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Friday, 31 May 2019
Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) stole the headlines on Friday in the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, with the rookies taking a 1-2 and split by just 0.046 at the top – making it the first time since Qatar 2008 qualifying, when Jorge Lorenzo took his debut pole ahead of Brit James Toseland, that two rookies have topped a full session. Their closest competition came from Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) as the Italian was just under a tenth in arrears in P3, with some big names outside the top ten: Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team).
Conditions were a stark contrast to Le Mans as the sun shone over the stunning Tuscan countryside in Mugello, and as the clock ticked down, every rider apart from LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) had improved on their FP1 times with just under 20 minutes to go. As is oft the case in MotoGP™ FP2, however, most of the chopping and changing came in the final ten minutes.
FP1 leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was sat at the top of the times for most of FP2, followed by a quintet of Ducatis, before Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales then jumped into the top four and fellow Yamaha rider Quartararo moved up into P3 as the timing screens lit up with red sectors. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) was the next to strike as he took over at the top, before Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro stuck in the first 1:46 of the weekend to take P1 and impress once again.
Petrucci and Quartararo then exchanged fastest times at the top, but with seconds to go there was another Italian on the march: Bagnaia, who improved drastically from a P17 in FP1 to delight the home crowd. That pushed Quartararo down to second, but only by half a tenth, with Petrucci in P3 and Pol Espargaro keeping hold of his top four.
Viñales didn’t lose too much ground to end the day in fifth after a more difficult FP1 down the timesheets, with Marquez down in P6 as he looks to take his third win in a row. Key rival Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), pushing to recover from a tougher French GP, was seventh quickest on Friday, ahead of LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow in eighth. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) took P9 after a late crash for the Australian that dropped him out the running, with italian Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) completing the top ten and list of provisional automatic graduates to Q2.
So who’s missing? Dovizioso is in P11 so not far off, with Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) just behind him despite a big off for the Frenchman – rider ok. But Rossi is P18 and Lorenzo P20 after Day 1, and two have a combined total of 13 premier class wins at Mugello. FP3 will be pivotal for both, but there’s no need to panic just yet: with good weather forecast it should provide a thrilling time-attack from the whole grid and they’re sure to play a part on Saturday morning.
Tune in from 9:55 (GMT +2) local time as FP3 decides those heading straight through to Q2, before qualifying from 14:10 to gives us the grid for another absolute stunner at Mugello.
Italian GP: Petrucci 3rd in Friday’s free practice. Dovizioso 11th, Pirro 13th as a wild-card at Mugello
The Mission Winnow Ducati team resumed action today at Mugello Circuit for the opening day of the Italian Grand Prix, sixth round of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship and home race for the Italian manufacturer. In two free-practice sessions, Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso worked as usual on the race setup, posting respectively the third (+0.131) and eleventh (+0.615) time in a classification characterized by particularly narrow gaps, with 18 riders within less than one second, headed by rookie Francesco Bagnaia on the Desmosedici GP of the Pramac Racing Team. Official test rider Michele Pirro also joined the action as a wild-card, posting the 13th time (+0.689).
Second in the morning session, Petrucci improved his lap times by over nine tenths of a second in FP2, clocking his personal best in 1:46.863. Dovizioso also made steps forward despite still not being completely satisfied with the feeling on the bike, taking almost one second off his best time in the afternoon with a 1:47.347. Pirro, on track with a third Desmosedici GP19 fielded by the Mission Winnow Ducati team, finished the day with a personal best of 1:47.421.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:46.863 (3rd)
“Today the feeling with the bike was quite good, even though I’m not in perfect shape physically since I have a cold. Both sessions went quite well, even though the track doesn’t have much grip at the moment, to the point that you don’t feel a big difference even with a new soft rear tyre. So far, I’m still losing some time in the final sector, where I struggle to make the bike turn as I’d want to and I still can’t pick the lines I’d like to in the last corner. This is what we’ll focus on first, analyzing and comparing data. We need to stay focused and get ready for a fight during qualifying, because we’re all close at the top. Our goal is to fight for pole position, or the first two rows at least.”
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:47.347 (11th)
“All in all, we’re actually not that far. I still haven’t found the best feeling with my Desmosedici GP, even though we’re quite competitive in terms of race pace. During FP2 we tried and compared two quite different setups, both with positives and negatives, so now we need to be smart putting together all the data to find the best possible compromise. As we were expecting, compared with recent years, there are more fast riders who can fight at the top and some of our advantages perhaps are not that obvious anymore, but we’ve just started and I’m confident that working methodically, as we always do, we’ll be in the mix both during qualifying and the race.”
Michele Pirro (#51 Mission Winnow Ducati) – 1:47.421 (13th)
“It’s been a bit of a strange day, because in the morning I was fast despite not being able to clock many laps, while in the afternoon track conditions changed a bit and I couldn’t improve my lap times enough to finish within the top ten. We need to analyse the data since I was faster on a medium rear tyre, with which I felt competitive and closed FP1 in third position. Now, together with my team, we’ll crunch some data to understand how to improve with softer compounds. I’m confident we’ll make more steps forward tomorrow.”
