Mugello MotoGP Pre-Game Talk
Round six of the 2015 MotoGP Championship officially began with the traditional pre-race conference held at the Autodromo del Mugello.
Present were four Italians and two Spaniards. As for the Italians, fielding questions from the international media were the current MotoGP points leader Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), the Ducati Team duo of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso, and Octo Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci. Joining Italy’s fastest MotoGP pilots were Spain’s Jorge Lorenzo – the teammate of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi and winner of the past two rounds in Jerez and Le Mans, and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, the two-time reigning Champion.
The 36-year-old Rossi – the oldest and most experienced rider in 2015 MotoGP – won seven times at Mugello, but his last victory arrived in 2008.
“I’m very happy to arrive in Mugello now, at this point of the season, especially with this speed and being this competitive. It is a great weekend and from when I started in 1996, Mugello, even though Tavulia (his hometown) is closer to Misano, this is the real Italian Grand Prix,” Rossi says.
“There is a great atmosphere, it is one of the best circuits, the layout is fantastic and all of the riders like it a lot. Also the hills, plus the crowd and all of the noise…it is a great place to ride.”
Rossi’s teammate Lorenzo also thinks Mugello is a great place to ride considering he took four wins there. He is looking to carry his momentum from the last two rounds into Mugello.
“We arrive here in Mugello to a completely different track to Le Mans, every year it is a different history, we have to keep demonstrating we can be competitive here. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, but the key point is that we are competitive, we (Movistar Yamaha) have won four out of five races this season, and the bike has improved since last year,” Lorenzo says.
“Plus I am coming here with two back-to-back victories; we need to take advantage of this. For me this is my favorite track, not only because I am fast here, but because I also love to race here.”
Lorenzo is an issue for Dovizioso, considering the switch in point standings following the last two rounds. Dovi, who earned four podiums so far this season, was second behind Rossi until Le Mans, when he dropped back to third due to Lorenzo earning another win.
But Mugello is a special place for Ducati: “It is a big weekend for Ducati, it is important for all the Italian riders but especially for Ducati and we arrive after a nice race in Le Mans,” Dovizioso says.
“I am quite happy about the speed we have although we have to improve the consistency for the whole race, but also we made a test before Le Mans, and I believe we have the speed we just need to work on some small details to try to fight with these guys. I am looking forward to this weekend, as are all the Ducati riders.”
Mugello is also a homerace for Dovi’s teammate Iannone, who will not be 100-percent after discovering he had actually fractured his arm during the Mugello testing crash ahead of Le Mans MotoGP.
But Iannone will give his all for the home crowd: “Le Mans was a difficult race for me with the shoulder, as I was not 100 percent and did not have a good feeling with the shoulder. When I came back home, I had so much pain on the Monday. I was still not 100% and the feeling was difficult, and I wanted a new X-ray,” Iannone says.
“The doctor spotted a new fracture so I am not so happy for this, but okay, I stay calm and think positive for this weekend and I work a lot at home with the physio to improve the situation.”
The other Italian present – for the first press conference of the season – was satellite Ducati pilot Petrucci, who joked about his presence at the conference: “Sincerely I don’t know why I am here, as I have no podiums, maybe this is the closest I will get to the podium! [looking and pointing at his fellow speakers, usual podium finishers].
“For me a great result on Sunday will to be in the top 10, I have done that two times this season, so I am really happy because in 2005 I was watching the race on the TV on the sofa and I had never ridden a bike on a circuit as I came from motocross. So in 10 years to go from watching on TV to be here is a good target, now I just have another ten years until I can go back to the sofa.”
Marquez has had his worst start to a season since joining the premier class in 2013; he took one win at Circuit of the Americas, and had only one other podium at Jerez (second). Marquez had some setbacks; he broke his little finger in a dirt-track training crash ahead of Jerez, but is looking ahead to getting the season back on track at Mugello.
“The season at the moment is not easy but okay, already we won in Austin when we were struggling. We are not far off, okay in Le Mans we were far off, but in the other races, we were not. We will see here that it is a completely different circuit,” Marquez says.
“Last year we struggled little bit, but we won the race, so from first practice we will try to do the best and to be there fighting for the victory.”
The 25-rider MotoGP lineup will grid up Friday for the first two free practices ahead of two additional free practices and qualifying on Saturday.