Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo took the lead in the MotoGP world championship standings with his second win of the year in France earlier this month. He has now taken control of the championship after a nail-biting victory at the Italian Grand Prix.
Although the world champion’s Yamaha team mate Valentino Rossi started from pole his race didn’t last long – much to the disappointment of his army of home fans – as he was forced to retire with engine failure on lap eight.
For some spectators that was the end of the race; after last year’s clashes with the Italian, the last thing they wanted to see was two Spanish riders racing for top spot. Those who remained witnessed a scintillating duel between Lorenzo and his fellow Spaniard Marc Marquez.
Honda’s Marquez appeared to have won a wheel-to-wheel contest between the pair but Lorenzo swept past him in the final metres with a last-corner surge to extend his championship lead over Marquez to ten points.
Rossi is third, 37 points off the pace.
The Mugello circuit has staged some spectacular races. Let’s go back in time to 2006 as Italian rivals Valentino Rossi and Loris Capirossi went head to head, giving motorcycling fans a race to remember.
For many motorcyling fans, Mugello is a mythical circuit and the 2006 Grand Prix remains one of the most thrilling races is living memory.
Then as now, Valentino Rossi was the local hero who could do no wrong; and his seeing his performance that day goes some way to explain his now legendary status.
It was one of his best ever races as he emerged from an intense battle with his compatriot Loris Capirossi on a Ducati and his team-mate Spain’s Sete Gibernau.
Along the way to the chequered flag there was a spectacular spill too as Australia’s Casey Stoner bought the farm.
Then, as now, the race was decided in a thrilling head-to-head fight involving Rossi and Capirossi, with the Yamaha rider snatching the lead on the last lap and holding on to the line.
Second career win
The rally season is now in full swing with France’s Sebastien Ogier leading the overall standings by 39 points. The three-time world champion was trailing Kris Meeke by 45.3 seconds going into the final day of the Rally of Portugal.
But in the end the Northern Irishman snatched his second career win with victory.
His previous World Rally Championship win came in Argentina last year.
Norway’s Andreas Mikkelsen came in 29.7 seconds behind in his Volkswagen to now trail the Frenchman by 47 points at the top of the overall standings after five rounds of the competition. Ogier was third, a further five seconds back.
The championship next heads to Italy in mid-June.
Next week, we’ll be looking at one of Formula One’s most prestigious events: the Monaco Grand Prix.