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MotoGP World Championship – Italian Grand Prix04.06.2018

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Miller on the move

In chalking up his second podium in a row at the Italian Grand Prix, Joan Mir has confirmed the promise he has shown since his arrival in Moto2. Victory is getting closer.

Italy 2018 (Circuit Mugello)

The Races

After taking third place in Le Mans, Joan Mir made his way back to the podium with the following race on the Mugello circuit. Ninth on the grid, the Marc VDS rider quickly slipped into the lead group. And despite a short slowdown midway, he was able to find the missing energy in the last three rounds to overtake Bagnaia and finish on the heels of Oliveira and Baldassari. « I finished totally exhausted, but this new podium is a great reward,» said Mir. «I cannot wait to get back to Barcelona on a circuit that I love». Starting from the front row and leading for the first lap, Márquez’ bike had a dribble problem that prevented him from making the podium. The Spaniard finished fifth. In MotoGP, Morbidelli shone during the practice test sessions, for the first time making it direct to Q2. The race was more complicated but the reigning Moto2 World Champion was able to score points, finishing 15th. Tom Lüthi was less fortunate. The Swiss fell in the second lap when Abraham crashed under his wheels.

The Championship

With his new top five, Álex Márquez now has seventy-eight points in the overall classification. The Spaniard is fourth as the first third of the Moto2 championship season ends. Joan Mir is in fifth position with sixty-four points on the clock. In MotoGP, Morbidelli finds himself tied for points with Hafyzh Syarhin in 17th position.

The Background

The crash of Michele Pirro which required the interruption of the second free practice session of the Grand Prix of Italy, on Friday afternoon, will be remembered. Racing at more than 300 km/h, the Ducati test rider’s machine took off on the bump that extends the long straight of the Tuscan circuit and started to fly… The front wheel blocked and the Italian was flung off in a frightful crash. Miraculously, he survived with a major concussion but nothing broken. Once again the question arises of the safety of this braking section of San Donato and the bump from which the motorbikes take off at more than 300 km/h just before braking for a bend that needs to be negotiated at less than 100 km/h. The riders have five seconds to slam on the brakes over a distance equivalent to three football fields … « It’s the scariest place of the season»,  says nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi. In 2007, the engine capacity of the MotoGP engines was reduced to 800 cc to limit power and speed. It has not really slowed down the machines which are still very difficult to ride. On the same Mugello circuit fourteen years ago, Shinya Nakano had a real fright when the rear tire of his Kawasaki burst on a straight line. Marc Márquez also fell when braking at San Donato at over 300 km/h. «We will never reach zero risk; whatever we do, this sport will always be dangerous»,  concluded Franco Morbidelli who is discovering the thrills of MotoGP this year.

04.06.2018