The Jorge Lorenzo MotoGP road show continued at Mugello with the Spaniard's third victory in a row, using his no-fuss recipe of getting to the front from the start and then bolting. His Italian display was probably the most emphatic yet, and it didn't matter that reigning world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) was among the retirements, as no-one was going to stop Lorenzo from bringing up a hat-trick of wins and Yamaha's fifth in six races this year. It was also Lorenzo's 88th MotoGP podium, now equal fourth on the all-time list alongside Giacomo Agostini.
Marquez made up a whopping nine spots on lap one from his lowly grid position, but even when he got into second place he couldn't make an impression on Lorenzo, and was instead left wrestling with Ducati pair Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso.
Marquez was in close combat with Iannone when he went down with six laps to go, and then Iannone was able to maintain a small cushion over Valentino Rossi until the end of the 23-lapper — still giving the boisterous Italian crowd cause for celebration.
Lorenzo's final winning margin was 5.563s, and he said afterwards: "I'm very happy, because I didn't expect to escape with such a big margin, but sometimes it happens that you feel great on the bike.
"If someone would have told me before Jerez that I would win three races in a row I wouldn't have believed it, but this is what happened. We are in a great shape; Valentino is getting podiums in every race so that means he is strong and also the bike is working really well. It seems that this year could be our year, so we have to take advantage of it. But we can't relax and neither can Yamaha.
"Our competitors are working really hard to fix the problems they seem to have with the stability of their bikes and they will arrive at a point that they will win races, but until then we need to make the most of our potential to improve the bike little by little."
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) finished in a solid fourth place — at one stage he was in the clump of riders battling for second — ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, Suzuki Ecstar rookie Maverick Vinales, and Ducati test rider Michele Pirro.
Dovizioso, who pushed his GP15 to over 350km/h along the Mugello straight during the weekend, was eventually a retirement with a rear sprocket problem, while those to crash were Aussie Jack Miller and his CWM LCR Honda teammate Cal Crutchlow, Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki Ecstar), Nicky Hayden (Aspar MotoGP Honda) and Stefan Bradl (Athina Forward Racing).
Miller said it was a "rubbish race" for him.
"I got an awesome start and was going good, but already by the second lap I was having moments with the front," Miller said. "Where Cal fell off, I was also close to losing it and Nicky (Hayden) slipped by. I got back past him, but then I had another moment and then it was moment after moment until I couldn’t hold it up anymore.
“When I got to the final corner the front just went on me and it was beyond recovery. It was really hard here, especially with the front of the bike.
"We seem to be really struggling with the front end, but it’s not only us, there are other guys out there too struggling with it. We’re working on it, it’s only the last couple of races that haven’t been good to us and we need to just focus on getting better and better.”
Rossi has now moved to 118pts, from Lorenzo (112), Dovizioso (83), Marquez (69) and Iannone (81).
1. Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha, 41m39.173s
2. Andrea Iannone, Ducati Team, +5.563s
3. Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, +6.661s
DNF. Jack Miller, CWM LCR Honda, +21 laps
Pole position: Iannone, Ducati Team, 1:46.489 = 177.3km/h
Fastest lap: Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, 1:47.654 = 175.3km/h
Championship top 3
Rossi 118 • Lorenzo 112 • Dovizioso 83
World champion Tito Rabat has finally reached the summit in 2015, and he did it at Mugello by holding out fast-finishing Frenchman Johann Zarco in a thriller.
Most of the action in the 21-lapper happened in the first half when last-start winner Tom Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten) crashed out of the lead just as he was starting to look ominous, while two-time winner in 2015, Jonas Folger (AGR Team), also went down again as he continued his slide down the rankings.
Meanwhile, the unflappable Rabat wasn't part of any shenanigans and refused to yield under Zarco's late pressure, while Dominique Aegerter was third from poleman Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing) and Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP40). Earlier, Lowes had a coming together with Simone Corsi (Athina Forward Racing), which left the Italian in the gravel and the Briton fighting his way back from outside the top 10.
Australia's Anthony West (QMMF Racing) was 19th after a terrible qualifying session saw him start from 30th on the grid.
1. Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS, 39m40.545s
2. Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport, +0.308s
3. Dominique Aegerter, Technomag Racing Interwetten, +5.280s
19. Anthony West, QMMF Racing, +46.027s
Pole Position: Sam Lowes, Speed Up Racing, 1:51.514 = 169.3km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Rabat, 1:52.530 = 167.7km/h
Championship top 3
Zarco 109 • Rabat 78 • Tom Luthi 68
Miguel Oliveira will be front page news in his native Portugal, as he became the first Portuguese rider to win a world championship grand prix. The 20-year-old, who has so often teased without stamping his authority on a race, banished those demons at Mugello with a stirring victory in a slug-fest which at one stage had the top 20 riders separated by just three seconds.
Oliveira eventually prevailed from championship leader Danny Kent (Honda) and Romano Fenati (KTM), but not in a way he had envisaged.
"I didn't want to be in front heading into the last lap, but I really didn't have any options," said Oliveira. "But I knew I was pretty strong on the final corner and it's a special moment to win my first grand prix."
The top six flashed over the line 0.381s apart, with Francesco Bagnaia (Mapfre Team Mahindra) fourth from Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Honda) and Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda).
Australia's Remy Gardner (CIP Mahindra) was 23rd, finishing the race with a broken fairing —reminiscent of his dad, Wayne, in the 1990 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
“I’m little disappointed because another incident during first lap has prevented me to fight for the points," said Gardner." I’ve started well but someone touched me when I was in 20th position. After this incident I lost more than 10 places and saw that my fairing was broken. It’s been not so easy to finish the race in that condition but there was nothing else to do."
1. Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo, 39m39.510s
2. Danny Kent, Leopard Racing, +0.071s
3. Romano Fenati, SKY Racing Team VR46, +0.127s
23. Remy Gardner, CIP, +28.103s
Pole Position: Kent, 1:56.615 = 161.9km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1:57.318 = 160.9km/h
Championship top 3
Kent 124 • Enea Bastianini 78 • Fenati 67