Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after the Italian Grand Prix:
Lorenzo Seals Yamahas 100th MotoGP Win in Remarkable Mugello Race
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo continued his momentum at the Autodromo del Mugello track today as he secured a brilliant victory in the Gran Premio d'Italia. His achievement marks the Yamaha Factory Racing team's hundredth premier class win of the modern four-stroke era, that began in 2002, as well as their third consecutive first place of the 2016 season. Valentino Rossi also gave a stunning performance in the early stages of the 23-lap sprint as he battled with his teammate for the lead, until a mechanical issue on lap nine prevented him from completing the race.
Today the Autodromo del Mugello circuit was filled with thousands of fans who gathered to see the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders continue their 2016 MotoGP World Championship challenge. Jorge Lorenzo rode his signature race, leading over the line on each lap, to take a flawless victory at the Gran Premio d'Italia. Teammate and local hero Valentino Rossi was also in contention for a strong result, but was unable to finish the race due to a technical failure.
Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear and had a flying start from fifth place on the grid to take the holeshot. With his teammate on his tail, he led across the line after the first lap, but it soon became clear his fellow Yamaha rider would not go down without a fight. The Doctor made a pass going into turn one, but Lorenzo was not shaken and quickly regained the lead as the Italian ran wide.
With a clear track ahead the number 99 rider tried to break away, but he was unable to shake Rossi who continued to pile on the pressure, ready to seize any opportunity to pass. However the smooth Spaniard left no space for him to slip past and made sure to brake at the last possible moment every time going into turn one to keep the lead.
Lorenzo rode defensively until Rossi fell behind due to a mechanical issue and was forced to retire. This allowed the current World Champion a small breather until Marquez tapped onto the back of his YZR-M1 with ten laps to go. With five points between them in the championship, the two compatriots battled hard for the win. The last lap saw a flurry of activity, with Lorenzo making an unexpected overtaking manoeuvre in the Scarperia corner. It didn't stick, but Lorenzo cleverly used his experience and launched his YZR-M1 out of the last corner to steal the victory, his third of the season, as he crossed the line 0.019s ahead of Marquez.
Starting from pole position, teammate Rossi had a good start and slotted in behind Lorenzo going into turn one. Determined not to let the Spaniard get away, Rossi briefly took the lead in the second lap of the race going into turn one, but had to hand it back when he ran wide. With the massive support from his fans cheering him on, the Doctor kept as close to Lorenzo as possible while keeping Marquez at a distance, but his race ended prematurely with 15 laps to go due to a technical issue.
Lorenzo's 25 point score gives him a total score of 115 points, keeping him in first position in the championship standings, with a ten-point lead. He is 37 points ahead of Rossi in third place, who has scored 78 points so far this season.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It's been a mixed day for us today. Jorge did a fantastic job to take over the lead into the first corner starting from the second row of the grid. He knows how difficult overtaking at the Mugello circuit is and made his YZR-M1 as wide as he could while he was battling with Valentino and later with Marquez to give Yamaha its 100th premier class win since the modern MotoGP era started in 2002. It was very unfortunate that Vale's race ended early because of a technical issue, else he would certainly have been able to challenge for the win and join his teammate on the podium. He was really confident on the bike and it's a real shame that he lost a lot of points in the championship. We will look into what happened today during the break between the races, to come back fully prepared for the next round in Barcelona."
1st / 41'36.535 / 23 laps, Championship: 1st / 115 points
"It was an unexpected race, because we thought for example that Iannone and Viñales, who had a very high pace, would be fighting until the end for the victory, but in the end it was Marc. He didn't look like he had the pace in the practice sessions, but he was following me the whole race. I tried to escape, pushing so much on the changes in direction and I used a lot of energy and I thought I maybe I didn't have enough to fight with Marc for the victory, because with him riding behind me he maybe saved more energy and was more powerful at the end, but my luck was the engine this time. When I stayed behind him I thought I was losing the race and tried a bit of a crazy move that I pulled on De Angelis in 250cc in the race in 2005. This memory was in my head, so I said to myself "Why not try the same?" and did it. I passed him but went wide and he overtook me again. In the last corner I tried again under braking, but he closed the door so much that if I had released the brake maybe we could have touched and crashed together, so I decided to stay in second place and make a lot of speed in the last corner and exit with the slipstream and try. When I exited the corner I thought I was losing the race, but my bike caught up with him so much, it was a surprising win. In Moto3 we often see races like this, but in MotoGP this kind of finish doesn't happen often. Today, if I had been fighting with Rossi or Iannone, I wouldn't have won, it was a crazy battle."
