Jack sets the fastest lap but then falls as podium chance goes begging in Italy.
Jack’s run of wretched luck at Mugello has continued for another year, the Australian crashing out of the lead group of the Italian Grand Prix with eight laps remaining on Sunday afternoon.
Jack was running in a group of five riders that had broken away from the rest midway through the 23-lap race, along with factory Ducati teammates Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso, Suzuki’s Alex Rins, and world championship leader Marc Marquez (Honda), when he fell between Turns 4 and 5 on lap 16.
The non-finish extended Jack’s misery at Mugello; in five MotoGP visits, he’s finished just once, 15th in 2017.
Jack had been comfortably inside the top 10 from the opening practice session of the weekend, and qualified fifth for by far his strongest Saturday showing in Italy; it was the fourth race of the six so far this season that he started from the second row of the grid or better. He spent much of the opening four laps in fifth place before the race intensified on lap five, Jack muscling past Rins for fourth, and then past Marquez for third on lap six as a trio of Ducati riders ran at the front. Jack and Marquez then made slight contact at Turn 2 a lap later.
Jack was shuffled back to fifth by lap eight, but the leading group edged away from the trailing pack to make it a five-way fight for the podium by lap 12.
Jack set the fastest lap of the race on lap 15 (1:47.657) to close back onto the tail of Rins in fourth, but was out of the race on the next lap. It’s the first time in 72 premier-class starts that Jack has set the fastest lap of the race, which was won by Petrucci for his maiden MotoGP victory.
“It was a great race, I enjoyed it a lot with a lot of fighting,” Jack said.
“I felt really comfortable with the group, just managing (tyres). With about 10 laps to go, Danilo was out front and he really started pushing the pace. The next lap I did the fastest lap of the race trying to catch them back. So a heartbreaking end to a really strong race, but this is how it is. We were again fighting for the victory so we can be happy about that, we were just missing about eight laps.”
With 42 points, Jack retains sixth place in the championship despite three non-finishes in the first six races. Round seven comes at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday June 16.
Full race results from Italy can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool.