With Valentino Rossi sitting in the hospital, Dani Pedrosa took the MotoGP victory for the Repsol Honda Team at Mugello in decisive style, setting a new lap record on only the fifth lap of the race and consistently lapping faster than the existing lap record.
The Spaniard was the only motorcycle racer to lap in the 1m 49second bracket. Pedrosa’s consistently fast pace, in which he set seven laps all faster than the existing lap record, means that he also set a new fastest total race time at this circuit.
Second was Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo, followed closely by Andrea Dovizioso of Repsol Honda. All top three riders also opted for the hard compound front and rear Bridgestone slicks.
Ducati Team’s Casey Stoner finished fourth after a race-long battle with San Carlo Honda Gresini rider Marco Melandri, both of whom chose the softer option Bridgestone slick.
The third rider involved in the battle for fourth was LCR Honda’s Randy de Puniet, who finished 0.2seconds adrift of Stoner.
Dani Pedrosa says: “It’s an unbelievable feeling to win again and I’m so happy for myself and the Repsol Honda Team. We’ve been working really hard and had some problems through the winter and in the first races, so I’m really delighted with this victory, especially after leading at Jerez for so long but not quite making it. It looks like we are back near where we need to be and the team deserves the victory. I had a great feeling on the bike today, especially at the beginning section of the race and I could open up a gap. To be honest I didn’t see who was behind me, I just looked for the gap on my pit board and tried to ride consistently. It’s important that we are competitive now because we have one weekend off and then three races in a row. The next race is at Silverstone which is a legendary track so I hope that we can match this kind of performance there – and also that this part of England has better weather! I’d like to thank the team, and also the fans here for pushing for Valentino because he’s having a hard time and everyone in the paddock wishes him well”.
Andrea Dovizioso says: “It’s so special to be on the podium at Mugello in front of my home crowd because I’ve never made the podium in MotoGP here – I always had to watch it on the TV in the garage! It was a really emotional experience up there with all the fans supporting us. I made a good start and this was really important for my race. I wanted to finish the race fighting with Lorenzo because I think it could have been a good battle on the last lap, but I couldn’t catch him. We are getting closer to the front but we are not quite there yet and we have to take the next step so that we can fight for victories. Three podium finishes is a good start to the season and is very important for the championship, and it’s thanks to the hard work we’ve done over the winter and in the first races. I’d like to say congratulations to Dani on the win because he had an incredible pace, and this is an extra motivation for us to take that extra step forward so we can fight for the win”.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “Unfortunately my pace today wasn’t as good as yesterday and I could only finish second; something happened and I couldn’t ride in the same way but in the circumstances I am happy with my result. Anyway Dani had a perfect race today; he had an amazing pace and I don’t know if I could have beaten him even if I had been as fast as yesterday! To take 90 points from 100 is great and I am leading the championship, so I cannot ask for more. I need to make some improvements to my riding style and Yamaha needs to try to improve the power of the bike a bit so we have some things to work on, but I am confident about the next weeks. It was very strange today without Valentino, I am so glad the fans honoured him so well. I wanted to win to dedicate the victory to him but that wasn’t possible so all I can do is say ‘get well soon!'”
Wilco Zeelenberg says: “After the weekend our team has had with what happened to Valentino this was a good result for us, we have 90 points, two wins and two seconds and we are happy with our season so far. Jorge had some issues today and we need to analyse why it happened and why he couldn’t keep the same pace, but we are not too worried and he rode a good race today. We are 25 points clear in the championship which is great but we all know why, because Valentino isn’t here, and it’s a sad situation. We all wish him the best.”
Valentino Rossi may have been thinking: “I wish I could have race in front of my home crowd. My rhythm was very good. Ah… I like to make a funny stunt on TV for the fans to see. Sitting in this hospital for the next 10 days is no fun. But as always I will make the most of the situation. I push hard to return and make a great pace once again. I win maybe not the championship this year but I will return to the MotoGP paddock with winning spirit. Congratulations, of course, to Dani for the win and to Jorge who leads the 2010 Championship.”
