The press release previews from the Monster Tech 3 and factory Yamaha squads, Mapfre Aspar Ducati, Rizla Suzuki and Bridgestone. And San Carlo Gresini Honda, in which Marco Simoncelli and the team say they have learned from their mistakes:
Bautista in a determined mood ahead of Mugello
Publish Date: Sunday, June 26, 2011
Rizla Suzuki has made a trans-European journey to Italy from The Netherlands for the eighth round of the MotoGP Championship to be held at the beautiful Mugello circuit this weekend.
Álvaro Bautista will be looking to find a solution to the grip issues that he struggled with last time out at Assen. He is hoping that warmer weather conditions and the new surface at Mugello will assist him as he aims to make himself and the Suzuki GSV-R more competitive this coming weekend. Mugello sees the MotoGP circus enter the second half of its exhausting run of six Grands Prix in eight weeks and the Italian track will give the Spaniard a chance to move forward at a circuit he has tasted success at before, winning in the 250cc race in 2007 and finishing in a podium position on two other occasions.
Mugello is located just north of Florence in the stunning Tuscan countryside. It is one of the ‘must-see' events on any motorsport calendar. The fabulous backdrop of the mountains coupled with the natural amphitheatre of the 5,245m long circuit and the always enthusiastic and colourful Italian fans, makes this event a truly memorable occasion. The Mugello circuit is one of the fastest tracks in the world, with average lap speeds of almost 175km/h attainable over its 15 corners and a top speed of 350km/h achievable down the 1.141m long start/finish straight.
Rizla Suzuki, Bautista and the rest of the MotoGP gladiators take to the track on Friday for two 45-minute long free practice sessions, plus a further practice on Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon will then stage the all-important qualifying session, where riders will determine their grid positions for Sunday's 23-lap race that gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on the 3rd of July.
"I really like the Mugello circuit; it is very fast and great fun to ride at. It holds a lot of good memories for me because it is where I won my first 250cc race in 2007 and I have also been on the podium there a couple of times. Last year I was still struggling with my shoulder injury, but I am going there 100% fit this time and determined to do well. The track has a new surface and hopefully that - and hotter weather - will help us to make the bike more competitive, we are all trying hard and the whole crew deserves a bit of a change of luck, so that we can start to move forward."
Edwards and Crutchlow ready for magnificent Mugello
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team's busy schedule continues this weekend when Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow visit the magnificent Mugello circuit for the TIM Grand Prix of Italy, round eight of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship.
The 3.259 miles track is one of the most spectacular and challenging on the calendar and winds around the picturesque Tuscany countryside to provide the ultimate test of man and machine. The track has been resurfaced for 2011 and other riders who have recently tested at Mugello have declared themselves delighted with grip levels and the new tarmac has also removed some of the notoriously bumpy sections.
The TIM Grand Prix of Italy is the fourth race of si x in a hectic eight week period and comes hot on the heels of last weekend's Dutch TT at the historic Assen circuit in which Edwards and Crutchlow looked like scoring the first double top six of the season for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. Unfortunately both encountered front tyre grip issues but still scored points.
With a further six days to have rested since Assen, Edwards and Crutchlow are confident they will be closer to 100 per cent fitness this weekend. The right collarbone Edwards broke in Catalunya on June 3 has quickly regained maximum strength, but muscle damage to his ribcage caused in the same accident is still the source of considerable discomfort for the popular American. With Mugello featuring numerous hard braking points and fast changes of direction, Edwards is expecting to ride through the pain barrier again.
Crutchlow has used the short break after Assen to step up his training regime after he broke his left collarbone in a qualifying crash at the recent British Grand Prix. The 25-year-old performed heroics last weekend to qualify sixth in Assen before he led nine-times world champion in the race in fourth position before he slipped back with front tyre grip problems.
Crutchlow has already demonstrated his skills at learning new tracks with impressive ease in 2011, so he's looking to compete for his maiden top six on Sunday.
