It was a truly glorious English summer morning when I woke up on Sunday. A morning to treasure with birdsong the only sound to pierce the silence as the orange sun rose above the green trees. As we prepared for the weekly visit to the local supermarket, of course my thoughts and particularly my heart turned to without a doubt the maddest place on earth at the very same time. It may have been 1200km away but I could see and smell that yellow smoke pouring down the Mugello hillsides like a secret mist, while those wooded Tuscan hills shook to their very core with 100,000 crazy people dancing, singing and partying to support their local hero in the only way they know how. I also thought back seven days earlier to the total contrast in the atmosphere at another place beginning with M, where the four-wheel counterpart to MotoGP™ were about to do battle. Both Mugello and Monaco had start to finish winners but in every way, they could have come from different planets.
Of course, those yellow clad Italian fans were disappointed that their Emperor Valentino Rossi didn’t follow up his amazing pole position at Mugello, but third place behind the two Ducatis made it a cause of more celebration, not that they needed much persuasion as they poured onto the hallowed tarmac after the 23-lap race. They also witnessed a little bit of history with Jorge Lorenzo’s long awaited first victory on the red 355kph plus Ducati monster.
It was great to see Lorenzo back on the top step of the podium, although it has not taken quite as long as you may have imagined. It was his 24th ride on the Ducati since his Yamaha switch and only Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi have achieved that first win in a shorter space of time. Stoner won first time out and Capirossi on his sixth ride but behind Lorenzo come Troy Bayliss on 33, Andrea Iannone on 61 and Andrea Dovizioso on 71. Rossi rode the Ducati in battle 35 times, but never won.
The 6.370 second victory margin was the biggest for Ducati since Stoner won in Australia eight years ago and Lorenzo is the only rider in the MotoGP™ era to win on both Ducati and Yamaha machinery. He also joined a very special elite band of riders whose Grand Prix wins in the elite class span over ten years. The others in the decade club are Giacomo Agostini, Alex Barros, Phil Read, Loris Capirossi, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa – some list!
So Mugello or Monaco – absolutely no contest, although both beat queuing to get out of the supermarket car park.