DNF / -15 laps, Championship: 3rd / 78 points
"It's a great shame, because it's always a pity when you have a problem with the bike in the race, but here even more so because it was in Mugello in front of all the crowd. I was very competitive in the race and very fast, I had a good start and I was there. I think I could have fought for the victory because I had a very good feeling and a strong pace. It's also a great shame because this zero points score for the championship weighs very heavily. Lorenzo and Marquez finished first and second, so now the distance is hard, but it's like this. The positive thing is that I was competitive over the whole weekend and I was strong. I could have fought for the victory, so now we wait for the next race in Montmeló. Catalunya is one of my favourite tracks, I like to race there a lot, so I think we will have a good potential, but now we have to wait ten days and after that we will see."
Magnificent second place for Marquez after intense battle with Lorenzo, Pedrosa just off the podium
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both had strong showings at the exciting Italian GP, where they finished the race a fraction of a second away from victory and a podium finish, respectively, at Mugello.
After starting from the second row, Marc completed the first lap in fourth position and moved to third on lap three, managing to keep the gap from Lorenzo and Rossi to less than a second. After Rossi retired from the race on lap eight, Marquez steadily made up ground on Lorenzo, with whom he engaged in a spectacular duel for victory on the final lap. Despite exiting the last corner with the lead, Marc lost the final rush to the line by a mere 19 thousandths of a second.
Dani celebrated his 250th GP start with a very strong performance. Seventh at the end of the first lap, he was able to put in a series of good laps and match the pace of the leading riders, recovering positions to arrive at a fight for third position with Andrea Iannone. Dani set his best time, just 0.047 seconds off the race’s fastest lap, on his final lap, and finally settled for fourth, only 168 thousandths of a second behind the Italian.
The next GP is scheduled to take place June 3-5 in Barcelona.
“Today we made a good race, we managed to get very close, and finally we made the podium which is always positive, but even with the slipstream I wasn’t able to overtake Jorge. We struggled throughout the weekend with acceleration and top speed. I tried to give my all and I did the best race I could do today, I really tried everything. I took several risks in an attempt to win, but on the home straight Jorge slipstreamed me. Now we have to keep working on acceleration because we’re still lacking a little in that regard. Honda is working hard back in Japan, as we do at the tracks and we’ll try to take a step forward ahead of the next race.”
“It was a better race than the last few we’ve had. The start was demanding, and with a full tank of fuel I lost some ground. However, my pace wasn’t bad and I was able to make back several positions while also taking advantage of mistakes by other riders. I managed to stick with Iannone and increase my pace to try to fight for third position, even if he was a little faster. I followed him, but it was difficult to overtake because he was very fast on the straight and it was hard to get even with him. We learned a lot about our bike in this race, so we’ll try to work on it to take a step forward in the future.”
Podium for Iannone, third in the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. Dovizioso finishes in fifth while Pirro is classified in tenth place
Andrea Iannone returned to the podium today at Mugello with a third place finish in an exciting Italian GP. After a difficult start, the rider from Vasto crossed the line on the opening lap in eighth place and dropped to eleventh place next time around. He then began a splendid recovery that allowed him to overtake Pedrosa for fourth place on lap 10. Iannone then caught up with his team-mate and the two factory Ducati riders put on an exciting scrap for third. Iannone managed to pass Dovizioso on lap 17 and he held on to third place until the chequered flag, setting the fastest lap of the race on the 23rd and penultimate lap. Today Iannone also set an outright top speed record for MotoGP – reaching 354.9 km/h with his Ducati Desmosedici GP on the long Mugello straight.
After getting off to an excellent start from row 5, Andrea Dovizioso finished the opening lap in fifth place and passed Aleix Espargarò for fourth on lap 5. The Romagna-born rider then closed up to the leading trio and, after Rossi’s retirement, moved into third place. After eight laps however he had to give up the position, first to his team-mate and then Pedrosa, and he finished the race with a good fifth place.