Colin Edwards, 9th - 46 points:
"My ribs are still sore from Assen and I'm expecting them to cause me a few problems this weekend because Mugello has a lot of fast changes of direction. That's the point where I suffer the most because I don't have 100 per cent strength in my upper body. I am looking forward to getting to Italy and seeing all the Italian fans. I've loved racing in Ital y right from my World Superbike career and the atmosphere at Mugello is always special. The first job will be checking the new surface. I've heard good reports about it but the extra grip means we'll probably have to tweak the set-up of the bike a little bit. But the Yamaha has been working well recently and I'm sure we've got a competitive package. Hopefully we can have better conditions too. Silverstone and Assen have been pretty wet, so I'm looking forward to a whole weekend where we can put on a show for the fans on a dry track."
Cal Crutchlow, 14th - 32 points:
"I was disappointed last weekend in Assen because I'm sure I could have got my best MotoGP result, but I'm determined to make up for it with a strong performance in Mugello. After all the effort I put in to ride, it was a pity not to finish where I should have done last weekend but I can't change what happened an d now my focus is solely on doing the best job I can in Mugello. It is another new track for me again and it is going to be very difficult. But I've done a decent job at the other tracks I'd never seen before this year, so I'm confident I can be competitive. It looks like very technical with lots of different challenges but I'm up for it."
Located 30km north-east of Florence in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, Mugello is a modern circuit with excellent facilities. Bought by Ferrari back in 1988, the 5.245km track has been renovated to a high standard and has a growing reputation as one of the world's most up-to-date, scenic and safest race circuits.
A blend of slow and fast turns with sweeping curves, long straights and off-camber corners make Mugello one of the most challenging circuits for the riders and engineers. Having hosted its first MotoGP event back in 1976 the venue became a permanent fixture in 1991 after extensive refurbishment. Set within a beautiful tree lined Tuscan valley, Mugello also offers ample viewing areas for a particularly boisterous and partisan Italian crowd.
Length: 5.245 m. / 3,259 miles
Left corners: 6
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 1.141 m. / 0,709 miles
Fastest Lap: 2008 - Valentino ROSSI (ITA), Yamaha - 1'48.130
Circuit Record: 2010 - Dani PEDROSA (SPA), Honda - 1'49.531
Best Pole: 2008 - Valentino ROSSI (ITA), Yamaha - 1'48.130
Top Speed: 2009 - Dani PEDROSA (SPA), Honda - 349.3 km/h
Mugello Welcomes a Confident Yamaha Team
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team head straight to Mugello this week in optimistic mood after a text book maiden MotoGP victory by rider Ben Spies and an impressive ride by Jorge Lorenzo at last weekend's 81st Assen TT. The back to back races offer an opportunity for the riders to pick up quickly where they left off in The Netherlands where they celebrated the first of the year's 50th Anniversary of Grand Prix racing events. The Tuscan circuit is just two hours drive from the team's headquarters near Milan so forms an honorary home race for the team.
Lorenzo has a strong record at Mugello, winning in the 250cc class and claiming two premier class second place finishes in 2009 and 2010 with the Yamaha Factory Team. Spies performed well on his first visit to the Italian track last year, taking seventh after an intense battle which saw him ride as high as fourth at times.
Mugello can lay claim to being one of the fastest circuits in the world. The main straight is over a kilometre long and witnesses speeds of over 320km/hr by the GP riders before dropping into the downhill right hand corner at the end. Combine this with varied camber and gradient changes, high speed chicanes and an extra wide track and the thousands of passionate fans who flock to the surrounding hillsides are guaranteed some intense racing action.
"These few days off seem to have taken forever, when you finish a race like Assen you just want to get straight back in and try to do it again. My first GP victory still hasn't sunk in properly; it was pretty special for me to be able to do it at such a legendary circuit and at this unique time in Yamaha's history. The red and white livery definitely bought me luck! I'm looking forward to Mugello, the track has apparently got a new surface with lots of grip so it should be pretty good for the bike and pretty exciting for the fans."
"We are going to Mugello, no time to rest and think about what happened last Saturday. The team did a great job and I believe the bike now can be better, making a step ahead. We have to be positive after all! Mugello is a track I like so much, maybe one of the most beautiful around the world, my favourite with Phillip Island. This track is full of chicanes and this year there is new asphalt! I've never won in MotoGP, but we will try to be there and give a show to all our fans. Also I hope the weather changes after the previous races, summer has arrived."