Casey Stoner says: “To be honest we expected to be a little bit better after this morning’s warm-up but maybe the conditions were a little too hot for the changes we made and the tyre we ran in the race. The left side of the tyre was working really well but I just couldn’t get the right side hooked up and I was running wide, losing the front a bit, but I managed to stay on. Once I got ahead of Marco and Randy in the early stages of the race I was pushing to get away but couldn’t so I decided to sit back and attack them on the last lap. I suppose in that respect I got the job done bit it’s not exactly what I would have liked for this race because it’s a track I like and it’s Ducati’s home race.”
Nicky Hayden says: “I screwed the start up and got beat up into turn one but I was able to make a couple of passes and thought I could fight for it. My rhythm wasn’t that good and I was just trying to make up too much time into that downhill corner. It was a rider error and it’s a bummer because it’s the team’s home race and they’ve all worked really hard. All I can say is I’m sorry – that one was on me. I’m completely okay so that’s the good thing but it still hurts. Thankfully there are still a lot of races to go.”
Claudio Domenicalli says: “A fourth place at Mugello is obviously not totally satisfactory for us but it was a good race nevertheless, especially at the end. Casey showed his character, he knew he didn’t have the pace to fight for the podium so he waited for the right moment to secure the best possible result. For some reason, which we are going to analyse, he didn’t have the grip we expected him to have after the changes we made this morning but he definitely got the best out of what he had. Nicky didn’t make a great start and in an attempt to make up ground he went wide in one corner and crashed, but overall he showed once again that he is competitive and he confirmed that with another excellent qualifying session and by fighting in the top five in the race.”Marco Melandri says: “We´ve struggled more at Mugello than we did in France but after the warm-up this morning I knew I was in better shape and I´m happy to have been able to produce a race like that. I honestly didn´t think id be battling with Stoner and De Puniet today because I thought they would both have a higher pace than me but we did a great job, I got a fantastic start and other than losing a little time behind Hayden my pace was good. I want to thank the team, who have suffered in silence all weekend, and this result shows that in future we can never lose faith in our possibilities in a race even when things don´t go our way in practice. Now the target is to improve during practice and make sure we´re in even better shape to race.”
Marco Simoncelli says: “If it wasn´t for the mistake on the first lap I would have been right up there today. I was behind Hayden when he passed Espargarò but I couldn´t quite make it through – there wasn´t enough space and I miscalculated it. We touched and I ran off the track. Thankfully I stayed upright in the gravel and got back on the track. My pace wasn´t as good as yesterday but there were other riders with more problems than me. I gritted my teeth and slowly but surely the guys in front of me got closer. I never gave up and on the last few laps I got past them – I´m delighted. I have finished one place higher than Le Mans but the important thing for us today is that if it wasn´t for a stupid mistake I would have been running with Melandri, De Puniet and Stoner competing for fourth place. ”
Fausto Gresini says: “That was a great race and a fantastic result for us. We were struggling during practice here at Mugello and I´m happy we were able to turn the situation around. It is a good team result – Melandri was brilliant, so was Simoncelli and maybe without that small mistake he could have also been fighting for fourth place. It is the kind of performance we have been looking for and even after a difficult weekend we have found a good compromise and finished with a good race. We still have room to improve and need to take another step forward if we want to give San Carlo and our partners something more to celebrate.”
Ben Spies says: “The goal was top ten, so to be eighth I’m pretty happy with, especially leaving here with solid points after the disappointment of the last two races. I got a great start and felt like I rode as hard as I could and didn’t make too many mistakes but I just couldn’t quite get up close to the battle in front of me and that was a little frustrating. I found myself right on the tail of that pack with Randy, Marco and Casey but I wasn’t going to be able to pass them on the straight. I just tried to stay as close as I could for as long as I could in case something happened with them but everybody kept it upright. I was just hoping that the pack was going to break open and I could pick one of them off but they stayed together. It was a good race and what I needed to build my confidence and experience and now I’m looking forward to Silverstone. That’s a level playing field with nobody knowing the track, so I’ll have less of a disadvantage.”
Colin Edwards says: “I’m really disappointed and a bit mystified because I’ve felt good all weekend and we got the bike working really well again after we switched back to the setting we had at Mugello last year. But it was a struggle from the off and I didn’t feel great at all. The bike was working well. It goes round the corner good, it brakes good and has good traction but I can’t ride in that condition. I felt fatigued really early in the race and was really struggling to change direction with the bike. And at this track you have got a l ot of fast changes of direction that are crucial to help you flow and set good times. I’ve had a bit of an arm pump issue all weekend for the first time in my career and needed quite a few injections to ease that. But I was way below my best physical condition and not just because of that. All I can do is apologise to Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and I wish I knew what was going on. I’ll try and figure it out and be ready to come out fighting strong in Silverstone.”
