Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone previewing the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello:
MotoGP circus heads to Italy with Repsol Honda Team in the driving seat
After continuing their perfect start to 2014 in Le Mans last week, the Repsol Honda Team and factory riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa are en route to Tuscany, Italy.
Marc, who has won every race so far this season – and all from pole – has been victorious on two occasions in Mugello (2011 in Moto2 and 2010 in 125cc) and suffered one of only two DNF’s of 2013 here when he crashed out from second place with just three laps remaining (the other being a blah flag in Phillip Island). Dani, who celebrates eight podium finishes in Mugello including two victories (2010 in MotoGP, 2005 in 250cc) will be looking to enjoy a better weekend after only managing fifth place in Le Mans and is now 42 points behind Marc in the Championship.
Just 30km north east of Florence, Mugello was first opened in 1974 and at 5.245km in length, it’s one of the longest tracks on the calendar. Through its mix of nine right-hand turns and six lefts – some fast, some slow – changes in radius, camber and gradient, Mugello is one of the most popular circuits among Grand Prix riders, and its 1.141km straight is also the longest.
Championship Standing: 1st - 125 points
“Le Mans was a great weekend for us and although it may look easy from the outside, it is a result of a lot hard work with the team over the weekend to set the bike up. Mugello is a tricky circuit - one of the hardest on the calendar - and we struggled a lot last year. I had many crashes over the weekend and then crashed out of the race also. Now I have an extra year’s experience and I hope it will go more smoothly for us! I know that Valentino will be very strong at his ‘home’ race, Jorge has won there for the past three years and Dani is also very fast there, so we will need to stay focused and if we cannot challenge for the win then we must take important points for the Championship”
Championship Standing: 2nd - 83 points
"Mugello is a very fast track with many long corners so finding the optimum set up and grip is essential. The atmosphere is also very special in Mugello and the weather usually perfect so I look forward to going there and racing in front of a full crowd! In the past few races my overall pace has been good but I’m hoping to improve in qualifying”
THE TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI AIMS TO IMPRESS IN FRONT OF HOME CROWD
The Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini is back in action this weekend for the first of the two home races on the calendar, the Italian Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello: nestled in the Tuscan hills, the circuit is less than 80 km from the Team’s base in Faenza.
After the fantastic podium finish clinched at Le Mans, Alvaro Bautista arrives in Italy driven by a strong motivation, aiming to reverse the trend in a race that saw him struggling in the recent years: in his MotoGP career the Spaniard MotoGP has in fact a tenth place as best result at Mugello, obtained in 2012.
His team-mate, Scott Redding, will try to confirm himself as the best rider aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R machine, an achievement he has already obtained in the opening round in Qatar and in the recent French Grand Prix. The British rookie, who won the Moto2 race last year at Mugello starting from pole position, collected 18 points so far, 5 less than his direct rival, Nicky Hayden.
ALVARO BAUTISTA “In Le Mans we had a great race, but we want to keep our feet firmly on the ground, so we look at Mugello with the same attitude as always, working step by step. The podium obtained in France, however, allows us to be more relaxed on a track with long, fast corners which might be difficult for us. Our bike has improved in several areas after the Jerez post-race test, especially regarding suspension and brakes: improvements which helped us on a track like Le Mans; if they will prove to be useful also in Mugello, we can say that we start from a really good base. It will be difficult to get on the podium, we have to be realistic, but we will try to stay as close as possible to the factory bikes, as always. This Grand Prix is also really important for all the team, so it would be nice to get a good result in front of so many people who will come to support us, for the sponsors and for all the guys of the team”.
SCOTT REDDING “I won the race last year at Mugello in Moto2 quite comfortably: I enjoy the track a lot and I’m sure that it’s going to be even more exciting with a MotoGP bike. I’ve tested there with a MotoGP in the past, so I already know a little bit the reference points. Mugello is a very phisical circuit, with many changes of direction, and also it’s going to be hot there, so I’m going to prepare myself for that, in order to be ready to fight again. Finally, the track needs to be smooth and flowing, so it could be a little bit more difficult for our bike, but we never know what can happen, so we will see how it goes”.
FAUSTO GRESINI “The beautiful podium in Le Mans is undoubtedly giving a good charge to the whole team to face this important race; although in recent years our home Grand Prix has always proved to be difficult, this year we are convinced that we can do well. It will be essential to stay focused and try to avoid mistakes: we want to leave a beautiful memory for all the people who support us, also to forget last year’s disappointment, when Alvaro crashed on the first lap. The level is very high and it won’t be easy, but we believe in it and we will give our best, as always. The goal with Redding is to get the best position possible, considering the performance of his bike: we are pleased with the performance he showed so far and we hope that in Mugello, a track that he likes very much, Scott may result again the fastest rider aboard the Open Class Honda”.
