It was the closest of his six sensational wins this season and one in which Marc Marquez admitted he “nearly crashed” at every corner.
That’s what happens when you engage fierce rival Jorge Lorenzo in a titanic contest for supremacy at Mugello for the Italian Grand Prix.
Lorenzo’s dramatic return to his best form forced Marquez to new heights as he won his sixth consecutive race of the season by just 0.121s after 23 absorbing laps.
The race ended Lorenzo’s three year winning streak at Mugello.
“It was a great battle but this time I only enjoyed it when I passed the finish line because Jorge was so strong and I was pushing, nearly crashing in every corner,” Marquez said.
“It was so difficult. We had some small contact which got my attention and after that we did a really nice battle and on the last lap I pushed to try to overtake at the end of the straight and open a small gap.”
Marquez’s winning move came after a perfectly timed tow in the slipstream and then a dramatic braking move from 210 mph into turn one for the final lap.
For the second time this season Honda star Marquez out-played Yamaha’s best to win. At the opening race in Qatar the young World Champion put in a superb effort to beat seven-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.
At Mugello on Sunday it was Lorenzo’s turn to be torched by Marquez’s blistering final lap burst in what has become a virtually mistake free run of form.
At Qatar Marquez won by 0.259s.
“It’s difficult to say which race was hardest,” Marquez said.
“Every situation in every circuit is different. Here I felt more prepared to fight because my physical condition was 100 percent and in Qatar maybe I was struggling a little bit [Marquez broke his leg six weeks earlier].
“But anyway both riders are so great. Valentino has his strongest points, Jorge has his strongest points. With every rider you need to use a different strategy.”
Over the final seven laps of the Mugello race Marquez and Lorenzo raced shoulder-to-shoulder in a contest worthy of a world championship decider.
A pity that Lorenzo’s poor early season means that he is a massive 85 points behind Marquez in the title chase.
Home hero Rossi was third after forcing thru from tenth on the grid. Rossi was into third on Lap 3 and just 1.2s behind Marquez who surging to close the gap to leader Lorenzo.
The Yamaha sandwich briefly gave Marquez some nervous moments.
“When I saw on Lap 4 that Valentino was already there, it was a little bit scary because it was only one second and I knew he started 10th,” Marquez said.
“I thought he will arrive. Then I saw that Jorge’s rhythm was so good and it was so difficult to follow him. But I was pushing at 100 percent because I knew if he opened a gap then Valentino could catch me.
“So I pushed and took a lot of risks, but I knew when the tires started to drop down that I was a little bit stronger.”
Marquez’s added a note to his long list of records becoming the first rider since the legendary Giacomo Agostini to win the opening six races. Agostini acheived the feat in 1971.Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, MotoGP, Mugello