"After a very strange round in Assen with the 50th Anniversary event, unpredictable weather and eventful race we go to a little bit more of a stable weekend with some guaranteed sunshine. It should be a very hot race, a great track and a lot of spectators so I'm looking forward to it. Mugello is a very smooth track which Jorge likes and it suits our bike. We've been able to win there with Yamaha and they've changed the surface so it's very flat with lots of grip. Let's see if we can have two on the podium, that's our goal."
"We are coming to Mugello with a lot of confidence. In Assen we had a really strong performance so there's no better way to be positive thinking about this round. The performance of both riders showed their potential to fight at the front last weekend. We think the weather should be a lot better than the last couple of rounds so we're looking forward to continuing the good performance, especially as both riders are fans of the Mugello circuit."
SIMONCELLI GETS QUICK OPPORTUNITY TO FORGET ASSEN AT MUGELLO
Marco Simoncelli left Holland on Saturday with a bitter taste in his mouth and the knowledge that a mistake had cost him dearly. It was possibly his first real error of the season and it involuntarily involved Jorge Lorenzo. The correct strategy would have been to wait and not doing so led to another potentially exciting race going up in tyre smoke. Another forgettable race, which started with confusion on the grid over which setting to opt for – wet or dry – which unsettled Marco. The team also accepts its own responsibility and the experience will be a valuable one for everybody involved. However, their home race at Mugello is immediately on the horizon and it promises to be another tense one as the team and "Super Sic" look to make up ground in the championship. The key will be to remain calm because the potential is there and now is the time to back it up with a result. Mugello provides a stunning amphitheatre and only the most determined performers will come out with a result. Hiroshi Aoyama returns to the fold this week after a positive experience at Assen on the factory RC212V with the Repsol Honda Team.
Marco Simoncelli "My first reaction when I came into the box after the race, as well as bitterness and disappointment, was that I had been a fool because I could have waited. I made a mistake and it cost me dearly as well as involuntarily taking Lorenzo down too. I was sorry for him but more than that I am was for myself because I had thrown away a big opportunity. It was probably my biggest mistake of the season, I have reflected a lot on it and it will help me to grow. Now I just want to look ahead to Mugello with calmness and motivation. Everybody is expecting big things from me and I have to repay that faith with a positive result that will put recent history firmly behind us. I am fast, I have found a perfect feeling with the bike and I am extremely determined to prove it in a race. There will be a lot of fans packed around the hills of Mugello and I don't want to, and cannot afford to, disappoint them. I love the track, it is one of my favourites and I won my first race here in 2008 in 250 before finishing second to Pasini in a great battle in 2009. I can't wait to get back on track!"
Hiroshi Aoyama "I tried to enjoy the opportunity to ride the Repsol Honda factory RC212V as best I could but unfortunately with the mixed weather conditions Assen wasn't the ideal place to be riding such a demanding bike. I am happy to have had the chance though and now I look forward to returning to my team and picking up from where we left off before this brief but constructive interruption. "
Fausto Gresini "Unfortunately we came away from Assen without the result Marco was capable of. Marco made a mistake, maybe his first one of the season, but as a team we are all responsible because we didn't create the right mindset for him on the starting grid. We made a lot of changes to the bike and that certainly didn't help to create an air of calm. It is a mistake we won't make again and it forms part of the experience for all of us. Tomorrow we head to Mugello and we have to think carefully about our home Grand Prix. The potential of Marco and the team is very high and now is the time to pick up a result that is right there on the doorstep. A home Grand Prix is never easy and there is always a certain amount of tension around but we all have to find the concentration levels to perform well. Marco deserves it, the team deserves it, the sponsor San Carlo deserves it and so do all the partners who have shown belief in this project."
MARVELLOUS MUGELLO WELCOMES MOTOGP TO TUSCANY
MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá looking for dramatic turnaround
The racing season extends from the circuits of Europe to the roads this week as the teams and riders make a dash across the continent from Holland to Italy for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship this weekend. Having raced at Assen just a few days ago the riders will be back on track this Friday at Mugello, the eighth round of the season and one of only six on the calendar that measures more than 5km in length. Constant elevation changes and impossible corners, as well as the longest straight on the calendar (1.141km) makes this one of the most challenging venues to ride a MotoGP machine. Casey Stoner has taken control of the points standings over the past two rounds but Jorge Lorenzo is in hot pursuit and the likes of Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli and Andrea Dovizioso will be desperate for home glory.