Espargaro and Smith raring to go at Mugello
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith will once again fight to finish round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in strong positions at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM event.
The action will commence this Friday at the twisting 5245 metre circuit, 30 kilometres northeast of Firenze. The historic track is a popular event for spectators and riders alike featuring six left hand corners and nine right of varying degrees and speed. It is also one of the lengthiest tracks on the Grand Prix calendar featuring the longest straight of all the rounds with a distance of 1141 metres.
Rookie Pol Espargaro will look to build on his superbly executed result of 4th position at the team’s home GP of Le Mans by continuing his learning process on a MotoGP bike at Mugello. Whilst Bradley Smith, who holds the track in high regard, will look to add to his history of convincing results at the famous Tuscan track a battle inside the top five.
Championship : 7th
Points : 38
“I am excited to ride at Mugello which is a track I thoroughly enjoy and one that will suit the Yamaha YZR-M1 favourably due to it’s sweeping and fast flowing corners. However it looks like it will rain during the weekend which could be tricky as I have not ridden in the wet on a MotoGP bike before. Yet as always I will aim to learn as much as possible especially in the damp conditions and will focus on getting a strong setup so that I can be as prepared as possible for the race at this technical and demanding circuit. I qualified on pole here in Moto2 in 2012 plus scored 3 podiums in the 125 and Moto2 classes so I look forward to building on my experience.”
Championship : 9th
Points : 34
“After a tricky race at Le Mans I am ready and excited for Mugello which is one of my favourite tracks. I really like the nature of the circuit plus Yamaha is the most successful MotoGP manufacturer at this track so we must feel confident. I won from pole position in 2009 in the 125 class and also qualified on the front row before clinching 3rd in 2011 on the Tech3 Moto2 bike, so I know I can ride well here. We’ll have to take it step by step as it could rain, but I aim to get a solid setup sorted on Friday so that I can get a top 6 qualifying position in preparation for the 23-lap race on Sunday. The crowd is always amazing, also the track is fantastic so I am ready to fight for success.”
Hervé Poncharal - Team Manager:
“This week the MotoGP paddock will return to Mugello for what will be another truly amazing race for the fans. There is something special about this event with the crowd always being magnificent. Both of our riders are feeling really optimistic for the race with Pol achieving a great result last time at our home Grand Prix in Le Mans and Bradley really enjoying the circuit having had some great results here previously. The weather forecast suggests a wet weekend which will make things really interesting on track, yet it’s always fun in Mugello so we are sure the weather won’t dampen anyone’s spirits.”
Home race atmosphere greets Ducati Team at Mugello
This week the Ducati Team arrives at the spectacular Autodromo del Mugello in the heart of the Tuscany hills for the Italian GP, which is always one of the most popular and prestigious rounds in the calendar.
For the two Ducati Team riders, it is a truly special event, seeing as it is the home race for the Borgo Panigale manufacturer and is sure to attract massive numbers of tifosi to the Ducati Grandstand at the Correntaio curve.
Andrea Dovizioso, in his second year on the Desmosedici, began his GP career in the 125cc class in 2001 at Mugello, while for Cal Crutchlow it will be the first time on a Ducati at the Tuscany circuit.
Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro will also be taking part in the Mugello race, running as a wild-card entry for the second time this season on the GP14 ‘lab’ bike.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04)
“The Mugello circuit suits the characteristics of our GP14 a bit better, so I think we can go quite well during the weekend. Our approach in any case is to get the most as possible out of the bike. Last year I scored a good fifth place and I hope to do a good race again this year. Before Le Mans we did a private test here with some positive feedback, and now I can’t wait to get to Mugello for our home race, where there is always a special atmosphere.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35)
“I think coming to Italy, the home of Ducati, and Mugello is a really great experience. The track was very kind to me last year, when I qualified fourth and finished on the podium with third. Me and Andrea will be pushing 100% to try and be competitive with the other guys on the grid, even though it’s not going to be easy. I’m also really looking forward to all the support from the Ducati fans at our home race, and I feel sure it’s going to be crazy!”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51)
“It’s always really emotional to race here at Mugello, one of the most beautiful circuits in the championship. For us it’s also our home race, seeing as the Ducati factory is less than an hour away from here. It’s a track we know very well and as a result we hope to do well: me and the other two Ducati Team riders will do our best to give some satisfaction to our fans. In addition, about 50 members of my fan club will be joining the Ducati Grandstand and so for me it’ll be a special occasion, giving me more motivation to do well.”
