News 29 May 2015

MotoGP riders relish unique Mugello challenge

Front-runners speak ahead of Italian Grand Prix weekend.

Source: MotoGP.

Source: MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Marquez and Danilo Petrucci gathered in front of the world’s media for the official press conference on Thursday, that marks the start of the Italian GP at the Autodromo del Mugello.

Current championship leader Valentino Rossi, who has tasted victory seven times at Mugello previously, is aiming for his first win at the circuit since 2008.

“I’m very happy to arrive in Mugello now, at this point of the season, especially with this speed and being this competitive,” Rossi said. “It is a great weekend and from when I started in 1996, Mugello, even though Tavulia (his hometown) is closer to Misano, this is the real Italian Grand Prix.

“There is a great atmosphere, it is one of the best circuits, the layout is fantastic and all of the riders like it a lot. Also the hills, plus the crowd and all of the noise…it is a great place to ride.”

His Movistar Yamaha teammate, Jorge Lorenzo, arrived in Italy after back-to-back wins in Jerez and Le Mans. The Spaniard is hoping to carry on this form at a track he has been victorious at four times before.

“We arrive here in Mugello to a completely different track to Le Mans, every year it is a different history, we have to keep demonstrating we can be competitive here,” Lorenzo commented. “We do not know what will happen tomorrow, but the key point is that we are competitive, we have won four out of five races this season, and the bike has improved since last year.

“Plus I am coming here with two back-to-back victories; we need to take advantage of this. For me this is my favourite track, not only because I am fast here, but because I also love to race here.”

Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso was relegated to third in the championship standings after Lorenzo’s win at Le Mans, despite claiming four podiums in the first five races of the season. The Italian admitted that riding a Ducati at Mugello is something special.

“It is a big weekend for Ducati, it is important for all the Italian riders but especially for Ducati and we arrive after a nice race in Le Mans,” Dovi said. “I am quite happy about the speed we have although we have to improve the consistency for the whole race.

“But also we made a test before Le Mans, and I believe we have the speed we just need to work on some small details to try to fight with these guys. I am looking forward to this weekend, as are all the Ducati riders.”

It is also the home round for his teammate Andrea Iannone, who will not be at 100 percent for the weekend after discovering he had actually fractured his arm during the testing crash at Mugello before Le Mans. Iannone is determined to fight through the pain barrier once more, in front of his home fans.

“Le Mans was a difficult race for me with the shoulder, as I was not 100 percent and did not have a good feeling with the shoulder,” Iannone explained. “When I came back home, I had so much pain on the Monday.

“I wanted a new X-ray. The doctor spotted a new fracture so I am not so happy for this, but okay, I stay calm and think positive for this weekend and I work a lot at home with the physio to improve the situation.”

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has not enjoyed the best of starts to the season so far and the winner in Mugello last year is aware that he must get his season back on track at the Tuscany circuit.

“The season at the moment is not easy but okay, already we won in Austin when we were struggling,” Marquez said. “We are not far off, okay in Le Mans we were far off, but in the other races, we were not.

“We will see here that it is a completely different circuit. Last year we struggled little bit, but we won the race, so from first practice we will try to do the best and to be there fighting for the victory.”

For the first time in press conference this season, Octo Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci was also present, and the Italian raised the biggest laugh of the day as he joked about his presence: “Sincerely I don’t know why I am here, as I have no podiums, maybe this is the closest I will get to the podium! For me a great result on Sunday will to be in the top 10, I have done that two times this season.

“I am really happy because in 2005 I was watching the race on the TV on the sofa and I had never ridden a bike on a circuit as I came from motocross. So in 10 years to go from watching on TV to be here is a good target, now I just have another 10 years until I can go back to the sofa.”