Augsburg rider on course for Rookie of the Year

Bradl blazed into fourth place. Photo wikimedia/JerkoStephan Bradl, 2011 Moto 2 World Champ, and Moto GP 2012 Rookie 4th

Mugello, in beautiful Tuscany, was the scene on Sunday for the Italian Moto GP. With an air temperature of 26 degrees and a track temperature of 45 degrees there was a bound to be some pretty hot action from the Moto GP and CRT bikes with 23 laps in total to complete.

Mugello, being Ducati's home circuit and test track, could be the boost to recent form they needed, with American Nicky Hayden wanting to stay with Ducati for next season and fighting to retain the ride from 4th position on the grid behind Hector Barbera in 3rd. British rider Cal Crutchlow dropped 3 places on the start and Austrailian Casey Stoner on hard tyres dropped two places, unable to stay in contention until his tyres warmed up. The lead was taken by Spain's Jorge Lorenzo for Yamaha who went on to ride a faultless race, closely pursued by Andrea Dovisioso on home tarmac from the third row of the grid.

With speeds on the straights of up to 215mph (360kmh), there was some spectacularly close racing. Danni Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso sparred for second and third places, with the young German rookie Stefan Bradl ready to take advantage of any mistake in fourth position, closely followed by Hayden and Valentino Rossi.  Crutchlow stayed in touch with Rossi but he was never going to be an easy man to pass. On lap 9 defending World Champion Stoner started to close in on Dovizioso and Bradl but was unable to make the corner and dropped a number of places. On lap 17, Stoner tried a hard shoulder banging passing manoeuvre on Alvaro Bautista and may expect some comeback from race officials as he bumped his way past into 9th position in a desperate move to gain championship points.

With all the action going on behind him, Lorenzo increased his lead to finish 6 seconds ahead of the rest. Pedrosa and Dovizioso finished in third and fourth place. The most outstanding rider of the weekend had to be Bradl who finished five tenths behind Dovizioso. Team Honda is happy and proud that he had handled the pressure so well. An outstanding performance for the 22 year-old from Augsburg and the team are confident that a future podium is within reach.

The Moto 2 race was predictably exciting and Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami led for a few laps, as did the Spaniards Marc Marquez and Pol Espargo who started from pole position. With 6 laps left, Andrea Iannone rode a determined race to take the lead, going on to win for Italy and Thomas Luthi from Switzerland took the remaining podium position having posted a circuit record of 167.4km lap. British rider Scott Redding found his rhythm after 6 laps and rode a solid race, overtaking Nakagami on the final corner to finish in 6th place. Gino Rea finished 19th. The best British result came from Bradley Smith who had an awesome race and finished just off the podium in 4th place. Happy to go into the short summer break with his best result this season, he has his sights realistically set on the podium with a bike that is performing well when breaking and in the corners.

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