Motorcycling: Morbidelli wins maiden MotoGP race in San Marino as Dovizioso takes championship lead

MISANO ADRIATICO, ITALY (AFP) – Franco Morbidelli charged to his first MotoGP win on Sunday (Sept 13), while Andrea Dovizioso capitalised on Fabio Quartararo crashing out of the San Marino race to take the championship lead.

The 25-year-old Italian dominated at Misano Adriatico and finished ahead of countryman Francesco Bagnaia, riding for Ducati-Pramac, and Suzuki’s Spanish rider Joan Mir for his maiden victory in motorcycling’s elite class.

“I don’t know how it feels, I still have to process everything,” he told BT Sport.

“It’s a good thing, a good feeling. I’m very happy, I’m enjoying the moment now. The only thing I can say is thanks to my team, to my people, all the people that have been working with me.”

The Yamaha SRT rider, who started second on the grid, overtook pole sitter Maverick Vinales on the first lap and never relinquished his lead, finishing over two seconds ahead of Bagnaia on a great day for Italian riders in front of a limited crowd on home soil.

Fellow Italian Dovizioso finished back in seventh but his nine points put him six ahead of Frenchman and pre-race leader Quartararo, who scored nothing after first coming off the track on lap eight and again later in the race when already well off the pace.

Dovizioso is also 12 points ahead of Australian Jack Miller, who finished a place behind the Ducati rider, after six grands prix.

The 34-year-old will now be eyeing his first MotoGP championship after finishing behind six-time champion Marc Marquez, who is out for the rest of the 2020 campaign due to breaking his arm in the opening race, in each of the last three seasons.

The only negative for the home crowd, the first to be allowed to watching racing live this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, was Valentino Rossi failing to grab his 200th MotoGP podium after he was overtaken by Mir on the final lap to finish in fourth.

Rossi disciples dominate Moto2

Rossi will have been cheered by his half-brother Luca Marini extending his lead at the top of the Moto2 standings to 17 points with his fifth win in seven races this season.

Marini took advantage of his main rival and compatriot Enea Bastianini finishing third to strengthen his grip on the championship.

The 23-year-old started on pole after American Remy Gardner retired from the race after breaking his hand and foot in the warm-up and crossed the line 0.799sec ahead of another Italian, teammate Marco Bezzecchi.

“It’s a big win. Without doubt my best race. I’m going to party tonight but not with too many people,” said Marini.

Both Marini and Bezzecchi race for the Sky Racing “VR46” team owned by Rossi, and Bezzecchi is third in the championship, 27 points behind Marini after moving above Spaniard Jorge Martin, who could not race following a positive coronavirus test.

John McPhee fired himself back into contention in the Moto3 championship after winning earlier and closing in on overall leader Albert Arenas, who crashed out.

The Briton is third in the standings, 14 points behind Arenas, after surging to the front from 17th place on the Moto3 starting grid and pipping Japanese rider Ai Ogura, who had started in pole position, by 0.037sec.

“It was a crazy race. Starting 17th on the grid was very difficult,” said the Scot.

“When I found myself around 12th position I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to stop there’ and I kept pushing.”

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