Francesco Bagnaia held off points rival Marco Bezzecchi in the closing laps of the Italian Grand Prix sprint at Mugello to secure his fourth short race win of the year.
The factory Ducati ace made a strong start from pole to hold the lead into Turn 1, though soon came under pressure as drops of rain began to fall and lost the advantage to Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin, with KTM’s Jack Miller also sliding through to briefly take second before Bagnaia swiftly countered.
With the rain ultimately not manifesting into anything more than a few drops, Bagnaia regained his confidence and soon relived Martin of the lead, the Italian increasing the pace out in front as he soon dragged away from the rest along with Bezzecchi and the Pramac pair of Martin and Johann Zarco.
Bezzecchi looked to be managing things in the wheel tracks of his countryman and duly began to close up across the final couple of laps, though he ultimately was powerless to prevent Bagnaia from securing his fourth sprint race victory out the six held this season as he hit his marks perfectly, the reigning MotoGP world champion taking the chequered flag just 0.078s clear of VR46’s Bezzecchi.
The battle for third went down the wire too as Martin began to struggle over the final couple of tours, Zarco trying every line to try and move clear of his team-mate – including an attempt at making an undercut work at the final bend on the last lap – though he eventually had to settle for fourth behind the Spaniard.
Luca Marini took a lonely fifth on the sister VR46 entry ahead of the best-placed non-Ducati of Miller in sixth, the Aussie narrowly holding off Honda’s Marc Marquez who he pushed wide during the mid-point of the frenetic event.
Aleix Espargaro recovered from a sluggish start to claim eighth for Aprilia, while Enea Bastianini fought off Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo to take the final point in ninth.
Brad Binder failed to procure point after being given a long-lap penalty for taking out Alex Marquez at Turn 1 on the opening circulation – the South African eventually coming home 11th – while LCR Honda’s Alex Rins also failed to score after crashing out early on.
The returning Miguel Oliveira claimed 12th for RNF Aprilia just ahead of Maverick Vinales, while Ducati test rider Michele Pirro got the better of factory Yamaha pilot Franco Morbidelli for 15th.
The second wildcard rider taking part this weekend – namely Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori – managed to head full-timer Raul Fernandez for 18th, while Augusto Fernandez and Jonas Folger completed the finishers for the GasGas operation.
Honda’s Joan Mir failed to make the start after being forced to miss the remainder of the Italian weekend due to breaking a finger during Friday practice.