Back in 2009, we saw one of the most incredible 250cc championships, where Marco Simoncelli and Hiroshi Aoyama go to Valencia, which resulted in the Japanese sensation winning the final quarter-litre class championship. However, I want to draw your attention to a race that happened earlier in the season, which included Mattia Pasini and Marco Simoncelli, who went head to head in what can only be described as one of the best 250cc battles of all time.
In pouring rain, with the crowd cheering and the 250cc two-strokes screaming, the scene was set for a Mugello classic. The chaotic way of life in beautiful Italy would soon be reflected onto one of the most picturesque circuits in the world. The fifth race of the season was about to burst into life, and explode like a volcano.
After an eventful first part of the race which saw Simoncelli reeled in by Bautista, it was soon a three-man battle for the lead. When Simoncelli attempted to get back through he then collided with Bautista at the Casanova-Savelli downhill plunge, handing the lead to Pasini, whilst home hero Simoncelli and title challenger Bautista re-joined the race in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
With just one lap to go, Simoncelli went for it and hunted down Pasini – who was sporting a special “Ladies night” livery for his local club – and passed him at San Donato. The two then went side by side through Luco, Poggio Secco, Materassi and Borgo San Lorenzo, where Super Sic grabbed the advantage. Pasini tried a Rossi-style move at Casanova-Savelli and almost wiped the pair of them out.
Arrabiata1 was next and Pasini went straight back through, but Simoncelli had a better line as they exited Arrabiatta2 and took the lead once again on the approach to Scarperia. The flick left into Palagio saw Pasini snatch the lead back but a huge moment on the exit saw Simoncelli have a look up the inside into Correntaio but he couldn’t make it work. That was that. Pasini held off the ambush and intimidation from the reigning champion to win the Italian Grand Prix.
Although neither Pasini or Simoncelli went on to win the championship, both treated us to one of the most momentous Grand Prix of all time. Both wanting to win their home Grand Prix. Both eager to give their respected Italian manufactures a win too. It has been enshrined into the history books as one of those titanic scraps between two greats. An honour to witness, an honour to cheer, an honour to recap right here.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko