After a battle that continued until the last rider change, the pair formed by Valentino Rossi and Luca Marini won the sixth edition of the 100 km of Champions.
The start, which was a typical "endurance" style one, was favorable for Elia Bartolini, who immediately took the lead, followed by Valentino Rossi, Andrea Migno, and Stefano Manzi, who closed the fastest group.
Then there was a twist of events after just a few laps with Stefano Manzi's fall and Valentino Rossi overtaking Elia Bartolini. At the first bike change, Luca Marini, paired with his brother Valentino, took the lead, closely followed by Franco Morbidelli and Lorenzo Baldassari.
The 50-lap race, with a rider change every 5 laps, offered several duels. Luca Marini's error in mid-race, when his bike stopped, allowed Franco Morbidelli to take the lead, while Elia Bertolini's problems with the grip allowed the Americans, JD Beach and Sammy Halbert, to recup and fight for a third place on the podium.
In the final laps, Valentino Rossi regained ground on Andrea Migno with the fastest pace in the race, with just a few seconds from the VR46 Riders Academy rider, therefore, favoring a finale that was worthy of the best edition of the 100 km of Champions.
The podium was decided at the last bike change with the last 5 laps to go, Luca Marini at just a few tenths from Franco Morbidelli, and JD Beach battling it out with Lorenzo Baldassarri.
Franco Morbidelli's error, going long in corners and grappling with a cone that got stuck in his bike, allowed Luca Marini to overtake him, then he no longer relinquished his position till the finish line, winning the 100 km of Champions, along with his brother Valentino Rossi. Morbidelli and Migno arrived second with 6 seconds, and the Americans, Beach and Halbert were third, beating Bartolini and Baldassarri by just over a second.
Mattia Pasini and Stefano Manzi were fifth and Celestino Vietti and Marco Bezzecchi sixth. Alex Rins and Albert Arenas had a good race, coming in eighth, followed by Tito Rabat and Michel Rinaldi. Closing the top ten were Aegerter and Ottaviani.
The sixth edition of the 100km of Champions was, by far, the most numerous in terms of participants, with 42 riders and about 1,200 spectators in the two days of competition.
"It was a very long race, where the track changed conditions many times," explained Valentino, "There's more humidity and less grip in the evening, so you have to adapt. There was a moment when it looked pretty bad because Franco and Andrea were very fast, and Luca's bike stopped after someone touched him. We were almost 10 seconds behind, but we did well. We didn't give up, and we had a come back. We had a lot of fun. The weather helped us, and we also improved the organization. There are always so many riders, and the level has risen. We hope to continue like this."
Luca Marini added: "Unfortunately, when Franco passed me, we touched each other, the bike turned off, and that was a decisive moment. But Vale was good at catching up in the next run, like I was. We were ready to battle it out with Franco on the last turn, but the cone ended the game," he smiled.
"We're very happy with the results obtained. We blew the championship," said Andrea Migno, ironically. "I want to thank my teammate and the whole team. We'll analyze our mistakes and try to become competitive again." "I can only agree," Morbidelli added.
"It was the funnest race we've had this year," both D Beach and Sammy Halbert said.
Listen the audio of the riders on the podium.