The Mission Winnow Ducati team will resume action tomorrow, June 1st, at 09:55 for the third free-practice session with qualifying scheduled to start at 14:10, shortly after FP4.
Marquez sixth as sunny Italian GP commences
Less than half a second split the top nine on the opening day of practice, Marquez amongst the top ten in sixth and Lorenzo looking for more tomorrow.
Yesterday’s clouds were nowhere to be seen as the Repsol Honda Team rolled out of the garage for Free Practice 1. Overcoming the final remnants of a post-French GP cold, MotoGP World Championship leader Marc Marquez set the pace from early in FP1.
Temperatures rose slightly to 23°C ambient and 45°C on track for Free Practice 2, with the pace at front quickening alongside it. Improving to a 1’47.062, half a second faster than FP1, Marquez concluded the day sixth fastest – 0.330s from Bagnaia. Marquez and his team are pleased with progress made having spent the day focusing on solutions for Sunday’s race.
Jorge Lorenzo spent Friday practice at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley with one eye looking towards Saturday and electing to save his softer tyres. Less than a second off his teammate in FP1, Lorenzo was outside of the top 15. The times remained close in FP2 and despite improving his lap time around the Mugello Circuit, Jorge Lorenzo concluded the day 20th.
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 01, is when the one lap pace matters most as the grid for the 23-lap Italian Grand Prix is decided. The day commences at 09:55 local time with Free Practice 3, deciding the ten riders who advance automatically to Q2.
“Today we worked just with the tyres for the race. I am still a little bit sick from yesterday and also the bike wasn’t 100% either, hopefully a good night’s rest will help us both to be back at 100% tomorrow! Even like this we aren’t far and we just need to keep pushing tomorrow. It’s Friday and we didn’t put a new tyre in at the end so we are still feeling good.”
“Of course we can’t be happy with 20th, it’s not a good position to be in. But today at the end of FP2 everyone fitted the soft and I stayed working with the harder tyre because I feel we will be able to profit more tomorrow morning. My pace is not so far from everyone else but we still need to improve our one lap pace a bit. I think we could have been top ten with a new tyre. Tomorrow we will see.”
CRUTCHLOW SATISFIED AFTER DAY ONE AT MUGELLO
PRESS RELEASE: 31 May 2019 | Mugello GP Practice
Cal Crutchlow ended the opening day of free practice at the Italian Grand Prix in eighth position under sunny skies at Mugello. The Briton riding the LCR Flex-box branded RC213V produced a consistent display to ensure he is well-placed ahead of Saturday’s qualifying.
Crutchlow was ninth fastest during the morning FP1 session, but found almost a second of improvement as temperatures rose during FP2 in the afternoon. While he feels there is still plenty of progress to be made on the set-up of his bike, the 33-year-old was satisfied to claim a place in the top 10 after a session that saw numerous late changes to the order.
Cal Crutchlow – 8th
(1’47.170 – lap 15 of 17)
“It wasn’t a bad day to be honest. I feel not too bad with the bike, but I don’t feel fantastic and there are still a lot of areas to improve on. That’s the main thing for tomorrow, we need to improve the feeling of the front of the bike and also we need to look for a bit more speed. Yes, in the straight, but also around the lap – we need two or three tenths a lap, the same as what I needed in Le Mans. Overall, although we’re disappointed in one way to be in eighth, we have to be pleased to be in the top 10 because that’s where we need to be, especially as there were a few surprises in the session (FP2) about who was up there.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi completed the first Gran Premio d‘Italia Oakley free practice sessions today. Viñales took a little time in the sunny morning but jumped up to 5th position in the combined timesheets in the even hotter afternoon. With the weather forecast being consistently sunny for the weekend, Rossi focused on assessing his bike‘s setting and the tyre combinations, and set the 18th fastest time of the day.
Viñales used the 45-minute morning session with a clear goal in mind. He knew that the track temperatures would rise and bring big changes in terms of tyre decisions. Therefore, the Spaniard used FP1 to get his bike ready for FP2, expecting its conditions to be similar to those in Sunday‘s race. He wrapped up FP1 in 14th place, with a 1‘48.392s lap on his last try, 0.834s from the leading time.
In the afternoon, the number-25 rider went down to business. He used the first half of the session to fine-tune his bike‘s setting and was then quick to ride his YZR-M1 to fourth place in the provisional rankings. He set multiple fast laps as he fought to hold a spot in the top-3. However, every time he got up there, he was pushed down a position and ultimately finished fifth, with a 1‘46.973s lap. Still, the Spaniard underlined how fast his race pace is, as he finished 0.241s from first.