Michele Pirro, entered as a wild-card with the Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Test Team, concluded his race in tenth place.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #51) – 3rd
“I am very happy because I made a great recovery and I had a better pace than all the other riders on the track, but unfortunately I couldn’t get a good start. I’m disappointed about that because if I had been closer to the leaders I think I could maybe have been able to fight for the win. When I caught Dovizioso we passed each other a couple of times and we lost a bit of time: after passing him however I no longer had any chance of catching the two up front. I was quick throughout the weekend and this means that I have improved a lot as a rider and that the bike is competitive. In two weeks’ time at Barcelona we will try and do even better.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team # 04) – 5th
“The weekend finished with a good fifth place and that’s positive, especially since I haven’t seen the chequered flag for quite a few races. Starting so far behind could have penalized me, but I was able to get off the line well and immediately reach the leading group. We had worked well on race pace and so I was quite quick, but I was unable to be smooth and half-way through the race I had a problem with arm pump in my right arm and lost a lot of my strength. This problem forced me to drop my pace, but above all it caused me to make a few errors including one at San Donato, which prevented me from remaining in the battle for the podium in the last few laps. I’m disappointed for the team because despite it being a difficult weekend, we managed to find a very good race pace. A podium would have been a good reward but unfortunately this time we couldn’t make it, so we’ll have to continue working to do better from the next round onwards.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 10th
“I have to be happy because I achieved my aim of finishing approximately twenty seconds from the winner. I could probably have done better, but half-way through the race I began to feel a vibration in the rear tyre, and in the last two laps this led me to reduce my pace. In any case it was a positive race because we took home some useful information on several new parts we are testing. I want to thank Ducati, the Test Team and all the guys working back in the factory, because we did a good job here and it’s always an emotional feeling to race at Mugello on a Ducati”.
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Even though we got back onto the podium, I can’t say I am totally satisfied with today’s result here at Mugello, because in my opinion it could have been a good opportunity to win a race. In any case we took home a good third place for Iannone and a fifth for Dovizioso, we surely provided some spectacular action for the Mugello crowd and we obtained the fastest lap in the race and also the top speed record, which demonstrate that our Desmosedici GP is a competitive bike.”
VIÑALES & TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR 6TH AT MUGELLO
Team Suzuki Press Office – May 22.
Maverick Viñales fought back from a poor start to finish sixth in today’s Mugello MotoGP™ race in Italy aboard his Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RR as team-mate Aleix Espargaró scored ninth.
Viñales, who started from the front-row in second position, lost nine places in the straight due to a problem with his machine’s electronics. The issue rectified itself immediately, but this cost him several positions, so he had to recover from there on-in. Being hard on tyres in overtaking, the grip-level dropped pretty quickly and although his lap-times were very close to the leader’s pace, he couldn’t score better than sixth position at the flag.
The GP of Italy was Aleix Espargaró’s 100th GP start; he had a brilliant launch from sixth on the grid to third into the first corner, but unfortunately, the crash he suffered in this morning’s warm-up destroyed his machine and his mechanics had to do extra work before the race to completely rebuild it for the race. The machine, however, didn’t give him the same positive feeling that he had experienced previously and this prevented him keeping the excellent pace he showed in the early laps.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“We have to say that we’re not satisfied with this race. It was exactly the opposite of France: at Le Mans we had a very hard weekend but we finally managed to find good solutions for the race and the result was positive; here, we felt we were performing and competitive from Friday, but then in the race we couldn’t finalise the result. Today’s track temperature was higher than yesterday, this made things harder to find rear grip; if it’s true that the conditions were different for all teams, it is also true that with higher temperatures, our machine struggles more to adapt than other teams – and this is one thing we have to work on. About Maverick’s start, we will investigate this in-depth to find out what happened. Also, Aleix’s race was not as good as we expected and we need to understand what went wrong in his machine. After here, we’ll go to Valencia for a private testing session as we have many items to test, so hopefully we will find solutions to these issues.”
“I’m very disappointed with the race, we did really well the whole weekend and finally we couldn’t get the deserved result. I really had the feeling we could fight for the podium; both in practice and in warm up I felt very comfortable and confident for a good race. Unfortunately, all the problems came from the start: I had a good jump, but then when it came to put it into fourth-gear something went wrong with the bike’s acceleration and this made me lose so many positions. Then the problem disappeared and everything was working fine for the rest of the race, but because I was behind so many riders, and I had to push very hard to recover, this destroyed the tyres, which were finally too-worn to get closer. It’s a shame because according to the timesheets my pace was as good as the leaders, so this meant that with a good start I could have fought for the podium, which I felt was achievable for us. It’s a pity, but now I need to revise the data with my engineers and understand what happened in order to fix it.
