Andrea Dovizioso has topped the first session of free practice for the MotoGP class. The Factory Ducati rider took advantage of the data collected during the test with the team had here just over two weeks ago, and was very quickly up to speed, being at or close to the top all session long. Only Jorge Lorenzo could break his hegemony, the Movistar Yamaha rider still on a roll from his last two races, and very quickly up to speed.
Enea Bastianini got his home Grand Prix off to a flying start, topping the first session of free practice in the Moto3 class. Danny Kent ended the session in 2nd, finding some speed at the end of the session after being well down the order early on. Niccolo Antonelli is third fastest, half a second behind Bastianini, and just ahead of Karel Hanika, the first rider on a KTM.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone ahead of this weekend's Italian GP at Mugello:
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Leads Championship Heading to Italian Grand Prix
After a perfect weekend at Le Mans, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo prepare to go all out at Mugello for the Italian Grand Prix.
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 27th May 2015
Press release previews of Mugello from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 ready for next challenge at Mugello
Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Navarro, arrive at the Tuscan circuit with 52 and 12 points, respectively, and motivated after the experience gained in the five Grands Prix contested thus far.
Tuscany in Italy is the latest destination for Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 as they contest round six of the World Championship this weekend.
I shall spare you the "rolling Tuscan hills" patter. That cliché will be trotted out in most of the press releases and previews you will read. Indeed, it is one I have done to death in many of my own previews of the race. Like all clichés, it is based on an underlying truth: the Mugello circuit is a breathaking track, set in a stunning location, and scene of some of the greatest racing over the thirty Grand Prix which have been held here since 1976. So good is the track that it has remained virtually unchanged, with only minor tweaks to improve safety. There are still a few spots which could use some improvement. The wall at the end of the main straight could use being moved further to the left, and the gravel trap on the exit of Poggio Secco is terrifyingly small, but fixing these would require moving some serious quantities of earth about. But this is Mugello, and so we look away and carry on. At least the astroturf has been removed, removing one possible source of danger.
The setting and the racetrack mean that this is always one of the highlights of the year, but 2015 could be even better than usual. It might even live up to the hype, of which there is justifiably plenty. But where to begin? With Valentino Rossi, the man who once owned Mugello, winning seven races in a row between 2002 and 2008, and who is both leading the championship and in the form of his life? With his teammate perhaps, Jorge Lorenzo, who has won half of the last six races here, and finished second in the other half? A Lorenzo, we might add, who is now firmly on a roll, steamrollering the opposition at both Jerez and Le Mans? How about Ducati, the factory just an hour up the road from their official test track, and a place where Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone had a test just three weeks ago, lapping at pretty much race record pace? Or with Marc Márquez, perhaps, the reigning championship struggling during the defense of his second title, the Honda clearly having taken a step backwards over the winter (or rather, taken a small step sideways while Yamaha and Ducati have taken giant leaps forward)?
Perhaps we should allow seniority, both in years and in championship position, to prevail. Can Valentino Rossi do it again at Mugello? If ever there was a year where the Italian could emerge victorious at his spiritual home, this is surely it. Rossi returned to the podium here last year, for the first time since 2009. He had appeared on the podium for each of the three years previously, but only after being called there to greet fans after the real podium ceremony, for the three riders who finished first, were over. Those appearances were painful, most of all for Rossi. He wanted to earn it, be on the podium on merit, rather than popularity. In 2014, he did just that, finishing in third behind Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo. Not close enough to do battle with them, but close enough to dream of more.
MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Planes, trains, autocycles…
The Suzuki ECSTAR MotoGP team tonight issued the following press release, announcing that Aleix Espargaro's surgery to fix the thumb injury he suffered in the crash at Le Mans was successful. Espargaro will now start his physical rehabilitation, and hopes to be ready for Mugello. His fitness will be assessed next Wednesday, 27th May, and a decision taken on his participation then.
SUCCESSFUL SURGERY FOR ESPARGARO
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 19.
It is ironic that now we are getting into the meat of the motorcycle racing season, there should be so little news to speak of. But perhaps it is a matter of perspective: there is plenty of real news to be found in motorcycle racing, but it is to be found and read where you would expect to find it, in the middle of every race weekend. That is especially true now that MotoGP and World Superbikes have returned to a more fan-friendly schedule, the two world championships alternating weekends again, with BSB, the CEV and MotoAmerica filling in any gaps when they appear.
Below is a press release issued by the Ducati MotoGP team after two days of private testing at Mugello. The pole lap record for Mugello is held by Dani Pedrosa, at 1'47.157, and the race lap record is held by Marc Marquez, 1'47.639.
Two days of private testing for Ducati Team conclude at Mugello with excellent times for Iannone and Dovizioso
The Pramac Racing team issued the following press release with Pramac CEO and team principal Paolo Campinoti. In it, Campinoti discusses the link with Ducati, his fifteen years in the MotoGP paddock, and the emotional significance of racing at Mugello.
Campinoti: "Pramac Racing is our brand ambassador. And Mugello is our Maracanà"