Ahead of lights out for the Gran Premio Tribul Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, a host of home heroes and familiar faces went head to head in a different kind of showdown as they swapped their MotoGP™ machinery for jet skis – in front of a crowd of 3000 down on the beach.
Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) led the star-studded line up, and the Italian was joined by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Ducati Test rider Michele Pirro, Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers), Niccolo Antonelli (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Sky Racing Team VR46 riders Francesco Bagnaia, Stefano Manzi, Nicolo Bulega and Andrea Migno for the event – with the competition taking place at the Marina di Cattolica late on Wednesday afternoon.
Niccolo Antonelli sensibly decided to sit out the racing as he fights to get back to full fitness, and instead turned commentator for the day’s competition. With heats pitching riders head-to-head on the road to the finals, some drama that upped the ante was a mechanical failure for Dovizioso, who then hopped on Pirro’s jet ski in some solid teamwork for the Ducati squad – which would prove a controversial decision in the test rider’s bid to take the crown.
After working together to reach the top, the final came down to a Borgo Panigale factory duel as ‘DesmoDovi’ prepared to face down Pirro. And in the end, it was the MotoGP™ points leader who took the victory, with the Bologna factory test rider – set to wildcard this weekend for the Italian manufacturer – taking second. The first win of the weekend for the marque, and the first win of the weekend for the Championship leader as he arrives looking to increase his advantage on home turf…
Third was an impressive showing from Moto3™ title contender Romano Fenati, with the multiple race winner flying the flag for the lightweight class in style and joining his compatriots on the podium to spray some celebratory cava at the end of the event. Now they’ll head back to the track and get ready for the Press Conference at 17:00 (GMT +2) on Thursday, before action opens on Friday morning for practice.
Will it be another day to remember for ‘DesmoDovi’ on Sunday?
Andrea Dovizioso, P1: “It’s amazing to see so many people come to the beach for the pre-event and I know the atmosphere at Misano will be great. I would prefer Valentino to be racing us on track rather than not, but it won’t change my strategy. I’m totally focused on this race and I hope I can get my first MotoGP podium at Misano.”