The Mugello circuit brings about some of the fastest speeds in the MotoGP Championship. The main straight alone is almost a mile long, with speeds reaching 210 mph.
These speeds, combined with elevation changes and wicked turns at Mugello, brought about many challenges for the MotoGP grid Sunday.
And for the first half of the race, the man who started from the pole position – Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner – was in dominate form, looking to take the victory.
But the Australian began losing speed, and with six laps remaining the reigning MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo took Stoner and lead to the checkered flag.
Stoner would then lose second to his teammate Andrea Dovizioso. Stoner would take the final podium position behind Dovizoso and race-winner Lorenzo. For a full Mugello MotoGP report, click here.
Following is what the riders were saying after Mugello MotoGP:
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "For a long time it has been one of the sweetest victories. The victory in Jerez was not ‘real’ because it was raining. It’s been a tough race because of the hot conditions without water in the camel back.
"I pushed and tried to be there with all of my heart! I tried to overtake Andrea in the downhill at the chicane and then I did the same with Casey because I thought it was the perfect corner for it. Now we have a competitive bike and I hope to keep this pace. Now I am more motivated and confident for the future, after this great result.
"I think it was one of my most demanding races in my career. It reminded me a bit the 125cc times, with many overtakings. I did a good start again and now I just want to watch the race again on TV. Congratulations to all of my team, they never gave up. I knew it would have been difficult today, but the ‘martillo’ is back!"
Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "It was a good race, me and Simoncelli battled it out. I made a couple of mistakes at the beginning which I’m a little upset about. Looking at the lap times we definitely weren’t the strongest but I think we were just on the cusp of fighting for the podium.
"I made a couple of crucial mistakes on lap three and six and then let the front guys get away. We did a good job getting back up to Simoncelli. Once I saw we weren’t going to catch the front guys I let Marco back by, I wanted him to pull me around to see where I was stronger than he was. I left it until the last lap, the last corner I could see he was leaving the door wide open so we were able to sneak right in and get fourth place.
"It’s great for Yamaha to get a win and me a fourth, I would have liked to have been on the podium but you can’t do it every time. Marco and I had fun, we had a couple of good passes back and forth and he was clean so I was happy!"
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: "We have a bike that is different in many aspects from the one we started the season with. We’re aware that it needs to undergo further development from a technical point of view, but even at this stage it has shown that it has a good margin of improvement just with setup.
"The weather didn’t help us at Assen, and the same was true here. We had limited time to work this weekend, so once again we made a significant setup change on Sunday morning. It was a step forward, and in the race I was able to have a better rhythm than in practice, although the improved behavior in corners was accompanied by a small loss of grip. Anyway, we think it’s a good direction to try in the future with our setup.
"I lost some time on the start because the clutch slipped, and I was almost last into the first turn, with a lot of ground to make up. It’s a shame because I’ve always managed to do well on the starts with the Ducati this year. Still, I’m not sure how long I would have been able to stay with Spies and Simoncelli even if I had started better.
"The gap on lap times was less than at Assen, which is positive, but it’s still quite large, about eight tenths. We have to keep working in order to stay with the Hondas and Yamahas. We’re all doing all we can, both us at the track and the guys at Ducati. It’s certainly a difficult situation, but to come here to Mugello and see all these flags and fans cheering always provides a big thrill and gives us motivation to return to the front."
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Marlboro Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: "We used a different spring combination in the clutch, and I got probably my best start of the year. I was up to fifth in the first couple of corners, and the bike felt good.
"The tires came right in and I was committed to trying to go with that front group, but I didn’t get it stopped in time going into Turn 1 on lap 2. I thought I had it saved, but the front pushed on the dirty part of the track and I had to go into the gravel. I was dead last, but my rhythm wasn’t bad as I tried to bring back some guys. It’s a shame.
"It’s easy to say now, but I think without that mistake, I could have done a really good race for the team and myself. The crowd was as good as I’ve ever seen it, and it was special to be here on a Ducati. We’ve got a lot of things going in the right way-a lot of support and guys working hard-and in the long run, I’ve got to believe that will pay off."
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: ""I’m very happy with my performance and the result was worth it in the end, even if I’m still far from 100% fit. Historically in the past, when I have tried to go back racing after an injury I wasn’t able to finish the race and today I managed to. I see that even being out for a quite a long period of time, I haven’t lost the speed, so I’m sure that I’ll back on top when my physical condition improves.
"At the start of the race, I had a problem with the clutch and I couldn’t operate the gears for a lap and a half, so I lost everything in this moment. I lost many places and when the clutch started working again I tried to get into rhythm and find my pace, even though I was very tired very soon.
"I was improving step by step and caught the group ahead consisting of Valentino, Barberá and Bautista. However, by that time I already had no energy to push any harder.I am extremely tired now, I gave everything I had and to take eighth position and eight points in my conditions, together with this clutch problem is quite a good result in my view.
"I’m satisfied with my race pace, I didn’t think I would be able to lap in the high 1’49′s, low 1’50′s during the twenty three laps, so I’m happy about this. Congratulations to Jorge (Lorenzo) for his good race and many thanks to my fans and doctors for helping me to be back."
