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Rossi & Marquez Highlight 2014 Mugello MotoGP Press Conference
Fenati, Bautista, Rossi, Marquez, Lorenzo and Iannone

2014 Mugello MotoGP Press Conference

The Grand Prix of Italy officially got underway Thursday with the traditional pre-race press conference at the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit.

Highlighting the conference was Italy’s hero, nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi, and the man who continues to rewrite MotoGP history, the reigning champion Marc Marquez.

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The Italian and Spaniard were joined by Jorge Lorenzo, Alvaro Bautista, Andrea Iannone and the Italian Moto3 pilot Romano Fenati.

Repsol Honda’s Marquez won the opening five rounds from the pole – a feat only last completed by Giacomo Agostini in 1971 – and has hopes of maintaining his 100-percent win record.

“I got my first win in Grand Prix in 125cc here but last year it was the most difficult weekend of the year for me at Mugello,” Marquez says.

“In the race though I was fighting for podium and I was quite close to the front before I crashed. One year later and with more experience I hope it will be better. A lot of people will be supporting Valentino and I know Jorge will be fast as he has won for last three years here, but I will look to fight for the victory.”

Mugello is Rossi’s favorite circuit, and this weekend’s round six of 18 will be extra special – it’s the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilots 300th GP start.

“I’m happy to be celebrating my 300th Grand Prix here in Mugello but I’m happier to be arriving here in good shape,” Rossi says.

“It’s important to keep improving, to keep working with the bike and improving my speed. I want to have a good weekend like at Le Mans and Jerez and fight for the podium. This is a good track for Yamaha on paper but Honda have raised their level and it will be hard to beat Marc.”

As for Rossi’s teammate, his performance has been sour so far in 2014 MotoGP. But he’ll be looking to improve this weekend.

“In Le Mans I hoped to make a good start and to overtake a few riders but I couldn’t. I thought I had made an improvement to the setting but it was worse than I had hoped for in the race. Anyway I am confident here. It’s a special race, it’s a beautiful track and for me it has been a great place. Hopefully we can do something like last year,” Lorenzo says.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista struggled in the beginning of the season, but took his first podium two weeks ago at Le Mans. The Spaniard will hope to emulate this performance aboard his satellite RC213V.

“Le Mans was great for us but now it’s different and we have to start working from the first day of the Grand Prix,” Bautista says. “The aim is to stay on the same level but to finish in the top five here could be quite difficult. I expect Dani (Pedrosa) and Jorge to be more competitive here.”

Many Ducatisti will cheer on the GP14 riders, including Pramac Racing Ducati’s Andrea Iannone. The Italian suffered two DNFs at the last two rounds (Le Mans, Jerez). The cheering fans at Mugello should provide that extra push Iannone needs for positive results.

“My bike this year is not too bad, but in the last two races we have not been able to get good results as I’ve crashed out. Ducati are working hard for me and I want to improve the results. Last year I had a lot of injuries but this year I don’t have any physical problems and I have a good feeling,” Iannone says.

“Mugello is a special weekend and for me in particular as I have an Italian bike and an Italian team. I want to improve on my best result in MotoGP this weekend.”

Fenati is Rossi’s “pupil” on SKY Racing Team VR46 Moto3 team. He is currently second place in the standings, and has won twice this season at Argentina and Jerez.

“I am very happy with my form and the start of the season but now we need to work this way throughout the championship,” Fenati says.

““I think we can get some more good results and especially here at Mugello. We have started to work today to get things right for the weekend and we’ll see what we can do. I just want to do my best.”

Earlier Thursday, the “Infiorata di Scarperia” flower festival received some special guests as Italian riders Michele Pirro, Francesco Bagnaia, Andrea Locatelli and Matteo Ferrari dropped in at the event. That quartet and all their compatriots at Mugello will be looking to put on a good show for the home fans at one of the most colorful weekends on the MotoGP calendar, MotoGP reports.

The riders will be on the Mugello circuit Friday for the opening two free practices. For a preview, visit 2014 Mugello MotoGP Preview.