Two tough weekends at Assen and Silverstone are already in the past for MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá, who is keen to wipe the slate clean with a positive and optimistic approach to the Italian Grand Prix. A host of changes to his set-up and a radical approach to improving his form at all costs is on the Spaniard's 'to do' list this weekend. He knows it won't be easy because Mugello is as long and technical a circuit as you could find but the challenge of racing at the home of Ducati is an extra motivation for him to make up for his disappointment at the last two rounds.
Héctor Barberá: "We saw at Assen that the set-up we have been working with has no room to progress so we decided to take a step backwards. The idea is to take one step back and two forwards so we plan to go back to something more like the set-up we had at the start of the year, which we have drifted away from lately. We can't afford to have another race like the one in Holland so this weekend we will be working around the clock to be ready for the race. I like Mugello and I hope that the weather is good to us so that we can complete all the work we have planned."
Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 8: Italy, Mugello
Tuesday 28 June 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard
The fast and flowing Mugello circuit is a fan favourite but particularly demanding on tyres because of the high speed, heavy braking and marked elevation changes. In response, and as part of work to ensure ongoing improvement, this year Bridgestone will bring asymmetric rear slick tyres to the 5.245km Italian venue.
With nine right-handed corners and six lefts, the left shoulders of the rear tyres are now softer than they were last year with this introduction of asymmetric rear slicks, meaning improved warm-up performance and grip on the lesser-used side of the tyres. This is one of the five additional circuits that we will bring asymmetric rear slicks to compared to last year.
There are several facets of Mugello that combine to make it such a challenge for tyres. The circuit is grippy and abrasive which means that tyre wear is generally higher; temperature is usually high in the region with track temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius not uncommon; there are a proliferation of long and high speed corners which demand good edge grip; and several downhill heavy braking areas that place high loads on the front tyres. The circuit has also been resurfaced this year and a lot of the bumps removed, but from tests at the venue with Ducati this year analysis shows that the grip is good and abrasion is similar to the old surface.
The high straight-line speed also places significant loads on the centre section of the tyres. Last year Dani Pedrosa set a new lap record with an average speed of 172.39km/h, making it the third fastest circuit on the calendar, and in 2009 Pedrosa set a top speed record of 349.3km/h. Along with Catalunya, Motegi and Sepang it is the hardest circuit for the centre section of the rear tyres.
Last year Pedrosa won from pole to take his first victory of the year ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. This year the race is run one month later at the start of July, and as round eight of the season, and having missed the last three rounds with a broken collarbone, Pedrosa is hoping to return to action at Mugello.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Mugello is always a spectacular venue for MotoGP, and I'm sure this year there will be even more atmosphere as it is the first Italian race with Valentino on a Ducati! It is Casey at the front of the championship standings however, and the man who has quickly established himself as the rider to beat this season, and coming from his dominating victory at Silverstone and second at Assen his confidence and momentum will be very high. Mugello is the fourth race in five weeks as the championship really accelerates during the summer months, but it is important to keep momentum and motivation high as there are still two races to go before the end of the month. After the mixed conditions at Silverstone and Assen everyone will be hoping for a dry and warmer weekend to really get a measure of performance as we approach the midpoint of the season."
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres because of this speed, the track temperature that can reach above 50 degrees Celsius, and its technically demanding nature. Run one month later this year, in the height of European summer, track temperature will potentially play even more of an important role. With tyre wear likely to be higher with the increased temperature, bike setup and riding style must be optimised to use the tyres in the most efficient way. This year we have selected asymmetric rear slick tyres for Mugello to improve warm-up performance on the left side and give the riders a more consistent feeling throughout the lap through the nine right-hand corners and the six lefts.
"The track has been resurfaced but traditionally is grippy and abrasive and there are significant elevation changes which add to the challenge. From data we have gained during the Ducati tests at Mugello this season I can say that the surface is much smoother and we expect tyre wear to be similar to last year so, apart from bringing asymmetric rear slicks this time, we have not changed our basic compound selection. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tyre for good braking stability, whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and shoulder grip from the rear tyre. Around the left-handers, this is where our asymmetric rear slicks will be of particular benefit. Top speed is one of the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the tyres so a strong carcass and construction are required for straight-line stability."