Mugello, June 3: Marc Marquez was thrilled to settle for second place at a dramatic Italian Grand Prix that saw him extend his lead in the FIM MotoGP World Championship riders' standings, especially when he rates the circuit as his "worst race".
Danilo Petrucci took a famous victory at Mugello – his first in the premier class - to cap an enthralling race that saw multiple lead changes.
Repsol Honda's Marquez, Petrucci and the other Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso were side by side going into turn one of the last lap, all battling it out for victory.
Marquez emerged in second, but the fact Dovizioso was behind him meant his championship lead increased from eight to 12 points, the five-time world champion having previously described Mugello as the weekend least suited to him on the calendar.
Of his last-lap attempt to seize the lead, Marquez said: "I just missed the apex on turn one. But when I saw for the last lap that Danilo was first, me second and Dovi third I said, 'OK, I will not try [for the win] - I will just defend'. We were in a good situation.
"Because if I try and we both go wide, Dovi wins the race and that is worse for the championship. So for that reason I just stayed behind Danilo. I then tried to pass at the last [turn] with the slipstream but I knew that it was going to be very difficult.
"But apart from that I'm happy, happy with the 20 points. I'm happy because in our worst race we finish second."
Marquez started the race on pole and initially kept the lead before dropping back to fifth, subsequently making his way through the field in battles with the Ducatis and Alex Rins, who finished fourth.
He added: "I try in the beginning like always, try to do my pace but I already I had two small moments, so I said this was not the day [to pull away], I will follow and I will fight on the last lap."
Dovizioso, who surged from ninth on the grid in his 300th race across all categories, was delighted for emotional team-mate Petrucci, whose victory should go some way to ending rumours over whether he will be retained by the factory Ducati team in 2020.
He said: "I said from the beginning of the season that he had potential, he just had to learn something and he learned it. So I'm really happy for him – to win in Mugello is the best race in our championship so this is good. This can affect his future and I'm really happy about that.
"I did a perfect start and had a good strategy. I wanted to be first after the first corner of the last lap but Danilo overtook us very aggressively.
"I had to pick up the bike very quick and that's the reason I also lost a position to Marc. Bad for the championship to lose some points here but overall the race was good."
(With Omnisport inputs)