was adjusting my throttle in the first laps and changing the maps to avoid spinning. In Barcelona I think we can get something else, and it will be interesting with the new asphalt that might have more grip. It will be similar to here with the sun and the heat so it will be physical.”
Smith: “I loved that race; 22/23 laps in the mix. I pretty much turned myself inside-out to stay in that group for tenth in the first part of the race but then told myself to be smart and to learn something as we went along. It was nice when we were just two KTMs but then Aleix (Espargaro) joined us and upset the rhythm a little bit and he was super-strong in some areas and weak in others. The front tyre pressure went up more than expected and that affected us in areas. (Tito) Rabat dive-bombed me with two laps to go and put me super-wide and (Hafizh) Syahrin was able to get by. I was trying to attack on the last lap and we all came across the line in the same tenth of a second. It was frustrating not to be twelfth – that should have been the minimum today – but to be there fighting with all those guys is more than I expected going into the race. It meant we extracted the best from the bike and gave everything we could.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “The weekend started in a difficult way for us, especially because the other teams had tested here when we preferred to use Jerez. We had a lot of pressure in the first sessions to find a setting that allowed a good race pace for the guys. Last year we were fifty seconds away from the winner and this time it was down to twenty and just fourteen to the podium. You don't get 11th as a present; you have to fight for that. Bradley was also in the points. We are happy and we know we need to keep pushing to close this gap more and more.”
A fantastic Moto2 race between four riders was decided through the final corners of the last lap and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s #migueloliveira emerged triumphant for his first victory of 2018. The Portuguese made two clever overtaking moves, the second negotiating Arrabbiata 1, to reach the flag first (after starting from 11th on the grid) and as leader of a group separated by just half a second. #44 remains second in the championship standings and just 12 points behind Francesco Bagnaia. Brad Binder pushed hard to reach 6th place with his KTM Moto2 bike.
Oliveira: "Starting from so far back on the grid, I knew I had to make a good start. I pushed my hardest on the first lap and, shortly after, I was already up into third. Pasini was very strong and very fast, but I saw that I had a chance to win the race and, simply, I decided to go for it. Baldassarri also had a great pace, and I fought with him until the last lap. It was a very fun and spectacular battle. I am very happy to have taken this victory that we had been chasing since the beginning of the season. I have to thank the team because they worked really hard, and from FP3 to qualifying we had to change the bike almost completely; in the end, it worked out very well."
Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto2): "It’s been incredible. This victory means a lot to us after a difficult weekend and, in general, after a period of two-three races with difficulties. We have never given up, we have never lost hope, and we knew that better times would come around. This is a very important victory and we are very happy about it. Not only has it been an important race because of Miguel (Oliveira) winning; this has been a key day, in terms of results, for the whole team. Brad (Binder) also had a very good race, coming from far back and finishing sixth."
Redux PruestelGPs’ Marco Bezzecchi collected his fourth podium trophy of the year on the KTM RC250 GP after a three-way dispute for Moto3 honours at #mugello. The Italian ducked out of the slipstream to pass Fabio Di Giannantonio and just missed out on a home Grand Prix win by 0.019 of a second to Jorge Martin.
MotoGP will pause for a week before drifting across to northern Spain and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the Gran Premi de Catalunya and round seven of nineteen.
Next Race: June 17, 2018 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Results #motogp Autodromo del #mugello 2018
1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, 41:43.230 min (23 laps)
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +6.370 sec
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +6.629
4. Andrea Iannone (ITA), Suzuki, +7.885
5. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki, +7.907
11. #polespargaro (ESP), KTM, +20.256
14. #bradleysmith (GBR), KTM, +22.495
Standings #motogp 2018 after 6 of 19 rounds
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 95 points
2. Rossi, 72
3. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, 67
4. Dovizioso, 66
5. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, 64
14. Espargaro, 23
20. Smith, 7
22. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, 6
Results Moto2 Autodromo del #mugello 2018
1. #migueloliveira (POR), KTM, 39:42.018 min (21 laps)
2. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, +0.184 sec
3. Joan Mir (ESP), Kalex, +0.334
4. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +0.484
5. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +3.537
6. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +5.985
Standings Moto2 2018 after 6 of 19 rounds
1. Bagnaia, 111 points
2. Oliveira, 98
3. Baldassarri, 84
4. Marquez, 78
5. Mir, 64
8. Binder, 47
10. Icer Lecuona (ESP), KTM, 26
Results Moto3 Autodromo del #mugello 2018
1. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 39:20.810 min (20 laps)
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, +0.019 sec
3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, +0.024
4. Gabriel Rodrigo (ESP), KTM, +10.948
5. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, +11.083
13. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +14.733
Standings Moto3 2018 after 6 of 19 rounds
1. Bezzecchi, 83 points
2. Martin, 80
3. Di Giannantonio, 75
4. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 61
5. Migno, 56
8. Rodrigo, 41
9. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, 38
10. Philipp Öttl (GER), KTM, 36
21. Binder, 11
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