“Unfortunately I made a very big mistake in the warm up, crashing the bike very badly and my crew had to work very hard to build it up from zero in such a short time and I am very grateful to them. But unfortunately, with the rebuilt bike, I didn’t feel the same confidence I had before, so I couldn’t push very hard. It’s a shame because in the warm up again we made a great step forward and I was feeling very confident. My start was good, my strategy indeed was to jump as fast as possible and gain as much as possible, but what I did wasn’t enough. Let’s hope for a better race in Barcelona, it’s my home circuit and I hope things will get better.”
APRILIA IN THE POINTS AGAIN WITH STEFAN BRADL
BAUTISTA CRASHES OUT IN THE FIRST LAP
The Aprilia RS-GP finished in the points at the Mugello GP with Stefan Bradl who, just in the race on Sunday, found the best feeling of the weekend and rode his bike to a fourteenth place finish, earning two more championship points.
Alvaro Bautista's race, on the other hand, did not last long. The Spaniard, who seemed to be the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider who was more on the ball throughout the weekend, was forced to use his second bike in the race due to a crash in the morning warm-up session. But in the race he crashed on the first turn when, after a good start, he was trying to recover positions in the braking section but risked too much, losing the front end, finishing his race early.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"We expected Mugello to be a difficult track for the fledgling RS-GP, but losing the first free practice session on Friday due to the damp track really hurt us. Precisely because of how new the project is, every single session can make the difference. Judging from what he demonstrated throughout the weekend, I think that Alvaro would have had the chance to do better than Stefan, but unfortunately he exaggerated on the first turn and his race ended there. Stefan made recovered well with respect to Friday and Saturday, improving the bike and his feeling, but we definitely must and will do much better. The bike is a very good base, but right now we are also paying for an engine gap that we will definitely recover during the season".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"There is an extremely high level in MotoGP this year and Mugello is a huge challenge for a project as new as ours. At the end of the day, the gap behind the front runners did not increase, but the goal is to take steps forward and to reduce this gap in the race. With a completely new bike we are encountering very different situations from track to track and in that sense, we could be in better conditions in Barcelona, as we were in Jerez when we found a good setup straight away. We need to have patience and the results will come".
“After the crash in the warm-up session I had to use the second bike for the race. In the warm-up lap the front brake felt strange, so I adjusted the lever before the start. When I got to the first turn I braked normally, but as I was leaning the bike into it I felt the wheel lock up and I crashed. First of all I want to apologise to Baz and Miller, who I involuntarily involved in my crash. I'm disappointed because, despite the fact that it wasn't my best weekend, I was confident in my race pace. Now we need to do a mental reset and think about the next round in Barcelona”.
“It was definitely a demanding weekend for us. We did a lot of work, testing a lot of solutions, but I never found a 100% satisfactory setup. Even in the warm-up session we made a change that provided some benefits but that we need to look at more closely when we have more time. In the race I had a good start and then I tried to be aggressive straight away. I knew I didn't have the best pace, so I set my sights on staying with the group. Unfortunately, with ten laps left to go the rubber tank covering that is used to give your legs grip and to stabilise the bike detached, and on a track like this one that cost me the chance of making up a place”.
Petrux brings home a valuable 8th position at the Mugello Circuit. Scott is forced to abandon the race.
The #ItalianGP ended with a precious eighth place for Danilo Petrucci, but also with a technical problem for Scott Redding, who had to leave the race after a very promising start.
These are, in short, the highlights from the Mugello Circuit, which saw both riders of Octo Pramac Yakhnich among the players for over a third of the race.
Following a difficult start due to a contact with Pol Espargaro, which forced him to lose three positions, Petrux began to lap with a good pace, quickly putting on the trail of Bradley Smith. From mid-race, Petrux’s pace improved and led him in the wake of the British rider. The hunt continued after passing Aleix Espargaro and having recorded his fastest time (1'48.428), but when, three laps from the end, the gap was still over half a second, Danilo decided to be safe in a positive 8th place.
Scott Redding started well, passing his teammate immediately to get in seventh position on lap three. The race pace was extremely positive (around 48.5) then Scott had to slow down undergoing the overtakes of Vinales and Iannone. After two laps at much lower speed (1'49.3), the British rider had to raise the white flag and get back to the pits to avoid compromising the engine of his Ducati Desmosedici GP.
DNF - Scott Redding
"I have not made a mistake and from a certain point of view, I am satisfied with my performance. I also have to thank the team because the pace was very good. The problem? I saw the red light flashing, and I tried to slow down to see if the problem could be solved. But there were no signs of improvement, so I preferred to stop to avoid damaging the engine. I am disappointed because the weekend had been good even if with some ups and downs. We will try again in Barcelona."
