Movistar Yamaha MotoGP returns to Italy for Valentino Rossi’s first home race of the year, the Gran Premio d’Italia this Sunday at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany. The race is also a home Grand Prix for the team itself, being based alongside the historic Monza circuit in Gerno di Lesmo.
Rossi prepares to entertain his home fans in good form having been at the sharp end of recent races and taking a well earned second on the podium at the last round in France at Le Mans. The local hero remains the only Grand Prix rider ever to take seven straight wins at his home race, scoring consecutive premier class victories at Mugello from 2002 to 2008. Prior to this he also has a 125cc win in 1997 and a 250cc win in 1999. He will be determined to forget last year’s unfortunate DNF after being taken out on the first lap.
Jorge Lorenzo arrives at one of his favourite circuits determined to continue his five-year unbroken Mugello podium run. The track that has seen him claim the last three consecutive premier class wins and two consecutive second place finishes prior to that.
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith will once again fight to finish round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in strong positions at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM event.
The action will commence this Friday at the twisting 5245 metre circuit, 30 kilometres northeast of Firenze. The historic track is a popular event for spectators and riders alike featuring six left hand corners and nine right of varying degrees and speed. It is also one of the lengthiest tracks on the Grand Prix calendar featuring the longest straight of all the rounds with a distance of 1141 metres.
Rookie Pol Espargaro will look to build on his superbly executed result of 4th position at the team’s home GP of Le Mans by continuing his learning process on a MotoGP bike at Mugello. Whilst Bradley Smith, who holds the track in high regard, will look to add to his history of convincing results at the famous Tuscan track a battle inside the top five.
The Grand Prix of Italy represents also a special appointment for the team run by Giovanni Cuzari and its main sponsor, NGM, based in Santa Maria a Monte, Pisa only 90 km far from the Tuscan racetrack.
Mugello is also one of Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards’s favourite circuits and both NGM Forward Racing MotoGP riders hope to get a good result after the difficult weekend they had in France.
“I am very happy to go to Mugello. This is a beautiful track and I like it so much. This is one of my favourite weekend’s of the season! For this reason I will try to give my best. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honour. Jorge has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track. It will be my three hundredth GP this weekend and for that I am not very happy because it means that I’m old but I’m happy because I am in good shape and I can still be very fast! See you at Mugello!”
“Well, first of all I would like to forget what happened at Le Mans. There I couldn’t feel good on the bike and therefore we need to think about the future. I will never give up and continue working really hard to get ready when our moment comes. Now we are going to visit some special tracks for me and I think we can change some things to stay in front. We need to try to fight for our first victory of the season. That would be great for all of us, the team and I. Mugello is a suitable scenario for me where I’ve made some good memories in the past few years. It’s a special track and the layout is fantastic for my style of riding. Hopefully we can find our way in Tuscany!”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“I am very confident, Mugello is a circuit that really suits our bike. Jorge has won the last three races there, it’s the second home race for Vale who also has a great Mugello record and it’s the home race for the team as we are based not so far away. We are excited for Friday morning to get started. It looks like the weather may not be great with some rain on Friday and Saturday but race day should be fine! I expect to see a huge crowd and we plan to put on a good show for everybody.”
“I am excited to ride at Mugello which is a track I thoroughly enjoy and one that will suit the Yamaha YZR-M1 favourably due to it’s sweeping and fast flowing corners. However it looks like it will rain during the weekend which could be tricky as I have not ridden in the wet on a MotoGP bike before. Yet as always I will aim to learn as much as possible especially in the damp conditions and will focus on getting a strong setup so that I can be as prepared as possible for the race at this technical and demanding circuit. I qualified on pole here in Moto2 in 2012 plus scored 3 podiums in the 125 and Moto2 classes so I look forward to building on my experience.”
“After a tricky race at Le Mans I am ready and excited for Mugello which is one of my favourite tracks. I really like the nature of the circuit plus Yamaha is the most successful MotoGP manufacturer at this track so we must feel confident. I won from pole position in 2009 in the 125 class and also qualified on the front row before clinching 3rd in 2011 on the Tech3 Moto2 bike, so I know I can ride well here. We’ll have to take it step by step as it could rain, but I aim to get a solid setup sorted on Friday so that I can get a top 6 qualifying position in preparation for the 23-lap race on Sunday. The crowd is always amazing, also the track is fantastic so I am ready to fight for success.”
“I’ve always liked Mugello. I really enjoy the fast corners there and the fast changes of direction. We will suffer in the long straight in terms of top speed but in general I think that the layout of the track should suit well our Forward Yamaha. I’m really looking forward to get back on the bike and get some good result.”
“After the difficult weekend we had in France, I look forward to the Italian GP, where we will test some new parts. Mugello is a very demanding track and it’s crucial to find a good set up of the bike.”
2014 MotoGP Italy
(Daniel Pedrosa, 1-1-2012)
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Daniel Pedrosa, 2-6-2013)
Last Years Winner: