There was a heartfelt emotion in Jorge Lorenzo’s theatrical celebrations at Mugello. The Gran Premio D’Italia was a cavern of pressure and attention for the Ducati factory and a stage where the Italians craved a repeat of their 2017 success with Andrea Dovizioso. For Lorenzo his start-to-finish victory at the sweeping, epic and tyre-blisteringly fast layout (Cal Crutchlow: “one of the best places in the world to ride a motorcycle”) carried extra resonance.
After twenty-five races on the fiery Desmosedici (the fastest motorcycle through the speed traps at more than 350kmph) the former World Champion finally delivered the triumph that his sensational deal and transfer to the Bologna-based manufacturer promised from the start of 2017. The feat also elevated the 31 year old Spaniard to be just the fifth athlete to claim Grand Prix spoils with two different brands in the modern era.
“So many critics in the last half a year,” he breathed. “A lot of suffering. Many, many, many hours of hard work with my trainer, Ivan and all my personal staff. Finally this dream arrived. I did it, and I did it with determination.”
There was a section of the tifosi that celebrated another Ducati triumph but there was little doubt as to the dominant colour among the thousands that surrounded the podium. Yellow smoke billowed across Mugello frequently through the day and for what was the sixth race of the season. Pole Position man Valentino Rossi was the home hero for podium honours and with third place achieved his goal and gave his bountiful and adoring public reason to get vocal.
“The ten minutes on the podium in Mugello in front of all the fans, all the crowd repays you for all the effort that you do during the year for training and for travel and [for what you do to] make the rider,” #46 explained. “Yesterday was already fantastic feeling. Pole position was a great emotion.”
Next: a special one. The Gran Premi de Catalunya Monster Energy takes MotoGP to one of the jewels of the Mediterranean in two weeks time.