Mugello race winner Jorge Lorenzo says memories of his 250cc battle with Alex de Angelis in 2005 spurred him to a dramatic victory in Italy.
Lorenzo has extended his lead in the MotoGP World Championship to 10 points over Marc Marquez after coming out on top of a thrilling last-lap battle between the pair, with the Yamaha rider out-dragging the Repsol Honda on the straight to win by only 0.019 seconds.
The 29-year-old had considered settling for second place on a frenetic final lap, but Lorenzo says he was inspired to attack one more time as he recalled his last-gasp pass on de Angelis 11 years ago, which gave him second place in the race behind Dani Pedrosa.
“I didn't expect Marquez [to be] so strong and so consistent, so with him on the back I tried to escape and I used a lot of energy from my body and in the last part of the race I didn't have so much energy,” said Lorenzo.
“When he overtook me on the last lap I thought, 'ok, stay behind him and see what happens, see if he makes some mistakes that I can take profit of'.
“I was behind and when I arrived in the last chicane the memories of 2005 passed into my mind when I overtook [Alex] de Angelis in 250, so I had his crazy idea to make the same. I opened a lot of throttle and I entered so fast, maybe too fast because Marquez again overtook me, so I thought I was losing the race because normally in MotoGP it's not easy to pass the rider in front by slipstream,” he added.
“Luckily today the rider in front was Marc with his Honda, which is struggling this year with its engine, so I fast into the last corner and going quite close and I recovered a lot of metres to win this unexpected victory.”
Lorenzo, who suffered a blown engine in morning warm-up – a fate also encountered by team-mate Valentino Rossi during the race – said he made some improvements in braking that enabled him to be stronger in the race.
“In the warm-up I felt better and we made some changes with the setting of the bike that improve slightly my feeling, especially in the braking but also in the corner with more grip,” he said.
“Luckily after the Moto2 race the tarmac was slippy and the pace was not very fast and I was happy to make a good start, leading the race from the first lap and put my rhythm.
“To be honest I didn't feel very comfortable during all the race, especially in the middle of the corner because the front was pushing so much as we had a setting with a lot of weight going to the rear but not into the front.
“From the middle of the race the front was pushing so I could not stay in the 1m '47 that I expected,” Lorenzo added.
“But Marc made a very good race pace and looking at the lap times in the practice, I didn't expect him to stay so consistent all the race but they made a good step.
“We expected that Vinales and Iannone couldn't follow us so finally when Marc overtook me, he is a great fighter and I thought it was better to finish the race in second place and take the points. But when I had this memory I tried and I was lucky my engine today was fast.”
Lorenzo admitted that luck had been on his side at Mugello, while in contrast Rossi had been dealt a bad hand.
“We've been very lucky today with our engine because one lap less in the warm-up, we wouldn't break in the warm-up and we would race with the same engine. For the opposite, Rossi was unlucky and he is now quite far in the championship,” he said.
“I'm lucky also that we won the race or we would go to Montmelo with the same points as Marc and having 10 points gives you confidence.”