by Nico Cereghini
How great to see Valentino up front again at the Misano Adriatico track in San Marino! On the track now named after his friend SuperSic, Rossi had the best race of his two years with Ducati. We are also hoping for many other great finishes before the end of the season and all his fans and Ducati lovers finally have something to celebrate. A great race. He got a great start from the second row and was second immediately behind Lorenzo but ahead of Bradl and all the others. Vale kept up the pressure and rode his Desmosedici with surgical precision inspired by the new frame. The timing was right and the friendly track and tests carried out the week before certainly helped. A few laps into the race, Barbera crashed into Pedrosa taking him out and the nine-times World Champion took full advantage of this. Perhaps the advantage of better fine-tuning than the others (who raced three out of four rounds in the wet) was significant and the current Ducati is still not the real one, but, in the meantime, let's celebrate Rossi's magnificent second place that confirms two things: Ducati are now on the right lines and Valentino is the Rossi of the good old days. Some say “what a shame to give up now”, but Vale replies “I made the right choice for me and if Ducati go well next year, I'll be more than happy”.
He dedicated the race to Marco Simoncelli who will always be remembered in Misano with great warmth and affection. Rossi's race deserved a win. Lorenzo wasn't even that far ahead, just over four seconds separated them at the flag while those behind the Ducati lost rather than gained ground. Bautista just beat Dovizioso and Spies crossed the line ahead of Bradl whose only fault lies in his inability to manage his tyres when they start to lose performance. The German rookie however also had a good race at Misano. He was fast, consistent and ambitious. Hayden finished seventh despite all the aches and pains from his fall at Indy, Pirro was tenth, Petrucci fourteenth and Pasini unfortunately was a faller once more.
In Moto2, Iannone looked certain to win with a decisive ride after his pole position on Saturday. He led the race for much of the time but dropped off the pace due to a faulty rear tyre that was slipping on the rim. Vibration from the rear forced him to give way to Marquez then to the excellent Pol Espargaro who kept trying for the win right up to the last second. The Moto2 race was a fantastic battle between the two Spaniards with three passes in the last lap. Perhaps even more spectacular was Romano Fenati's race in Moto3. He was up at the front for most of the race in which Antonelli also did well. Towards the end, the rider from Ascoli was reeled in and passed to lie in fifth place at the start of the last lap. Folger hindered Vinalles at the last bend and Romano reacted immediately to take a well-deserved third place on the podium. The race winner was again Cortese who has a solid lead in the standings but less than half a second behind him was Luis Salom, a young man who exploded on to the scene in mid-season and who will no doubt have a lot more to say between here and the last race of the season at Valencia. Niccolò Antonelli was still penalised by the ballast and came home in eighth place while Tonucci finished in a disappointing seventeenth position.