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REPORT: Home sweet home for Bagnaia at Mugello

Matt Clayton
Monday, 3 June 2024

Pecco Bagnaia banked a maximum 37 world championship points by taking an Italian Grand Prix double for the second year running, an audacious start giving way to a race of control as he hacked into Jorge Martin’s series lead.

Pecco Bagnaia slashed his championship deficit to Jorge Martin to just 18 points after a perfect weekend at the Italian Grand Prix, Ducati’s reigning world champion doing the Sprint-Grand Prix double for the second year running as he won his home race for the third time in succession.

Bagnaia qualified second but was demoted to fifth on the grid for impeding Alex Marquez (Ducati) in Friday practice, but made light of that penalty with a superb start to Sunday’s 23-lap race, scything past pole-sitter Martin, Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales, Ducati’s Marc Marquez and teammate Enea Bastianini to lead just five corners into the first lap.


While Bagnaia’s pace wasn’t explosive – he never led by more than one second – he was perfectly in control thereafter to resist Martin, who closed to within 0.3secs with three laps left before Bagnaia eased away to lead by eight-tenths coming into the final lap.

With Martin falling back, Bastianini used his signature late-race pace to pounce, surprising Martin with an opportunistic overtake at the final corner of the final lap to make it a factory Ducati 1-2 result, which sent the 81,000-strong crowd at Mugello into delirium.

Martin, who crashed out of podium contention in the Sprint, had to make do with third, and ended the three-race top-three run of Marc Marquez (Ducati), who came home fourth.

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Pedro Acosta (GasGas) was the sole non-Ducati in the top seven finishers on Sunday, his fifth place coming one day after it was announced by KTM that the gun rookie would be taking over Jack Miller’s seat at its factory outfit for next season.

It was another difficult weekend for Miller, who came to Mugello off a run of three straight DNFs for the first time in his career and qualified 19th, his worst grid position for seven years.

The 29-year-old made a blistering start to spend the first four laps in the points, but faded to finish 16th, 28.417secs behind Bagnaia and 20secs behind Acosta.

Bagnaia sported a tribute helmet to American rockers Kiss for his home Grand Prix, celebrating his win with the fans while wielding a guitar, and revealing in the press conference that he’d received a message of encouragement from the band’s frontman Gene Simmons before the race.

Surprise packet

Franco Morbidelli has demonstrated signs of pace without the points to show for it in recent events, but the Italian put it together at Mugello to score more points in a single weekend (16) than he has since round two of the 2023 season in Argentina.

Morbidelli hasn’t been on Martin’s level at any stage this year – he’s 0-7 in his qualifying head-to-head with the Spaniard – but he came through Q1 to start a season-best sixth at Mugello, then finished an equal season-best fourth in the Sprint and sixth in the Grand Prix to improve to 14th in the standings.

Number to know

342: Martin was in second place for 342 of the 345 corners of the race before relinquishing second to Bastianini on the final corner of the final lap…

Italian Motorcycle Grand Prix: top 10

  1. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 40mins 51.385secs
  2. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) +0.799secs
  3. Jorge Martin (Ducati) +0.924secs
  4. Marc Marquez (Ducati) +2.064secs
  5. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) +7.501secs
  6. Franco Morbidelli (Ducati) +9.890secs
  7. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) +10.076secs
  8. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +11.683secs
  9. Alex Marquez (Ducati) +13.535secs
  10. Brad Binder (KTM) +15.901secs

Riders' championship standings (top 5)

  1. Jorge Martin (Ducati) 171 points
  2. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 153
  3. Marc Marquez (Ducati) 136
  4. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 114
  5. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) 101

What's next?

Round 8: Netherlands (Assen), June 28-30