Herve Poncharal says: “It was a mixed day for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 because we had high hopes after qualifying. Ben did a great job and it was a shame that he could not really force his way into that exciting fight for fourth place. He did everything he could and he never gave up to show how determined he is to achieve a better result. But I think it was obvious that he had a speed issue on the straight a nd that didn’t help him. But it was a race that will be good for his confidence though and he showed that he is capable of easily challenging for the top places. It was a big shame for Colin because it is clear he was not able to ride at his usual level. Colin showed his potential in qualifying with fifth but in the race his physical condition never allowed him to fight at his maximum potential and I feel for him because he too never stop trying to improve his situation. We now look forward to the new challenge of Silverstone hopeful of a positive result.”
Randy De Puniet says: “A top six finish was my target for this race but I am a bit disappointed because I could finish 4th. After the start I pushed hard because in the middle of the first lap I was only 12th and wanted to recover some positions. On second lap I crossed the line eight starting a close battle with Melandri and Stoner throughout the race. At 7 laps to go I tried to take some advantage but it was impossible so I did my best to keep my fourth place. In the last two laps my bike started to shake on the exit of the final turn and I lost a lot of drive so Casey and Marco overtook me. We are still 6th in the classification which is good for me and the Team”.
Fabiano Sterlacchini says: “Unfortunately the result is not what we hoped for, we were aiming to have good placement with both drivers, because we are fully aware of the quality of our bikes. During yesterday’s qualifying we had some problems with Mika’s bike that we had partially solved by changing a few settings and making his bike better balanced for this track. It was a great start for him winning some positions, but when he was in the twelfth position he has slipped compromising his race. I should make my warmest congratulations to Aleix and the other part of the box for the wonderful race. We hope that he will continue to give his best and that he can always gain important positions like today. The eighth place on a so hard track where he has competed only four times in the past is an excellent test for the next races. ”
Aleix Espargarò says: “I am delighted to have reach the eighth position today. After Le Mans Grand Prix I gained more confidence in my potential and I want to try to improve every race so that I can reduce the gap from the best riders. I like so much to be in the front positions, and I’ll do my best to try to improve even more in the next Gran Prix. I’ve had since Friday a great rhythm on this track, I knew I have to give my best to get a good result in my Team’s home track. I had a good start and I was in the sixth position after the first turn. Unfortunately in the first lap I had a contact with Simoncelli and this made me lose some positions, but I held up my concentration acquiring a good rhythm. I lost a couple of positions, overtaken by Capirossi and Edwards, but from the thirteenth lap I conquered back a couple of position and led the group that was fighting for eighth place until the end. This is a great result for me. I’m now looking forward for the next race to try to improve my position. I’m very happy on how this season is now going. Too bad for the races in Qatar and Jerez where I got just one point. I hope that Mika will return to fight soon for the top positions as he has all the qualities to do it.”
Mika Kallio says: “What can I say, this hasn’t been the best weekend for me. The pain I felt in my shoulder and some technical problems I encountered yesterday morning didn’t allowed me to get a good position on the grid. We solved some problems this morning during warm up and I found a considerable improvement in the handling of the bike. I started very well, I immediately gained three positions in few laps and I was very close to the group that was fighting for eighth place. Unfortunately, in turn ten I closed too much my steering and I felt off the bike. I wanted to give my best on this track because it is the Pramac Racing Team home circuit. I will work hard to prove my value in the coming races.”
Loris Capirossi says: “This race is less of a disaster that the last two because I didn’t finish them, but I am really annoyed because we just never found the best solution. Today we started with a setting from warm-up but I just never had a feeling in the front and every time I changed direction I thought I was going to lose it. I nearly crashed a couple of times and had to go a bit slower to make sure I didn’t – I don’t want to be racing like that! The whole team works so hard to find the right solution, but unfortunately we’re not finding what we seek. The engine has improved a lot from last year, but we have something in the chassis or settings that is not working well, so we need to quickly discover what that is and fix it.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “My left arm feels like it is destroyed, but we managed to do what our target was today and that was to finish the race, so that is a small victory for us. On the first lap I tried to ride and change direction quickly, but the first time I felt so much pain I couldn’t keep in touch with any other riders or manage to follow them. I tried to get a good rhythm that I was comfortable with and finish the race. Towards the end I got a feeling that was ok and although I felt much pain all over, I was able to get to the line and get more experience and complete more kilometres. I will now make sure I get close to full recovery for the next GP, it is the Team’s home race and I want to do very well there!”
