2016 Mugello MotoGP Friday Results
The Ducati Desmosedici is the perfect mate for the Mugello circuit. Not because both are Italian, but rather the track’s layout caters to the Ducati, especially the front straight where last year Andrea Iannone beat his previous top speed record.
The Italian’s speed? Just under 218 mph, the Desmo about 5 mph faster than the Yamaha YZR-M1, Honda RC213Vs and the Suzuki GSX-RR. Last year at Mugello, Iannone also earned the pole – his first ever in MotoGP – and finished the 2015 Italian Grand Prix second behind winner and eventual champion, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo.
And after the opening day of free practice Friday at Mugello for round six of 18, Iannone was once again the quickest rider. Iannone, who joins Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2017 following four years aboard Ducati machinery, was untouchable during the second free practice that was held under dry conditions.
The 26-year-old Italian set a quickest time of 1:47.696, 0.461 of a second ahead of Lorenzo, who joins Ducati in 2017. Claiming the final provisional front-row qualifying positing was Official Ducati Team test rider Michele Pirro, who finished 0.549 of a second back. Pirro is riding as a Wildcard, swelling the grid to 22 riders.
“I am pleased because here at Mugello we are racing at home, it’s a very important race for us and so we absolutely have to work to the best of our potential. At the start of the afternoon session I struggled a bit because the track did not have as much rubber as it did when we tested here before Le Mans,” Iannone says. “We’ve got a bit less grip, especially at the rear, and at the start my feeling wasn’t so good. Then the feeling improved and I was able to push hard. In the end it was a very positive session, although tomorrow we still have to improve certain aspects, which we have already identified.”
Heading up the provisional second row was Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro, who has yet to sign a contract for 2017 MotoGP – though his teammate Maverick Vinales joins Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team 2017/2018.
Espargaro was just 0.025 of a second off Lorenzo’s pace. Following the GSX-RR pilot was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, who won at Mugello in 2014, and Rossi.
Rounding out the top 10 were Vinales, Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Yakhnich), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3); although Iannone was nearly a half second ahead of second-placed Lorenzo, Pol Espargaro was the final rider to post within a second of the Italian, showing the closeness of the grid.
As for Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who begins his 250th Grand Prix Sunday, he finished 11th, 1.107 of a second off the top time. Also, Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso suffered from severe neck pain, and finished 13th, 1.120 seconds off the pace.
The opening free practice was plagued by rain; leading that session with a much slower 1:54,199 was Aspar Team MotoGP’s Yonny Hernandez.
The 22-rider grid returns to Tuscany’s Mugello for two additional free practices ahead of qualifying for Sunday’s 23-lap Italian Grand Prix.
Photos by Alessandra Marovino
2016 Mugello MotoGP Friday Practice Results
2016 Mugello MotoGP Friday – Photo Gallery