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "Mugello is always a special event and the feeling on the podium is unbelievable. Today I was the first and only Italian rider on the podium and this makes the result even more special. The support of the fans was incredible, they were all pushing for me and they motivated me a lot especially when I was tired because of the heat and this track which is so physically demanding.
"This morning we fine tuned the set up to have more stability with the front and I had a good feeling. We made a good start and we were able to be consistent for the whole race despite the fact there was not so much grip and the tires were spinning. In the first part of the race I had some good battles with Jorge for the second position.
"Then, at the end of the race, overtaking Casey gave me the second place. I could see Casey was spinning a lot but he was very strong in some corners so I couldn’t pass him where I wanted, in the end I managed it on the last lap. This second position is so important for the Championship, because I earned some good points and reduced the gap.
"Casey and Jorge are really strong but we have shown that we are there, the season is long and we just need to believe it. I want to thank the team and all the people around me. We have a winning bike and we are working hard in all areas."
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "I can’t say I’m totally happy with the result today, we started the race very strong and everything felt fantastic on the bike, however, we had a problem with the tires after a few laps.
"We believe this was related to incorrect tire pressures for today’s track temperature and we should have probably reduced them a little compared with what we used in warm up because as soon as the tires got up to a certain pressure, I lost all the grip in the rear and this led to me starting to close the front. I think this is why we were able to be so fast in the beginning of the race, as the tires were able to warm up very quickly, but then the tire overheated and I lost all the grip.
"I’m disappointed as our potential to win today was high, I thought I might still have potential to fight with Jorge and Andrea, but Jorge came past and he was too fast for me. Then Andrea came past and I thought I could respond, but I didn’t have any traction. It’s still a podium, and important points but I’m here to win races."
Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V MotoGP) says: "It was a very tough race because it was really hot and the track conditions were new to us so I didn’t have the same feeling as in practice. The front three were able to set a slightly faster pace, I was able to hang on for six or seven laps but after that I lost touch.
"I tried to fight off Spies at the end but he was faster than me through the final corner and managed to take the inside line to pass me. Anyway, I am happy because it was a hot and long race. It was a positive weekend overall because the most important thing for us was to finish the race.
"The strange thing is that when the racing is close at the front and there is only nine seconds covering the top five I seem to stay upright but when they are more strung out and I have the opportunity to make positions up I have some kind of disaster!"
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V MotoGP) says: "Unfortunately this weekend was a tough one for me because I am still struggling with the injuries from Assen. My starting position wasn’t good and that made the first half of the race more difficult but I managed to pick my pace up in the second half.
"Tomorrow we have a day of testing and I hope we can find something that improves my feeling with the bike compared to today."
Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "That was a pretty tough race. Basically we made the wrong rear tyre choice but it was so hard to decide which one was g oing to the better option. I’d been fast on both options but I felt like there was an advantage with the softer compound.
"It seemed easier to do the lap times that I needed to do to get away with the guys at the start. But I changed my mind a few times because we’d not had the afternoon sessions on Friday or Saturday because of the rain, so we didn’t know how the tire would react in the really hot conditions.
"With the track temperature much higher I just never had the grip I expected at the beginning. It never changed from the first lap to the last. There was no drop in performance, but it never really had the grip I wanted at the beginning. At the end of the day we made a bad call and sometimes it doesn’t work out. To come out of a difficult race with a top ten is still a half decent result, so we move on now and hope for a better race in Germany."
Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: "Right from the first lap I didn’t have any confidence or feeling with the front-end and I kept running wide. I just didn’t want to crash with the Silverstone shoulder injury at the back of my mind, so I felt the safest option was to pull into the pits. I was in that battle fighting for sixth place and the last thing I want to do is not fight, but I felt like I’d reached my limit.
"I am sorry for the Team because we have all worked incredibly hard and now I am determined to put this race behind me and focus on having a strong weekend at the next race in Germany, which I’m looking forward to."
Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MotoGP) says: "It was always going to be a difficult race today because we were starting from the back of the grid and that is never easy. I made a good start and had a couple of strong laps to get up to sixth position.
"I tried to push to get to the group at the front because they were still close, but I was already starting to have a bit of trouble with the grip from the front of the bike. I nearly crashed two of three times on several corners and my elbow touched down and saved me once! I tried hard to keep my position in the group and my overall feeling was good, even though I couldn’t enter the corners exactly as I wanted to.
"To finish the race in sixth or seventh today was certainly possible, but as I entered turn 12 I lost the front completely. I went into neutral and went off the track and lost a lot of positions. I am happy with the first part of the race, but disappointed for the last part, because as I said before sixth or seventh was there for us today. We have to remain positive though and to keep heading in the right direction and improve over the next races."
Randy De Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: "I think there is little to say today. Yet another bad race, although this time I managed to cross the finish line. I found several problems, especially when cornering and braking. I couldn’t go fast because when I tried to accelerate, I lost the front.
"I could go faster than the group that I had ahead of me, but I wasn’t able to pass anyone. The rear tire is virtually destroyed. I’m disappointed, and I need to get some positive results this season."
Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: "Yesterday I was the last one after the practice thus I thought I could have risked with a different front setting for the race. But it was a wrong decision and during the race I have paid for that. Even today I took another exciting start from the last row but in the second lap I immediately felt that the front was unstable. I made a big effort to finish the race but obviously this is result is very frustrating for me and the Team."