In the second flag-to-flag race in two rounds Casey Stoner ended Valentino Rossi’s Mugello winning streak with a polished performance to give Ducati their first ever victory at the circuit.
Much of the race came down to tactics again in front of the 80,000-strong Italian crowd as the riders once more started on a wet surface and completed the 23 lap contest on slicks, with Stoner this time judging things to perfection.
The Australian retook the championship lead as he crossed the line a second in front of former leader Jorge Lorenzo, who also rode well after the scare of crashing on the sighting lap.
Lorenzo’s Fiat Yamaha colleague Valentino Rossi completed the podium in third place as his seven-year wining run at his beloved home track came to an end, the Italian hero crossing the line two seconds behind Stoner and less than one tenth in front of Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso.
It was a shame for Dovizioso to miss out on the rostrum on the last lap once again, having held the race lead early on, on wet tires. Likewise, his compatriot Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) was leading at one stage – later in the race – but he fell away in the final laps to finish fifth.
James Toseland made a brave decision to come in first and change bikes when running towards the back of the field and he just missed out on equaling his best MotoGP result of sixth as he was outdone by his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team-mate Colin Edwards on the last lap, having also dueled with LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet who was eventually eighth.
Niccolò Canepa (Pramac Racing) will be delighted to have achieved his best result to date as the second highest Ducati rider in ninth at his home race, with Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) completing the top ten behind the young Italian.
Dani Pedrosa hit the deck and crashed out on lap 14 having already damaged his hip earlier in the weekend, the Spaniard stretchered away from trackside. He will face an anxious wait to see if he is fit for his own home race at Barcelona in two weeks. Honda satellite rider Yuki Takahashi also crashed out with 13 laps to go.
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