EICMA centenary on track with Ducati
The Desmosedici GP14 machines of Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow, as well as that of factory test-rider Michele Pirro, will be carrying the symbol of ‘100 years of EICMA’ this weekend. During the Italian GP and the San Marino and Riviera di Rimini GP scheduled for September 14 at Misano, Ducati has made space available for EICMA on the front fairing of their red GP14 machines, providing a further means of communication and visibility for the 100th anniversary of the EICMA show, which will be held from 4 to 9 November at the Rho-Milano Trade Fair area.
The Mugello circuit
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 5.245 km track has been renovated to a high standard and is 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 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 tree-lined valley, Mugello offers ample viewing areas for a particularly boisterous and partisan Italian crowd.
Rossi Returns Home for Italian Grand Prix
Gerno di Lesmo (Italy), 28th May 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP returns to Italy for Valentino Rossi’s first home race of the year, the Gran Premio d’Italia this Sunday at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany. The race is also a home Grand Prix for the team itself, being based alongside the historic Monza circuit in Gerno di Lesmo.
Rossi prepares to entertain his home fans in good form having been at the sharp end of recent races and taking a well earned second on the podium at the last round in France at Le Mans. The local hero remains the only Grand Prix rider ever to take seven straight wins at his home race, scoring consecutive premier class victories at Mugello from 2002 to 2008. Prior to this he also has a 125cc win in 1997 and a 250cc win in 1999. He will be determined to forget last year’s unfortunate DNF after being taken out on the first lap.
Jorge Lorenzo arrives at one of his favourite circuits determined to continue his five-year unbroken Mugello podium run. The track that has seen him claim the last three consecutive premier class wins and two consecutive second place finishes prior to that.
46 Valentino Rossi
"I am very happy to go to Mugello. This is a beautiful track and I like it so much. This is one of my favourite weekend’s of the season! For this reason I will try to give my best. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honour. Jorge has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track. It will be my three hundredth GP this weekend and for that I am not very happy because it means that I'm old but I'm happy because I am in good shape and I can still be very fast! See you at Mugello!"
99 Jorge Lorenzo
“Well, first of all I would like to forget what happened at Le Mans. There I couldn’t feel good on the bike and therefore we need to think about the future. I will never give up and continue working really hard to get ready when our moment comes. Now we are going to visit some special tracks for me and I think we can change some things to stay in front. We need to try to fight for our first victory of the season. That would be great for all of us, the team and I. Mugello is a suitable scenario for me where I’ve made some good memories in the past few years. It’s a special track and the layout is fantastic for my style of riding. Hopefully we can find our way in Tuscany!”
“I am very confident, Mugello is a circuit that really suits our bike. Jorge has won the last three races there, it’s the second home race for Vale who also has a great Mugello record and it’s the home race for the team as we are based not so far away. We are excited for Friday morning to get started. It looks like the weather may not be great with some rain on Friday and Saturday but race day should be fine! I expect to see a huge crowd and we plan to put on a good show for everybody.”
MOTOGP HEADS TO ENTICING TUSCANY FOR ROUND SIX
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders looking forward to a positive weekend at Mugello, one of their favourite circuits
The sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend at one of the most famous circuits on the calendar as Mugello celebrates the fortieth anniversary of its construction. Over the years the Italian track, nestled deep in the Tuscan countryside, has established itself as a firm favourite of the riders and fans alike although at 5.245km it is also one of the longest and most challenging on the calendar. Until the introduction of Austin last year it boasted the longest straight in the championship (1.141km) and MotoGP bikes hit incredible top speeds in excess of 340km per hour. Marc Márquez crashed out of this race last season but the Spanish rider arrives at Mugello this year on the back of five straight wins from the five races so far with Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi – who celebrates his 300th GP in front of his home crowd - and Jorge Lorenzo all looking to put the brakes on the record breaking World Champion.
DRIVE M7 Aspar riders Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama are looking forward to arriving at what they both describe fondly as one of their most favoured circuits on the calendar. The American and the Japanese have been on an upward curve since the start of the season as they work out how to get maximum performance from their new machines at each different circuit. The Italian Grand Prix represents another exciting opportunity for the DRIVE M7 Aspar Team to close the gap to the front and continue their exciting progression at the top level of international motorcycle racing.
