Just one week after their last outing at Indianapolis in the USA, the Fiat Yamaha Team will arrive on home shores this week for the second Italian round of the season, at Misano on the east coast of Italy. They touch down in fine style with riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo first and second in the championship and having won eight out of the twelve races between them so far this season. Misano is just 300km from the team’s base just outside Milan and with many Italian team members it is an important weekend for all.
Rossi’s crash last Sunday saw his championship lead slashed to 25 points but the Italian favourite has quickly put that behind him and is thinking of nothing but a good result in front of his passionate home fans this week. Misano is just 15kms from his home town of Tavullia and he took an emphatic win there last year to the delight of his hordes of Tifosi. Having lost for the first time in eight years at Mugello this year he is doubly determined to make his second visit to home soil this season a fruitful one.
Spanish showman Lorenzo arrives his team-mate’s home race full of confidence after a return to the top step of the podium last time out. He has lost both Spanish races this season to Rossi and is therefore hoping for payback in Italy. He rode one of the best races of his rookie season there last year and will be aiming for more of the same this time as he seeks to stay in touch with Rossi at the top of the championship at a track he loves, having won there in the 250cc class two years ago.
Grand Prix racing returned to Misano in 2007 after a 16-year gap, with the circuit altered to run in the opposite direction from previous years. Just a kilometre from the sea and Italy’s famous ‘east coast Riviera,’ the track sits nestled between a string of small towns and villages, which turn into one huge party zone for the thousands of fans that pack into them during the race weekend. Like Indianapolis last weekend, Misano is completely flat but the similarities end there as the Italian track is tight and twisty, with no long straights and a fairly equal balance of right and left corners, meaning an agile bike is a must.
Valentino Rossi Speaks…
"I’m glad we don’t have long until the next race because I quickly want to forget the mistake of Indianapolis! Last year at Misano was incredible, to win in front of all my fans and so close to home was a great emotion and after missing out in Mugello this year we are really focused on trying to get the best result there. As usual my Fan Club will make a big party there so I hope that we can give them a good show, it’s always great to ride at home. As we saw last weekend, anything can happen and the championship isn’t over, we have to keep working at the maximum and just try to take as many points as we can each time."
Jorge Lorenzo Speaks…
"Misano is one of the tracks where I was very fast in the past, so I’m really looking forward to going there in such good shape. I won in 2007, the first year we went there, on my 250cc bike and last year I was not far behind Valentino in second. I am very happy that I have cut the championship lead by 25 points in just one race, but I know that the title is still very difficult. My first aim is to keep enjoying riding my bike and try to do the best I can. I hope we can be as good as last year or even better, even though I know how hard it will be the best at Valentino’s ‘house’! I hope everyone there gets to see a big battle!"
Davide Brivio Speaks…
"Of course we’re disappointed about last weekend but we know we’re still in a strong position in the championship and this is what we’re focusing on. 25 points isn’t much when our rivals are this strong though so we need to hit back at our home race this weekend with a good result. Last year we did a great race there and it was wonderful to watch Valentino in front of all the fans, so we hope we can do the same again this weekend. We will keep pushing, try to find a good set-up early and hopefully we can come back to our best."
Daniele Romagnoli Speaks…
"After the great result in Indy the team and Jorge have a great motivation to keep focused and to try to make the podium every time. Last year we had a great race in Misano and Jorge likes the circuit layout a lot. It’s also the second home Grand Prix for the team, which makes it a special weekend. The championship is still very difficult but we will try, if possible, to keep recovering points and to stay in a position to challenge. Now the excitement is starting to build build towards the season finale and I think everyone will enjoy the fight to the end!"
Valentino Rossi : Information
Lives: Tavullia, Italy
GP victories: 102 (81 x MotoGP/500cc, 14 x 250cc, 12 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Czech Republic, 1996 (125cc)
First GP: Malaysia, 1996 (125cc)
GP starts: 222 (162 x MotoGP/500cc, 30 x 250cc, 30 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 57 (44 x MotoGP/500cc, 5 x 250cc, 5 x 125cc)
World Championships: 8 Grand Prix (1 x 125cc, 1 x 250cc, 1 x 500cc, 5 x MotoGP)
Jorge Lorenzo: Information
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
GP victories: 25 (4 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 123 (29 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 33 (7 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 2 (250cc, 2006/7)
Misano: Record Lap
V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’34.904
Misano: Best Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’33.378
Grand Prix Results: Misano 2008
1. V. Rossi (Yamaha)
2. J. Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. T. Elias (Ducati)