Rossi was happy to greet the local fans under the Tuscan sun in FP1, as he prepared for his first home race of the season. Eager to position himself as a key protagonist for this weekend in front of his home fans, the Doctor tested various settings for his YZR-M1 throughout the morning practice, but he struggled to find good pace. He finished in 12th place with a best lap of 1’48.356s, 0.798s off the fastest time.
The nine-time World Champion’s performance improved slightly in FP2. Encouraged by the loud cheers from the Italian fans, he used the afternoon session to further work on his bike‘s setting. He bettered his personal best lap by 0.630s but didn‘t improve his ranking. He ended the day in 18th place in the FP2 and the combined timesheets, with a fastest lap of 1‘47.726s, 0.994s from the top.
“We already assumed this weekend would start with some difficulties here in Mugello considering the long straight, but we didn’t expect the struggles we experienced in FP1. During FP2 the situation became more normal again, apart from Valentino’s P18, so we need to find out what happened there. We have been fast in sector 1 to 3 and we lost time where we foresaw. Today we were also able to test most of the tyre combinations and we could almost determine which option we’ll use in Sunday’s race. I expect that it will be a long night for our engineers to analyse the data and prepare some solutions so we can improve our performance at both sides of the garage for tomorrow’s FP3 and have both riders in Q2.”
“In the afternoon I improved my riding. Just by riding the bike, and by trying to make myself smaller around the whole track, is where I found some time, but still the bike is very difficult, it’s so nervous. I couldn’t ride really well. We need to keep working and try to be better tomorrow. I’m struggling everywhere, so we need to improve and work in a good way if we want to fight for the race. Getting a first or second row for tomorrow will be very important. It’s such a long track, so you need to start at the front.”
“It was a difficult day, I expected to be more competitive, but already from this morning I wasn’t very fast. I wasn’t feeling very well, and I wasn’t able to ride in a very good way. In fact, my position is quite bad, so we have to improve. This afternoon we tried the hard tyres, but the pace isn’t fantastic. We need to improve in other areas than just top speed, because the other Yamahas are quite fast.”
FIRST DAY OF PRACTICE AT MUGELLO
IN VERY CLOSE STANDINGS ALEIX AND ANDREA BATTLE FOR A SPOT IN THE TOP TEN
The first day of practice ahead of the long-awaited GP of Italy at Mugello was characterised by very close standings with all the riders in a very tight group. It is a situation in which just a few tenths of a second, on a long a difficult track like the one in Tuscany, can mean a difference of several positions.
Aleix Espargaró was a protagonist in the morning, finishing FP1 in fifth place with a time of 1’47.812, just 25 hundredths behind leader Marc Márquez. Aleix lapped more than a half a second faster than last year, and in the afternoon session he was even faster, finishing with a time of 1’47.612 but in sixteenth place, although only 88 hundredths from the lead.
Andrea Iannone made a step forward compared to the difficult Le Mans race where he was also limited by problems with his left ankle, fresh from the crash in Jerez. His physical conditions no longer seem to be a worry, and Andrea was able to resume the development path on his RS-GP, improving between the first and second session with a time of 1,47.887 which puts him in nineteenth place and just over one second behind the leader.
“This morning I was able to do a few good laps. The slipstream helped because we know how important that is here at Mugello. In the afternoon, on the other hand, we were unable to make as much progress. We are struggling a bit in mid-turn where the bike tends to slide around, losing the line. The new fairing is certainly an improvement. The bike is more agile, although it generates more aerodynamic load.”
“If we look at the position it may seem like a complicated day, but instead I am rather satisfied with the way we worked today. We are one second behind the leaders, the new fairing let us make a small step forward. We are struggling with rear tyre grip at the moment, in the sense that, when we have too much, the bike pushes in braking and we are unable to slow down as we would like. We have a rather clear idea, but we need to keep working non-stop.”
Bumpy opening to the Italian GP for Syahrin and Oliveira
The Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo of Hafizh Syahrin and Miguel Oliveira experienced a sunny start at the Mugello Circuit in the Tuscan hills today, although they both worked hard to find a decent feeling at the demanding Italian track.
While Malaysian star Syahrin was able to lower his lap time significantly from FP1 to FP2 by 1.361 second, he eventually lost out on the top 10 by 1.226 seconds at the end of the first day. Yet, MotoGP rookie Oliveira put in a lot of work to be 0.956 quicker in just his second session aboard the KTM RC16 at the demanding Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello this afternoon, but still sees room for improvement from tomorrow’s FP3 at 9.55 local time.
“The first day was quite good overall. We are still a bit behind and try to find the right pace. The team is working really hard and we have a good rhythm, but we need to find some details in order to improve our speed. At the moment, we are a bit worried about the tyre choice in working towards the race, although we didn’t try the hard tyre yet. I hope that I can improve tomorrow and I already feel more confidence step by step. We need to work hard and get better.”
“It has been a tough day. On a different track, the first practice is always hard. The team tried to do some changes on the bike to help me, but at the moment it’s really not easy for me to find the good lines on the track and to be faster. We analyze this afternoon what we have to do and improve tomorrow.”