Pedrosa Headlines MotoGP Riders at Mugello Press Conference

Mugello MotoGP Pre-Race Press Conference

Mugello MotoGP Pre-Race Press Conference

2013 Mugello MotoGP Press Conference

Some of MotoGP’s top riders were present Thursday at the official pre-race press conference at ahead of the Grand Prix of Italy at Mugello.

Answering questions for the press were the currently championship points leader, Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, along with the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow, and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone. Also on stage was Ducati Corse General Manager Bernhard Gobmeier due to the race being Ducati’s home round.

Pedrosa has been in dominate form so far in the first four rounds of 18. This is the first time Pedrosa led the championship points race in almost five years. And with his finishes so far this season (fourth at Qatar, second at Circuit of the Americas, wins at Jerez and Le Mans), he is the biggest threat to taking the title from his fellow Spaniard Lorenzo.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda R213V MotoGP) says:”The last races went very well, and Mugello is a track I like to ride. I hope the bike is working well and I want to have a good weekend.”

With rain in the forecast for this weekend’s Mugello MotoGP, Pedrosa is happy on his progress aboard the RC213V in the wet: “I did improve riding in the wet these last years. I have better feeling and am more confident, but still need to be focused.”

His rival Lorenzo’s season is going in the opposite direction. The two-time MotoGP Champion will be looking to redeem himself following a seventh-place finish at Le Mans.

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says:”It was a big disappointment in Le Mans. But this happens in a race, and it has been a long time since it happened to us. We have to accept it and look to the future with optimism. We didn’t expect to start the way we did in Qatar, but we also didn’t expect Le Mans. But I’m very optimistic and looking forward to racing here.”

Lorenzo then spoke of the lack of rear tire grip he had at Le Mans: “The tyre gave a different feeling, but the ‘scientific’ reasons are difficult to explain.”

At Le Mans two weeks ago, the Brit Crutchlow took his podium of 2013 MotoGP, and will be looking to improve at Mugello.

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “I was pleased for myself and the team – we did a good job in Le Mans. It looks like it will be rain here again, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be fast. You don’t want it wet! But there’s nothing to say if it’s dry here I can’t finish second.”

He also spoke about his right shin, which still has a break at the top, saying that it doesn’t hurt unless he touches it or runs on it, yet joked that his team manager Herve Poncharal’s dog “helped” the healing process by jumping on it.

For nine-time World Champion Rossi, this is arguably his biggest occasion in years, as he looks to impress his home crowd once more aboard the M1.

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Factory Racing YZR-M1 MotoGP) says: “The first race in Qatar was great, but since then we’ve been struggling too much; we expected to be stronger. This weekend is something special – the crowd, the track! I have extra motivation to be up at the front. But we have to work more, as we need to increase my speed and my potential. Now in MotoGP you need to be 100% in all practices, and more than 100% in the race.”

Rossi also talked about the level of the riders at top: “For me it is not right to talk about the ‘next level’ – they are the ‘new model’. The way to ride the bike has changed a lot, and now you need to do different things, [adding with a wry smile] which is difficult for and ‘old rider’ like me.”

MotoGP rookie Iannone has endured a tough season so far, with the Italian not only getting to grips with the Desmosedici, but also suffering numerous injuries.

Andrea Iannone (Pramac Ducati GP13 MotoGP) says: “The first four races were difficult for me, first with the problem with my arms and then with my knee. But Dr. Costa has helped me a lot. Coming to MotoGP is a very big difference because of the big power, and the brakes are very different. At the start it was very difficult, but it is getting a bit easier now.”

The German Gobmeier, who has been given the challenging task of turning Ducati’s fortunes around, gave an insight into the progression so far and the expectations he has ahead of the race at the team’s home track.

Bernhard Gobmeir (Ducati Corse General Manager) says: “I am confident that we have improved. For sure we have pressure [at the home race], but on the other hand it’s motivation – motivation to excel here. I think it was clear to everybody it will be a hard task, and of course we have to catch up. But other teams are making progress as well. We are content, and are doing it step-by-step, but we can’t promise anything – except that that we are giving 100%.”

And speaking about rumors of a brand new bike being tested in Catalunya in just over two weeks time, Gobmeir says: “No, I don’t know where these rumors come from. On the ‘lab bike’ we change things to try them out, and then we wait until we know a step has been made before bring it into a race.”

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