Danilo Petrucci pips Marquez, wins Italian Grand Prix

Ducati's Danilo Petrucci fought off a stiff challenge from Marc Marquez to win the Italian Grand Prix, his first ever MotoGP victory.

Ducati's Danilo Petrucci celebrates after winning the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.   -  AFP

Danilo Petrucci, an Italian riding for local team Ducati, held off defending world champion Marc Marquez to gain a first ever MotoGP victory on Sunday in the Italian Grand Prix.

The second place allowed Spaniard Marquez to increase his lead in the world championship ahead of another Italian on a Ducati, Andrea Dovizioso, who finished third on Sunday after a prolonged three-way battle.

Petrucci's win comes a day after he recorded the highest speed in MotoGP history.

Five-time MotoGP champion Marquez on a Honda briefly took the lead in the last lap but Petrucci recaptured first place and won.

“It's amazing, I'm thrilled,” said 28-year-old Petrucci, who finished eighth in the 2017 and 2018 world championships.

“On front of my home crowd and in my town, it's incredible, I can't describe how I feel.

“I've achieved my aim for this year which was to win a race, now we have to win the championship with Ducati,” he said.

Marquez -- winner of three out of six races this season -- started on pole but had to battle with the Ducati riders and Suzuki's Alex Rins, who challenged hard despite starting back on the grid.

The four riders overtook each other several times but Petrucci found the power to pull clear in the closing stages of the final lap of the fast Mugello circuit. The Italian finished 0.043sec ahead of Marquez with Dovizioso at 0.338.

Marquez, who has won the MotoGP category race just once on the circuit north of Florence, leads Dovizioso by 12 points after six rounds this season.

In the constructors championship Honda has 121 points followed by Ducati (115), Suzuki and Yamaha (88), KTM (38) and Aprilia (31).

“When I saw at the start that I couldn't pull clear I said to myself 'today isn't the day',” said Marquez. “I decided to ride defensively and I'm happy with the 20 points.”

Dovizioso added: “It was really hot and I wanted to be ahead in the final lap but Dani overtook us.

“The grip was not enough to try something desperate and Rins almost passed me.

“In the championship we lose some points but I'm really happy for Petrucci because Mugello is the best race for us to win.”

- Rossi crashes -

Italian star Valentino Rossi crashed out of his home race where the Yamaha rider has not won since 2008 after an impressive series of seven consecutive victories.

The seven-time MotoGP champion had an unforgettable weekend as he qualified down in 18th position.

Earlier Marquez's younger brother Alex won the Moto2 category having also won at Le Mans last time out. Alex Marquez led a Kalex sweep ahead of teammates Italian Luca Marini, Rossi's half-brother, and Swiss Thomas Luthi.

The Spaniard pulled clear of his rivals on lap 14 of 21 to finish 1.928sec ahead of Marini with Luthi at 2.242. For Marquez, 23, it was his fifth victory since he began racing in the category since 2015.

POINTS TALLY

1. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.043secs
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.338s
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.535s
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +6.535s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +7.481s
7. Michele Pirro (Ducati) +13.288s
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +13.937s
9. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +16.533s
10. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +17.994s
11. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +20.523s
12. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +20.544s
13. Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda) +20.813s
14. Karel Abraham (Reale Avintia Racing) +27.298s
15. Andrea Iannone (Aprilia) +28.051s

 TITLE STANDINGS

 

Riders
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) 115
2. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 103 (-12)
3. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 88 (-27)
4. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) 82 (-33)
5. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) 72 (-43)

 

Teams
1. Ducati 194
2. Repsol Honda 134 (-60)
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 112 (-82)
4. Suzuki Ecstar 100 (-94)
5. LCR Honda 82 (-112)