Paul Denning (Rizla Team Manager) says: “Loris set the fifth quickest lap in warm-up this morning and was confident of a strong race, but, as we’ve found already this year, the feeling from the front and the amount of grip was much less in the race – in fact much less than it had been all weekend – and this is something that Suzuki and the engineers will need to get to the bottom of as soon as possible. Our target has to be more consistency in different conditions so that Loris can push as hard as he wants to and get nearer to the leading group.
“Álvaro’s two points are likely to be the hardest he’ll ever score. It was a fairly heroic effort to complete the 23-laps and the medical team all believe that putting the shoulder through that process will help the recovery. It will put him in a much stronger position for the busy schedule in June and July and he certainly has a better base to begin with at Silverstone in two weeks’ time.”
Hiroshi Aoyama says: “The race was not easy for me today. I had a quite good start and was able to go with the group for some laps, but then I didn’t have grip anymore and I could not keep my lap times. It was so hot today and that is exhausting. Many riders crashed. But this time I didn’t do any mistake in the race. I just hope that next time I can have a better race.”
Daniel Epp (Team Manager) says: “We are not satisfied with this result. In the first part of the race Hiro was quite modest. The second part of the race was better and he could catch up a bit. An 8th place would have been possible today. In the last part of the race Hiro slowed down and lost the time he caught up before. We are not happy with the 11th place and we have to analyse the data to see, what did not work out today.”
Hiroshi Yamada (Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department) says: “I’d like to congratulate Dani and the Repsol Honda Team for their victory today and for their pace that set two new records here at Mugello. We saw a good comparison between our two rear slick tyre options which gave some good battles, such as between Casey, Marco and Randy for fourth. Ben and Aleix also did impressive jobs to finish 7th and 8th here today. We all at Bridgestone Motorsport wish Valentino Rossi a speedy recovery from his injury and hope to see him back in the paddock again soon.”
Tohru Ubukata (Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department) says: “Rear tyre choices were the most varied of the season so far today, which allowed us to again demonstrate that both our hard and medium compound rear slicks have sufficient performance cross-over to operate effectively in the same conditions. The softer rear tyre option proved its durability and consistency throughout the race, as Casey’s last lap was only 0.6seconds slower than his best on lap three. Ultimately though, Dani’s setup using the hard rear tyre proved strongest. On only the fourth lap of the race he set a new lap record which demonstrates good warm-up performance whilst his total race time indicates the balance of good durability of our slick tyres.”
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 42’28.066
2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team + 4.014
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team + 6.196
4. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team + 25.703
5. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 25.735
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP + 25.965
7. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 28.806
8. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team + 40.172
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini + 41.394
10. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 42.107
11. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP + 43.095
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team + 43.363
13. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 + 1’14.393
14. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP + 1’24.389
Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 15 Lap
Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 18 Lap
Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Fiat Yamaha Team90
2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 65
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Fiat Yamaha Team 61
4. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Repsol Honda Team 58
5. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati Marlboro Team 39
6. Randy de Puniet (FRA) LCR Honda MotoGP 36
7. Marco Melandri (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 32
8. Casey Stoner (AUS) Ducati Marlboro Team 24
9. Marco Simoncelli (ITA) San Carlo Honda Gresini 23
10. Ben Spies (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 20
11. Colin Edwards (USA) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 19
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) Aspar Team 19
13. Hiroshi Aoyama (JAP) Interwetten-Honda MotoGP 18
14. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) Pramac Green Team 16
15. Loris Capirossi (ITA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 13
16. Mika Kallio (FIN) Pramac Green Team 12
17. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 8
Mugello: Record Lap – C. Stoner (Ducati) 2008, 1’50.003
Mugello: Best Lap – V. Rossi (Yamaha) 2008, 1’48.130