Nicky Hayden: “Mugello is one of my favourite circuits, I love riding there and the races are always different – the atmosphere is incredible. The track itself is awesome, so are the fans, so overall it's one of the best races of the season. Mugello is a technical track, it's not easy at all, with a lot of blind corners and some bumps. I always have fun riding it though and I hope that continues this season. We will try to get the best out of our bike and tackle the circuit as best we can. I am looking forward to getting started and seeing how competitive we can be at Mugello. Hopefully we can have a good weekend and put the bad luck from the last race behind us. This is an incredible circuit so hopefully we can do a good job there for the team and the sponsors.”
Hiroshi Aoyama“Mugello is one of the most challenging circuits on the calendar. It has some very technical corners and a long straight. But every time I ride the bike I feel more comfortable and I am highly motivated for this next race in Italy. I guess the long straight will not be good for us but on the other hand we have a great handling bike for the corners. Mugello is difficult but in general I love it. We will keep working in the same direction as the last few races to try and get the bike turning more. We are doing a great job here and the results are coming, but we would like to take that next step and start finishing races in higher positions.”
BRADL KEEN TO BOUNCE BACK IN MUGELLO
Mugello, 29 May: LCR Honda racer Stefan Bradl faces a new challenge this weekend in Italy at the magnificent Mugello circuit where he finished in 4th place in the last two years. The German is a big fan of the spectacular venue set in a narrowing valley packed with passionate fans, and after the disappointing seventh place of Le Mans GP, he will be striving to make amends at the Italian track riding his LINEAR branded RC213V.
Stefan: “I am very excited about next weekend in Mugello. This is one of my favourite race tracks: I like the layout and the fast corners and I hope that we can for go for a better result because we struggled too much at Le Mans. In the last two years I finished the race in fourth place and it would be great to gain the podium amongst all the LCR supporters. This race is very important for Lucio and his team and we must regain our standard placement up in the pack”.
Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 6: Mugello, Italy
Wednesday, May 28 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Mugello is the venue for round six of the MotoGP™ championship, and the Italian circuit is a favourite for riders and fans alike due to its picturesque hill-side setting and its fast layout which sees the fire-breathing 1000cc machines reach one of the their fastest top speeds of the season.
The Mugello circuit combines fast and slow corners with one of the longest straights on the MotoGP calendar. This straight is preceded by the constant-radius Bucine corner which hurls the riders down the hill towards turn one at speeds approaching 350km/h. Turn one at San Donato is a low-speed right hander so the braking zone at the end of the straight is the most intense in MotoGP and requires front tyres with extremely high levels of stability and safety.
In addition to the heavy acceleration and braking zones, the flowing sections like Casanova-Savelli, Biondetti, and Arrabbiata 1 and 2, require very high levels of grip from the edge and traction area of the tyre. With nine right-handed corners compared to just six left-handers, Bridgestone will provides asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders compared to the left.
For the Ducati and Open-class riders, the rear slick tyre options are the soft and medium compounds, while the Factory Honda and Yamaha riders will be offered the medium and hard compound rear slicks. Bridgestone’s front slick tyre compounds for the Italian Grand Prix are the soft, medium and hard compounds and will ensure riders have enough options to manage every kind of weather condition that may present itself this weekend. The main wet tyre option for the Italian Grand Prix will be the hard compound, although every rider will be able to select the softer compound wet tyre if cooler conditions are encountered.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The Italian Grand Prix at Mugello creates a real sense of excitement as it’s a real ‘riders’ track which demands maximum respect due to its fast and twisty layout. It’s a circuit where Jorge has dominated the last few years, and where Valentino also has a very good record, so I’m interested to see if Yamaha will finally be able to halt the winning form of Marc and Honda in the moment. It’s also Ducati’s home circuit, so I hope to see their riders challenging for the podium in front of their legions of fans this weekend. Apart from supporting the teams and riders on Grand Prix weekends, it’s a very busy time for Bridgestone at the moment with many private team tests happening recently, and next week Suzuki will be testing at Phillip Island. All this activity means our team of technicians are travelling all over the globe as we push on one-hundred-percent with our MotoGP tyre development programme.”
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres because of this speed, as well as the track temperature that can reach above 50 degrees Celsius. We expect temperatures to be high, with track temperatures reaching above 50°C, but we must always consider that lower temperatures can also occur, particularly in the morning sessions. The track surface is grippy and abrasive and there are significant elevation changes all of which combine to make this circuit quite aggressive on tyres. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tyre whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and edge grip from the rear tyre. Top speeds here are usually the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the rear tyres.”