Mugello: Francesco Bagnaia missed out on a second successive podium finish for Team Mahindra by an infinitesimal three thousandths of a second at the Italian GP of the prestigious MotoGP, here on Sunday.
Following a photo-finish in the Moto 3 class, the third place went to home-country hero Romano Fenati (KTM), who crossed the line side by side with the Mahindra.
A photo-finish gave him the position by barely the width of a tyre.
Bagnaia claimed a career-first podium two weeks ago at Le Mans. The Italian prot?g? of Valentino Rossi had started from the third row of the grid, but showing experience and race-craft that belied his 18 years, shot off the line to play a leading role in a mammoth fight round 20 laps of the spectacular and scenic Mugello circuit.
He led out on the 4.185-km lap for the first time on the fifth tour; and although never in front over the line, that position was a lottery. A huge pack ? at one stage 16-strong ? was slipstreaming and jostling down the long straight; all weighing up tactics for the final sprint.
Bagnaia?s strategy was perfectly timed. He moved back into the top three for the 18th and 19th laps, and was lying second on the final lap, and third on the exit from the final corner.
The top six flashed across the line within less than four hundredths of a second, behind KTM-mounted inner, ex-Mahindra rider Miguel Oliveira.
Second Mahindra rider Juanfran Guevara crashed out of a points-scoring position in the closing stages, and third rider Jorge Martin finished 17th.
The next race is the Catalunya GP at Mugello, in two weeks.
"I am happy with the result, because it is important to stay at the front for the championship. But I have mixed feelings, because I really tried my best for the podium today, but it was not possible. On the last lap I was second, then Danny Kent passed me in the last corner, and I ran a little wide. So I finished fourth," Bagnaia said.