Ryder Notes: Breaking Ago Bad?
by julian ryder, on the ground in the boot-shaped country
Saturday, May 31, 2014

When it looks easy it rarely is. Marc Marquez at Mugello.
image by marco guidetti

As James Rispoli tweeted yesterday afternoon, "Raining now... not a good look for Italy."

Second free practice was a wash out with the circuit commentator placating the crowd by doing an extended interview with Valentino Rossi.

I thought it was the rain keeping the crowds down, but today I took a look at the admission prices. You have to buy a three-day ticket to get in to Mugello at the eye-watering price of 184 euro, and that's for basic admission. Add the best part of another one-hundred Euro if you want a grandstand seat. In a country with economic problems and low wages, that'll keep them away. Which explains why there are more people in the paddock than outside it for big chunks of the weekend.

Those that were here saw a weird qualifying session today. Marquez again used his second bike as well as his first choice to take his sixth pole in a row. It wasn't by an enormous margin and it wasn't really a surprise. The surprise was second on the grid - Andea Iannone on the satellite Pramac Ducati, bettering his previous top qualifying position by the small matter of six places. 'Maniac Joe' got his fast lap behind Rossi but Valentino made a bad mistake by changing to the soft front tyre for his final run. It didn't work, he ended up tenth; so the question remains, who will give Marquez a race?

It probably won't be Ianonne, who used a soft tyre in qualifying, so step forward the man who's won here for the last three years, Jorge Lorenzo. He'still not happy with the bike, with the new tyres, with his fitness, with anything really, but he's third on the grid. If he gets a good start, which looks unlikely given the rash of messy practice launches we've seen from him recently, maybe he can make a break. Then again, maybe we should just prepare for a few more of Ago's records to be broken.


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