News 11 Sep 2015

Stage set for Rossi and Lorenzo San Marino title battle

Riders speak at Misano pre-race press conference.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The main title contenders and some local heroes took to the stage for the official press conference to mark the start of the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini.

Movistar Yamaha teammates and title rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were joined by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Alex de Angelis (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) for the press conference that kicks off round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship.

Rossi arrives at his home GP leading Lorenzo by 12 points after his fourth win of the season at Silverstone. The Italian was born just 10km from Misano in Tavullia and is looking to make it back-to-back wins at his home grand prix after emerging victorious in 2014’s race.

“It’s a special place,” Rossi said. “Looks like this year also more; I expect a lot of people. I arrive in a very good moment for sure as I’m leading the rankings and also the victory in Silverstone creates more expectations.

“It will be a tough weekend, more than usual especially outside the track as II have a lot of people who want to come see me. We’ll try to manage that and stay concentrated. The important thing is a good job on track, it’s a track I like and usually our bike is very strong.”

Across all classes Lorenzo has never finished worst than second at Misano in eight attempts and won back-to-back MotoGP races at the track between 2011 and 2013. Last year the Spaniard had to settle for second behind Rossi and he is under no illusions how tough The Doctor will be to beat in his own backyard.

“It is an amazing situation and a good opportunity for a special race, mainly due to the situation of the championship,” Lorenzo said. “But we’re also here in Italy and it’s the second home of Yamaha, but 25 points for the win is the same at every circuit and for me it’s another race like any other which we have to manage to get the best result.”

Marquez trails Rossi by 77 points and while it is still mathematically possible for the reigning MotoGP World Champion to lift the title, it would require a minor miracle. Misano is one of only three tracks on the MotoGP calendar that Marquez has not won at before in the premier class, although he did take back-to-back Moto2 victories at the circuit in 2011 and 2012.

“After Silverstone, the options for the championship are not gone completely, but it’s really difficult,” Marquez explained. “There we tried and the feeling with the bike wasn’t the best but it was time to take some risks to try and win the championship, it wasn’t possible.

“We did a great race and the most important was that we were fast in dry conditions and it looks like it will be dry here again this weekend. We did a test here during the summer that was really good, really hot so we will need to adjust the setup but we start with a good base.”

Silverstone saw Dovizioso return to the podium for the first time since Le Mans and the Italian is feeling confident after two recent private tests with his team at Misano. Dovizioso has never finished on the podium at the track before, although he has crossed the line in fourth on four separate occasions.

“Yeah, this year to make the podium is very tough,” Dovizioso commented. “The four factory bikes are really strong; they’re fighting for the championship and pushing each other even harder. It will be difficult but not impossible, we have to try and our speed in the test was good. If we’re close to them anything can happen during the race.”

Petrucci claimed his first ever MotoGP podium at the British GP after a sensational ride that saw him cross the line in second after starting from 18th on the grid. Petrucci was born in Terni, but now lives only a few kilometres from the circuit and considers this his true home race.

“I’m happy to get my first podium but now I want to do a good dry race,” Petrucci said. “Now it is almost impossible to get a dry podium or even in the top five. I don’t want to hear another time when a wet race happens ‘oh Petrucci will be fast’, maybe on a sunny day I want to hear ‘Petrucci is fast’. This is my next target.”

Earlier on Friday Dovizioso and his teammate Andrea Iannone decided to pay a visit with a difference to the il Palazzo Pubblico di San Marino. Located on Mount Titano the building normally plays host to important government meetings, but on Thursday it welcomed Ducati’s Dovizioso and Iannone and their 260bhp Desmosedici GP15s.