8° - Danilo Petrucci
"It was a good race. My team always did a great job giving me the best bike finding the best solution for every little thing. I struggled in the first 4-5 laps, then I started to push to recover Smith. I tried to do my best and I set the best time with the four remaining laps. I am very happy with how the bike goes and how competitive it is. My regret is to have not been the best Independent rider, as Bradley passed me yesterday and he did it again today for very little, but I'm happy. I will take my revenge in Barcelona."
Miller innocent victim in early exit at Mugello
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller made an early exit from the Italian Grand Prix when he was the innocent victim of a turn one crash.
It was crushing blow for the Australian rider who was confident of a points scoring finish on the sweeping Mugello circuit in Tuscany.
But the bad luck that has dogged Miller since a pre-season motocross training crash continued when he was bumped out of the race just 500 metres after the start.
Miller had qualified 17th on the grid and had a good feeling with his Honda RC213V going into what he anticipated would be a 21-lap race.
Miller's teammate Tito Rabat did not race after suffering a fractured left collarbone in practice on Saturday. Rabat will undergo surgery to plate the fracture at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona tomorrow.
Once the success of the surgery has been assessed, a decision will be made as to whether the former Moto2 Wordl Champion will return for his home race in Barcelona.
The sixth round of the MotoGP World Championship was won by Jorge Lorenzo.
Jack Miller: DNF
"My race lasted about 500 metres but you can't control what is out of your hands. We worked hard all weekend to have good set-up for the race so it's really disappointing to be taken out at the first corner. I got hit from behind and Alvaro Bautista also lost the front so I think it was Bautista's sliding bike that took me out. It's a shame but the positives are that we improved all weekend, I'm really sorry for the team and the sponsors on a weekend when I felt good about doing a strong race. We need to put this behind us now and look ahead to the next race in Barcelona."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It's been a tough weekend for us here at Mugello, first with Tito's crash and injury yesterday and now with Jack being hit from behind and crashing out of the race in the first turn of the first lap. The only good luck we've had this weekend is that Jack was uninjured in the crash. We are not where we want to be in terms of results and we need to address that as a matter of some urgency. We will sit down this week to identify where we can improve ahead of the next race in Barcelona, which is only two weeks away."
Twelfth place for Barbera at Mugello, Baz injured
The riders of Avintia Racing had a difficult weekend at Mugello. Héctor Barberá and Loris Baz had arrived with high hopes and lots of anticipation at the Grand Prix of Italy and the home track of Ducati, but from the first day, things didn’t go the way as planned and Sunday wasn’t any different. Héctor Barberá finished the race in twelfth position and took some valuable points again, but was outside the top ten for the first time this season. Nevertheless, the Spaniard defended his eighth place in the world championship classification.
Team-mate Loris Baz ran into bad luck when he was taken out by another rider in the first corner of the race. In the incident, Baz suffered multiple fractures and dislocations in his right foot and will have to go undergo surgery in Switzerland next week. After the examinations in the circuit hospital, Dr. Xavier Mir, Medical Director of MotoGP, confirmed that Loris suffered dislocations of the five metatarsophalangeal joints in his right foot, and diaphyseal fractures of four toes in the same foot. While Baz was still in the circuit hospital and under anesthesis, the dislocations were set and on Tuesday, he will be operated in the hospital La Tour at Meyrin/Geneve, where Dr. Finn Mahler, director of sport medicine, will insert plates to fix the multiple fractures in his right foot. At the moment, it is unclear whether Baz will be able to start at the upcoming Grand Prix of Catalunya. Everything will depend from his recovery after the surgery.
Hector Barbera - P12
“This was a weekend to forget. Everyday things got more and more difficult and we were not able to show our real potential. I don’t know if its good or bad, but my crew chief says that I have to realize that we are racing with a two year old bike, and we are doing the same lap times that the factory team did in the past. It’s difficult to go more on the limit than the factory team and we have reach the same lap times or even improved them. It’s clear that my rivals have better machinery and to beat them in fast tracks like this is almost impossible. At the end of the day, we finished another race and we still the best Ducati in the standings, something that we could not even dream with when we started the season. We can’t do more with the bike we have and I think that the team and myself deserve to have a chance, because we always want more.”
