MotoGP press office
A record gets broken and an Italian tops the timesheets on home turf in an incident-packed Day 1 at the Italian GP
It was a dramatic Friday at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, with some big headlines, a shake-up on the timesheets and a record broken as Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) became the fastest man in MotoGP™ when he set a new top speed record of 356.4km/h – up from the previous best of 354.9km/h set by compatriot Andrea Iannone in 2016. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Iannone was, however, the quickest man overall on Day 1 at Mugello – 0.387 ahead of Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) less than a tenth further back to make it three different bikes in the top three. Marquez did crash on Friday and suffered a run off, rider ok, but some bigger headlines instead came from two Red Flags in FP2.
The first went out following a high-speed crash for Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) into Turn 1, with the Borgo Panigale factory’s test rider tumbling through the gravel following a highside. After being treated by the track, it was confirmed that Pirro was conscious and the Italian was then transferred to Ospedale Careggi in Florence for further checks.
Action then got back underway, but not for long – with Dovizioso then suffering a mechanical problem into Turn 1 and flames briefly appearing around his Desmosedici. After going third in the morning and setting the fastest top speed, the incident put a dent in the day for the 2017 Italian GP winner and he was P13 on the combined timesheets on Friday – with fellow big name Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) also out of provisional Q2 graduation in P14, 0.022 off the Italian.
Back at the top behind the fastest trio and the headline incidents, it was a solid day for top Independent Team rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in fourth overall, with Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) confirming more good speed on the Ducati to complete the top five just 0.038 in arrears. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was also in close company, however, just 0.030 behind the Queenslander to take P6 and show some good pace as he gets back to full power following his highside at Le Mans.
Home favourite Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) closed the gaps up even more as he took seventh only 0.012 back, edging out VR46 Academy and EG 0,0 Marc VDS rookie Franco Morbidelli by less than half a tenth on home turf. Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) made for more home delight in ninth, with the top ten completed by multiple-time Mugello winner Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team).
There’s a lot to play for in FP3 as the top ten scuffle to move through automatically to Q2, with Dovizioso and Pedrosa putting that at the top of their to-do lists once they get back on track. And with the field so close together, it’s sure to be another incredible day of action at the Autodromo del Mugello on Saturday – with FP3 at 9:55 (GMT +2) and qualifying beginning from 14:10.
Positive start to the Italian GP for Marquez, Pedrosa looks to improve
It was a busy first day for Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa under fair weather conditions in Mugello, with the Repsol Honda pair working hard to adapt their RC213V race setups to the characteristics of the fast, challenging Italian track.
At the end of the day, Marc was pleased with posting the third-best lap time despite not yet being perfectly comfortable with the front tyre, while Dani struggled to find good grip in both sessions and had to settle for 14th in the combined rankings.
Both riders aim to make the best of the two remaining free practice sessions in order to improve their setups and speed in view of tomorrow afternoon’s qualifying session.
“Mugello is a track where we usually struggle, but we’re right there in third place. Our pace isn’t bad either, so we look at these positives and will see tomorrow if we’re able to improve further. Honestly, we were expecting to struggle a bit with the front tyre if temperatures were higher compared to the test, as was the case today, because the hardest compound is still a bit too soft for us. That said, I think we still have some margin for improvement. Besides, generally speaking, we’ve worked well and have improved our lap time quite a bit from the morning; tomorrow we’ll try and continue on this positive path. Finally, I’d like to add that I hope Michele [Pirro] gets well and comes back soon.”
“It was a tough day because I wasn’t able to find a good feeling with rear, as I struggled a lot with lack of grip. We tried several tyres and also a few different suspension settings, but we couldn’t manage to improve grip. We have to understand if it’s something we must improve in the bike’s setup or if the situation is more related to the track conditions, but whatever the case, tomorrow it will be important to keep our concentration high, work well, and try and solve this matter in view of qualifying and the race.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales started the weekend as the second fastest man after day one at the Autodromo del Mugello. Teammate Valentino Rossi was also on the pace as he prepared for Sunday’s Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley. The pair finished in second and seventh place respectively in the combined FP standings.
Viñales had a less than ideal start to the GP weekend in today’s FP1 session. He suffered a small crash but was uninjured and OK to continue the session. He used his frustration to boost his performance and set his personal fastest time of the morning, a 1‘47.995s, on lap 7/18, for third place. He spent the remainder of the session working on his bike‘s set-up and ended in fourth place, 0.742s from the top.
The Spaniard continued to improve his form in the afternoon. Despite the FP2 session being red flagged twice, he was able to make steps forward and took the top spot with a flying 1‘47.122s lap, three minutes before the chequered flag. Various riders also put in a soft rear tyre at the end of the session, but the Yamaha rider’s time was fast enough to earn him second place, 0.387s from first.
Rossi started the morning off by swiftly moving into third place. However, as a lack of grip in the cooler conditions caught out various MotoGP riders, the Doctor decided to focus mainly on mixing and comparing setting solutions found during the recent Mugello and Montmeló tests. His fastest time, a 1‘48.218s, took him up to eighth place in the FP1 rankings, 0.965s off the front.
