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Yamaha Dominate in the Dry as Mugello Begins

The Gran Premio d’Italia got off to a damp start this morning at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello with difficult track conditions keeping the MotoGP riders on wet tyres with just a few exceptions in the final moments. The second practice in the afternoon proved to be a different story with Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi dominating on slick tyres to the delight of the Mugello crowd.

Local hero Rossi led almost the entire session, consistently shaving time from each lap as he dropped to become the first rider into the 1’48s with 22 minutes to go. Teammate Lorenzo was not far behind and the only rider within a second of the seven-time Mugello winner. The last five minutes of the practice became a battle between the two Factory Yamahas as they swapped positions at the top of the timesheets, Lorenzo eventually taking the top spot at the chequered flag as the clock hit zero with a 1’48.375. Rossi wrapped up just 0.034 seconds behind. Fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow made it a Yamaha top three, the next riders a full second behind.

Jorge Lorenzo 1st, Time – 1’48.375, 26 laps

“In the morning it was wet and bad conditions so we preferred to not exit at the end of FP1 with the slick tyres as we thought the track was dangerous. We had to wait for the afternoon and dry conditions. From the beginning the Yamaha riders were very strong and competitive which means the track is working well for us this year. We have to wait for the improvement of our rivals and the possible change in weather that can change our performance but for the moment we are very competitive and happy.”

Valentino Rossi 2nd, Time – 1’48.409, 32 laps

“I’m happy because it’s a very good practice today, starting from the beginning, staying at the top. It’s very good for the team as we are in first and second and for Yamaha because we have three Yamahas on the first three positions. Already the lap time is not so bad but we have to stay focused and concentrate for tomorrow because for sure our opponents will improve a lot. We have to make another step to improve and go faster to fight for a good position in the race.”

Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager

“Finally a good day. We are not as fast as last year but this morning was a rain session. This afternoon we were not just fastest, but also with a good rhythm. We will keep working as we have some things to solve for tomorrow but for now Jorge has a good rhythm and a good feeling with the bike. Let’s work and see what we can improve on the bike and the package for tomorrow.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director

“Even if we lost the morning due to the less than perfect track conditions, this afternoon we did a great job. The base set up we started with worked very well with both riders. The consistency and the speed of both of them was superb, to see three Yamahas in the top three positions is really promising. I think we will for sure try to improve the bike as we are only on the first day but it seems very promising so far.”

Crutchlow makes fast start at magnificent Mugello

British rider Cal Crutchlow played a starring role on an opening day of practice for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM that was dominated by Yamaha at the fast and technical Mugello track. Full of confidence after storming to a career best second position last time out in Le Mans, the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider set a personal best time of 1.48.672 in cool and overcast conditions to help Yamaha claim a fantastic clean sweep of the top three places. After this morning’s FP1 took place in far from ideal conditions on a track littered with tricky damp patches, Crutchlow was over eight seconds faster on a full dry surface this afternoon to rocket up from ninth into the top three behind Factory Yamaha pair Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Crutchlow was less than 0.3s behind reigning World Champion Lorenzo and Mugello specialist Rossi and no other rider was able to lap within 0.7s of the former World Supersport Champion’s impressive pace.

A hugely promising day’s work by Bradley Smith unfortunately ended in painful fashion when the rookie fell heavily while trying to consolidate an excellent eighth position on the timesheets. Smith had superbly negotiated the tricky track conditions this morning to set the sixth fastest time, and relishing the challenge of powering his YZR-M1 machine round the undulating and high-speed Mugello track, he was lapping inside the top 10 again in FP2. Confident he could improve on his eighth position he was pushing hard when he fell exiting Turn 15. The 22-year-old fell heavily on his left side and he needed lengthy treatment in the Medical Centre to assess a suspected left arm injury, though no bones were broken in the nasty spill. Smith did though suffer an open wound to his left little finger after his hand was momentarily trapped under his machine. The injury will not prevent him from participating in Sunday’s race but he will require a skin graft on Monday to repair the damage.

Cal Crutchlow, 3rd, Time – 1.48.672, 33 laps

“That was a very positive start to the weekend and I am happy to be in the top three and close to the best pace. This morning was quite tricky with the damp patches but I was fast on the wet tyres and happy with the feeling of the bike. This afternoon I was able to be in the top three in the dry and that is also very positive, but it is going to be very difficult to beat Jorge and Valentino. Jorge is looking for a third straight win here, so he is very fast on this track, and Valentino obviously has some special motivation for his home race. But I am the best of the rest again, which is a good sign and we’ve still got some things to try to improve the bike. I’m not completely confident in some corners but I know my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew has some good ideas to help me improve. It could be tricky conditions tomorrow though if we get some rain that’s been forecast, but after my second place in Le Mans and the good feeling I had in FP1 on the wet tyres, I am still very optimistic.”

2013 MotoGP Italy

Mugello 31/05/2013

1 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha ESP 1’48.375
2 Valentino Rossi Yamaha ITA 1’48.409
3 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha GBR 1’48.672
4 Nicky Hayden Ducati USA 1’49.377
5 Daniel Pedrosa Honda ESP 1’49.383
6 Andrea Iannone Ducati ITA 1’49.467
7 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati ITA 1’49.543
8 Stefan Bradl Honda GER 1’49.595
9 Randy De Puniet ART FRA 1’49.599
10 Michele Pirro Ducati ITA 1’49.649
11 Alvaro Bautista Honda ESP 1’49.733
12 Aleix Espargaro ART ESP 1’49.769
13 Bradley Smith Yamaha GBR 1’50.103
14 Marc Marquez Honda ESP 1’50.210
15 Hector Barbera FTR ESP 1’50.400

Circuit Length:
5245

Weather:
Changeable

Lap Record:
1’47.705
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2012)

Fastest Lap Ever:
1’47.284
(Daniel Pedrosa, 4-6-2012)

Last Years Winner:
Jorge Lorenzo