Marc Marquez came the closest yet to tasting defeat in 2014 in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit, but ultimately emerged victorious after a breathtaking battle with a resurgent Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez shadowed Lorenzo after dropping behind the Yamaha man at the start and made an attack with seven laps left on the board, but Lorenzo failed to go down easily and fought back, leaving the identity of the winner in doubt until the very last corner of the very last lap.
The combat saw the lead change numerous times, with Lorenzo taking on Marquez at his own game of insanely-late breaking and combining it with his excellent traction out of corners to really take the fight to the reigning World Champion. Coming onto the final lap, Marquez ducked past Lorenzo and pulled out enough of an advantage to maintain that lead until the finish line. This ensured the sixth successive victory for Marquez and Repsol Honda, and extended his lead in the championship after another perfect points score.
Hometown hero Valentino Rossi raced to a lonely 3rd place, while Dani Pedrosa eventually overcame the defences of Andrea Iannone to finish a distant 4th. Pol Espargaro and Andrea Dovizioso also passed the ailing Iannone whose gamble on using a soft compound rear tyre ultimately failed, though he finished 7th ahead of Bautista, Aleix Espargaro and Yonny Hernandez.
The points-paying positions were rounded out by Michele Pirro, Karel Abraham, Scott Redding and Hiroshi Aoyama, wit Colin Edwards taking the final point on offer in 15th.
Elsewhere it was a disappointing day for the British riders as Bradley Smith fell early on, before Cal Crutchlow threw away a better qualifying result by falling on lap two. His errant Ducati was collected by the LCR Honda of Stefan Bradl who was catapulted violently into the gravel, thankfully unhurt. Hector Barbera and Michel Fabrizio were also casualties of the gruelling race.
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