Loris Baz - DNF
“The race was incredible short for me. I did a good start but it was a lot of traffic on the inside and it was difficult to overtake in the first turn, so I decided to get the outside line, but suddenly someone hit me and I crashed. From the first moment I realized that my foot was broken. I got fractures on the second, third, fourth and fifth metatarsus, and a displacement on the first one. I got set the first one at the circuit medical centre and I will go to the hospital at Geneve on Tuesday to fix the rest. I don’t know How long will take the recovery because is a difficult place and can swell a lot. I will follow the doctor instructions because I don’t want to come back soon and take risks for the next races. More than the race I’ll be disappointed if I can do the test on after the race in Barcelona, because I really need it.”
CRUTCHLOW SCORES FIVE POINTS IN MUGELLO
It was a challenging Italian Grand Prix for Cal Crutchlow and the LCR Honda Team, conditioned as much as anything by the British rider having to start down in 16th place on the grid. After having got hung out to dry in the melee at the start, Crutchlow then suffered a small issue with his braking system which meant he was forced to nurse the bike throughout the race.
The 30 year-old fought bravely throughout, and as he made adjustments on the fly eventually managed to bring the back safely across the line to pick up five valuable points for eleventh place.
The Team now move on to Barcelona for the Grand Prix of Catalunya in two weeks’ time.
Cal Crutchlow – 11th place
“it wasn’t too bad in the end, I felt after two or three laps that I had some sort of issue with a part of the bike but in the end I’m just happy to finish. There are no excuses, I finished 11th and I think without the issue I wouldn’t have been too much further up anyway. I got boxed out a little at the start and was unable to pass because of the speed of the bike.”
“I finished though, and I felt there was a need to bring the bike home. We needed information and I did that although I did feel some problems towards the end of the race. I didn’t really feel on the limit at all, but I couldn’t push any more with the small problems I was having. I could do one lap fast, and then one lap not so fast because I was having to adjust things on the bike.”
“Overall I’m happy enough to finish, and if I had been in a group I could have possibly gone quicker, but I was never in a group! I played it quite calm over the first ten laps, managed the situation and made sure I finished.”
Lucio Cecchinello – LCR Honda Team Principal
“It was a tough grand prix, because the weather was so hot and we had some small issues with the braking system, but Cal managed to finish the race which was important. Of course, I would have preferred to see Cal in the top ten or even better but we have to accept the result and make a plan now to make sure we give him a better bike.”
“We will all be hoping for better results in the coming races, and we are fully motivated to make sure that happens. We know our weaknesses and we will be working hard with our partners and Honda to improve things over the next few weeks.”
On form Smith powers to top independent position at tough Italian GP
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith produced a strong showing to finish the round six battle at the meandering Mugello circuit in 7th place aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. The British star undertook a superb start and shot from the head of the third row on the grid up to 3rd by the time he entered the first corner as he fought with the leading MotoGP bikes. He quickly stuck into his rhythm but got shuffled back yet remained composed and reignited his campaign to move back up the field by setting a series of consistent lap times. He reclaimed 8th at the midpoint of the race and continued to make advances forward with his target being the factory Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro who he slotted past on lap 15. The 25 year old powered onwards and comfortably opened a gap to the pursuing riders before speeding across the finish line only 13.340 seconds behind the leading bike. The result sees him successfully clinch a return to the top independent team position.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team pit box, Pol Espargaro suffered a tricky race as he met the chequered flag in 15th despite his best efforts after unfortunately falling and then re-joining the GP. The young Spaniard began the Grand Prix from the middle of the fifth row, but he was unluckily pushed wide on the opening lap and dropped back to 15th. Yet, he remained fully focused and started his quest to jump back up the field, moving up three places with just under a third of total distance having been completed. However, a mistake two laps later caused Espargaro to fall but he bravely remounted and determinedly closed the gap to the final point scoring position, which he claimed on lap 17. Nevertheless, the current leader in the independent standings will seek to make amends at the next MotoGP event, the Monster Energy sponsored Gran Premio de Cataluña, his home race.
7th / +13.340 / 23 laps, Championship: 12th / 29 points
"I am very happy to finally be the top independent rider plus back to where I need to be. I worked on my starts all weekend and we did way more practice than usual but it looks like it paid off! I pulled down the left-hand side and as a result, I was third as we entered the first corner. Yet, to be really honest, I didn't have such a great pace at the beginning but I aimed to stay as close as possible to the guys in front plus not make any mistakes because I knew that my pace would be better later on. Therefore, I tried to look after the tyres as best as I could and remain consistent. All weekend we felt good and we modified the bike a little bit from Le Mans even though I was already pleased with the feeling. Thirteen seconds behind the leader at the end of the event is a strong result for us and shows that we have worked in the right direction. Petrucci tried to fight me in the last laps but I had a little bit left in the reserve tank so I just went for it in the final part. It has taken us until the sixth round to get to where we were last year, which is quite a long time but we have plenty more races to go to make up the points we lost at the start of the season. Altogether I wasn't as fast at adapting to the Michelin tyres when compared to some of the other riders, but we can see that we are getting there and I'm confident, plus looking forward to the next round."