Determined to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Italian was on the pace right from the start of FP2. With the increased temperatures, he was quick to secure second place. However, midway through the afternoon practice, incidents disrupted proceedings, which had the entire MotoGP field anxious to put in a fast time in the final 22 minutes of the session. Despite running into traffic during a hot lap, Rossi posted a 1‘47.445s, 0.710s from the top, and finished in seventh place both in the FP2 and combined free practice timesheets.
We‘ve had a hectic day at the Mugello circuit. It started with Maverick losing some time because of a small crash at the beginning of FP1, and in FP2 we had the session stopped twice during red flag situations, halting our progression. Thankfully, due to our earlier tests – one here in Mugello and another one last week in Spain – we had a good basis to start from. Our pace didn‘t change a lot between the morning and the afternoon session and that gives us a realistic view of where we stand at the moment for Sunday‘s race. We tested various settings and tried some tyre specifications. Both riders are comfortable on their bikes, but we still have room for improvement, especially concerning rear grip and some small adjustments to the electronics. It comes down to fine-tuning as the basis is already good. We wish Michele Pirro all the best after today‘s horrific crash, which had us all very worried. We‘re hoping for more good news and a speedy recovery.
I gained a lot of confidence in Montmeló during last week‘s test and today has been good too. Despite my crash this morning the practice went very well, I‘m really happy. We still have work to do, because we have room for improvement for tomorrow. I‘m happy that I felt good with the bike and with the tyres in the afternoon in the hotter conditions and I hope it will be the same on Sunday during the race. Our race pace isn‘t looking so bad. The team didn‘t change the settings much since the test in Catalunya, the bike is quite similar. I‘m feeling good on it and will continue to try to do my best. Today I couldn‘t do ten laps in a row because we had many red flags. I hope Michele is OK, because the crash was unreal. I wish him the best of luck.
It was a positive Friday, because this morning and also this afternoon I wasn‘t so bad, my pace is quite good. It‘s also true that we have a lot of different bikes and riders that are very fast, but we are also there. We‘re on our way, especially with the pace. We have to work on improving further, because I suffer from too much wheelspin at the exit of the corners, but for the rest I feel good with the bike. I hope that Michele is OK after his crash and wish him all the best for his recovery.
OPENING PRACTICE FOR THE GP OF ITALY AT MUGELLO
The first two MotoGP practice sessions got underway for the fans on the spectacular Tuscan circuit of Mugello. The results are rather compact combined standings, where both Aleix and Scott improved their times between the morning and the afternoon. Espargaró, who had a crash toward the end of FP2, turned his best lap at 1’48.113, just 1.3 seconds behind the leader and 4 tenths of a second outside a provisional top-10 spot.
Struggling with tyre choice and speed on turns, Scott Redding turned his best lap at 1’48.458.
“The performance of our engine has certainly improved compared to the past and this morning I was rather pleased. We were not far behind the leaders. However, with the temperature change in the afternoon, we lacked power and I struggled a lot in acceleration. I tried to compensate by risking more in braking, so much that I crashed, but we need to improve for the sessions tomorrow.”
“I struggled today, especially choosing the right tyre combination. In the afternoon, we were able to take a small step forward. I had more confidence, but there is still a bit of difficulty in terms of corner speed. We’ll need to work on this aspect in particular for tomorrow.”
Jorge Lorenzo tenth and Andrea Dovizioso thirteenth on day 1 of Italian GP practice at Mugello. Big crash for Michele Pirro during FP2
A difficult Day 1 of free practice action for the Ducati Team in the Italian GP at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany today concluded with its three riders in tenth, eleventh and thirteenth place.
At the end of the two sessions Jorge Lorenzo was tenth with a time of 1’47.691 while team-mate and last year’s winner Andrea Dovizioso, third in the morning’s FP1 session, finished the day three places behind in thirteenth with a lap of 1’47.902.
Ducati Test Team rider and wild-card for this event, Michele Pirro had a horrific crash during FP2. The Italian, second in FP1, lost control of the bike under braking at the end of the straight and crashed badly. Pirro was thrown high off his machine and rolled over a number of times in the gravel trap. Race Direction immediately brought out the red flags and emergency vehicles were rapidly on the scene, transporting Pirro first to the circuit’s Medical Centre, where he was diagnosed with concussion and a dislocated right shoulder, which was put back into place. The rider from San Giovanni Rotondo was then taken to Careggi Hospital in Florence for a full-body scan but no further complications emerged. As always in these cases, Pirro will remain in hospital overnight under observation, at least until tomorrow morning.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 10th (1’47.691)
“It was quite a positive day because from the morning onwards I was able to be fast and maintain a good pace. In the afternoon we continued to work in the same way: when I put on a soft new rear tyre, I expected to get my time down a lot, but it wasn’t possible because it didn’t have any grip. However we’re on the right path and I hope that tomorrow we can confirm these good feelings. I want to send all my best wishes to Michele, who is not only my team-mate here at Mugello but also a friend and I hope he can recover soon after this big scary moment.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 13th (1’47.902)
“For us it was quite a complicated day, starting with this morning. We had good pace but we were unable to see out our scheduled work programme because I had a problem with the bike in FP2 and had to use the other one to finish the session. Unfortunately the rear tyre didn’t have enough grip, and as well as not being able to set a good time, we weren’t able to work the way we wanted to. Michele’s crash was truly horrific and I really hope it was nothing serious.”