Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) delivered a consummate performance on his MICHELIN Power slick tires at Mugello today (June 11) to increase his advantage at the top of the title standings with victory on home soil in round six of the 2023 MotoGP™ campaign. On a day of Ducati dominance, the Italian was joined on the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley podium by Prima Pramac Racing duo Jorge Martín and Johann Zarco.
Having set a new qualifying lap record aboard his Ducati Desmosedici GP23, Bagnaia then withstood the threat applied by Mooney VR 46 Racing Team’s Marco Bezzecchi to prevail in Saturday’s Sprint Race – but in front of almost 80,000 passionate Italian fans today, the only challenge he faced in the grand prix itself was when Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) blasted briefly into the lead from the second row of the grid at lights-out.
Within a matter of moments, Bagnaia had redressed the balance and reinstalled himself at the head of the order, and while Martín applied some pressure over the opening half of the race, the Spaniard was never able to attack.
The defending world champion ultimately eased away to his third grand prix victory of the season and Ducati’s fifth Mugello success in the past six years by 1.067 seconds, as a combination of Hard MICHELIN Power slick tires at the front and Medium at the rear enabled him to produce a supremely consistent display in the oppressive Tuscan heat.
Martín – third in the Sprint Race – bolted Soft-compound tires onto the rear to secure the runner-up spoils on his satellite Ducati, 0.910 seconds ahead of team-mate Zarco. The Frenchman slipped outside of the top ten at the start, but unleashed a scintillating turn-of-speed on his Medium MICHELIN Power slicks to fight back to third, engaging in a crowd-pleasing duel with Mooney VR 46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini along the way.
The Italian – similarly running Medium tires at the rear – finished fourth, with Brad Binder the highest-placed non-Ducati in fifth on his Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine. Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaró narrowly pipped Miller in the battle for sixth.
The entire range of MICHELIN Power Slicks was used at one moment or another over the weekend. The choice for the Sprint Race was relatively straightforward (hard front, soft rear) but choosing for the main race was more complex given the hot weather. The riders chose opted for either the soft or hard rear and both featured on the podium as a further illustration of the range's versatility.
Bagnaia’s new lap record in qualifying lowered the existing benchmark – a 1m45.187s effort posted by Fabio Quartararo in 2021 – by more than three tenths-of-a-second, with the Italian stopping the clocks at 1m44.855s. Following his perfect weekend, he now leads the championship by 21 points from countryman Bezzecchi, with Martín just three points further back in third.
Mugello also hosted the second clash of the 2023 FIM Enel MotoETM World Championship. The first of the weekend's two races took place on a dry track and was won by the Italian Andrea Mantovani (RNF MotoE™ Team), while the second victory was the work of Brazil's Eric Granado (LCR E-Team) in wet conditions. Michelin's Power Slick MotoE tires contain 34 and 52 percent sustainable materials front and rear respectively and the all-electric series serves as a valuable research and development laboratory for Michelin.
Next round: Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, Sachsenring (June 16-18).