15th / +59.811 / 23 laps, Championship: 7th / 48 points
"We had the speed over the entire weekend but we just weren't able to score the result that we needed to today. The team and I had to face quite a few difficulties at this event, but with regards to the race, if you start from that far behind, you have to either pass a lot of riders really quickly or any hope of a good finish is gone. I tried to overtake as much as I could at the beginning but as a result. I had some contact with other riders which caused me to lose a lot of time in the initial laps. I saw that the group in front was getting away from me so I pushed harder and caught up to Pirro. However, the Ducati's are strong at this track, so it takes that bit extra to pass them. In the end, I ended up braking a bit too late when I tried to overtake him and I ran off the asphalt. I fell but I was able to pick up the bike and finish the race. We will leave Italy with only one point in our pocket, which is not at all what we aimed for but at least it's something. Next up is my home GP in Montmelo where I fully intend to do a much better job and seal a great result in front of my home fans."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager :
“What a weekend we have just had in Mugello. The conditions were ideal for racing and it really is a super feeling to see MotoGP getting more and more popular. The crowd was amazing and it goes without saying that this event was special. I am very happy to see Bradley back to where he was last year which is where he wants to be. He had a strong qualifying, plus a great race and he was the top independent rider both times, which means a lot. The gap to the winner in the GP was small and a lot less than what it used to be for us, which is also important. Brad managed to keep all the satellite Ducati’s behind him which was not easy here and in the second part of the Grand Prix he was lapping very close to Viñales’ times. Bradley did a top job and I want to thank him for this. On the other hand, I am really sorry and disappointed for Pol because he had a good pace as well as rhythm this weekend but he crashed twice when it was not necessary. In Q1 he was fast and could have easily made it into Qualifying 2 and seized a grid position on the second row. Still, today I think his start was not ideal but he showed what he could do as he was catching the group in front so he would have been quite close to Bradley but he unfortunately crashed again. He made too many mistakes during this weekend, but anyway I want to thank him because he picked the bike up and got a point. What I want at the next Grand Prix is for both of our riders to finish strongly, unlike the last two GP’s. It would be fantastic for them to end up where they belong which for me is first and second in the independent classifications. Thanks to the whole team who worked hard and lets see what happens in Cataluña.”
Eugene Laverty continues points-scoring run at Mugello
Sunday, 22 May 2016 15:04
Northern Irishman keeps spot in World Championship top ten, whilst Aspar teammate Yonny Hernández is hit by a ride-through penalty
Contrary to expectations, the MotoGP race at Mugello was the closest of the three classes at the Italian Grand Prix. Brad Binder took the Moto3 win by 0.038s and Johann Zarco the Moto2 victory by 0.030s, but just 0.019s separated premier class racewinner Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez. Valentino Rossi, who had started from pole, was unable to battle for the win after suffering engine problems, and in his absence the battle for victory was contested between Lorenzo and Marquez. Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in another tight tussle. Lorenzo claimed his third win of the year and now leads the standings from Marquez by 10 points.
Eugene Laverty completed another race in the points, after starting from eighteenth on the grid. The Irish began hesitantly but gradually grew more confident with his pace, overtaking several rivals. The Aspar Team rider has now gone on a run of six consecutive races in the points –something just five riders on the grid can boast. Laverty continues in the Top Ten in the World Championship with 36 points, with the first third of the season completed. Teammate Yonny Hernández was unable to make use of his twelfth position on the grid -his best qualifying placing of the season. The Colombian tapped his clutch at the start of the race, moving his bike before the lights went out. That earned him a penalty for a jump start, and he had to undertake a ride-through as punishment. He reemerged outside the points-scoring places, eventually finishing sixteenth.
13th Eugene Laverty: “After such a difficult weekend we salvaged three important points, and that's the important thing because we struggled to find the correct direction after the crash on Friday. I was getting faster and faster in the race; on the final laps I overtook Bradl and the bike started to feel really good. That's good information ahead of the next race. Now we really understand this bike better and better. The fact that it was easier for us at the end gives us a good direction to take things. I'm happy to have salvaged points here, but I expect to be stronger in Barcelona”.
16th Yonny Hernández: "After a weekend in which we have been very competitive, it is very sad to finish the Grand Prix in this way. We were closer to the top riders than usual and we have done very well in general, but I was very surprised by the penalty. The bike moved a bit off the start: I grabbed the clutch and the bike moved by itself. By the time I realised, it was a little late. It's a shame because I was having a good race: I was twelfth, which is more or less what we had predicted, and was fighting to enter the top ten -but it was not to be. Anyway, we continue with good energy, in order to face the next race in the best way. I'll take the positives from this one, which is that throughout the weekend we were among the first ten riders."
LORENZO AND MICHELIN ARE THE KINGS OF THE MOUNTAINS AT MUGELLO
Jorge Lorenzo raced to stunning on-the-line victory at Mugello in Italy today as he used his new hard and soft compound Michelin tyres to the full and pushed to the limit on the last-lap to take victory as he crossed the finishing line.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Lorenzo chose the new hard compound MICHELIN Power Slick for the front of his Yamaha and paired this with the soft compound rear, which was also being used for the first time this season. The Spaniard got a good start and led for the early laps despite constant pressure from nine-time World Champion and yesterday’s pole-setter Valentino Rossi. The Yamaha team-mates fought hard over eight-laps until an unfortunate technical issue forced Rossi to retire, leaving Lorenzo out front on his own. The race was far from over though, as Honda´s Marc Marquez chased down the current World Champion and caught Lorenzo with several laps to go. The two riders were then locked in a monumental battle amongst the mountains of Mugello, which culminated in a breath-taking final lap. Marquez made a pass on Lorenzo to take the lead, before the championship leader snatched it back, only to see Marquez come straight back at him and re-take the lead yet again. Marquez looked to have secured victory, but Lorenzo got fantastic drive from the last corner from his Michelin tyres and pulled himself past Marquez on the line to win by only 0.019 seconds. Lorenzo´s winning race time of 41’36.535 was also over two-and-a-half seconds quicker than last year´s race and an outright race-record for the Mugello circuit – beating the existing record from 2012 by almost a second. His victory today was his third of the season and increased his championship lead over Marquez to 10 points.
Third place was taken by a home favourite Andrea Iannone on a Ducati. The Italian fought his way to a podium finish after a poor start which cost him five places from third on the grid. Iannone finished the race very strongly as he set the fastest lap of the day on the final circulation to establish the durability of the MICHELIN Power Slicks on this demanding circuit. Dani Pedrosa on a Honda rode a solid race, as he too finished strongly securing fourth place, just in front of the second Ducati, this time ridden by Andrea Dovizioso. Sixth went to the Suzuki of Maverick Viñales, with Bradley Smith taking a well-deserved seventh – and the plaudits of being the First Independent Team Rider. Another home favourite Danilo Petrucci on a satellite Ducati was eighth with Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) and Michele Pirro (Ducati) rounding out the top-ten in ninth and tenth respectively.
The huge and colourful crowd of 100,640 – the largest ever on race day at Mugello – filled the hillsides around the track and baked in the Italian sun as temperatures rose to 26°, which also saw track temperatures hit 40°C – the warmest of the weekend. The latest versions of the MICHELIN Power Slicks performed well in the extreme conditions, at a track that is notoriously difficult for tyres. The technicians will now analyse all the data from what has been a successful weekend, as Michelin moves on through the season and continues to strive to improve its performance at each circuit as the year progresses
Next stop for Michelin will be the Catalonian Grand Prix at the Montmelo circuit near Barcelona, when the whole MotoGP paddock will reconvene their rivalries at round seven of the championship on Sunday 5th June.
Jorge Lorenzo – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP:
“I am very, very happy with the tyres and how they performed today. During the last laps they started sliding a little bit more than in the previous laps, but now we don’t have anything like the problem that we had in Jerez on the straights. It has been a great weekend, it was a very close race, a great show for all and I am now 10-points above Marquez in the championship, so I am very happy.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“It has been a very good race weekend for us. The race time was shorter that the record race time, with the fastest lap at the end of the race by Iannone which was very close to the race lap-record. It was the same yesterday with Rossi in qualification when he was one-hundredth-of-a-second off the outright track record. Everything went really well for us and there were no crashes that could be contributed to the front tyre, which was an important thing as nearly everybody used the new front, so this gives us confidence as we move forward with more technological advancements. We made a step here and now we head to the next race in Catalunya, where we also have a test on the Monday following the race, but if all the races are like this one we will be very happy.”