Andrea Dovizioso scores a fantastic win in the Italian GP at Mugello. Eighth place for Jorge Lorenzo and ninth for Michele Pirro. Danilo Petrucci finishes on the podium with an excellent third place on the Team Pramac Desmosedici GP
Andrea Dovizioso scored a fantastic win in today’s Italian GP, held at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany in front of a record crowd of 98,269 spectators. The Italian, who started from the front row after qualifying third, crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in fourth and then fought it out with Lorenzo and Rossi in the early stages, before moving up to second behind Viñales on lap 6. Dovizioso then took control at the front and maintained the lead of the race until the flag, holding off attacks from Viñales and Petrucci, who were second and third at the finish.
Jorge Lorenzo, who got a great start from row 3, was in the lead of the race for part of the opening lap, but then began to lose touch with the leading group and in the end he had to settle for eighth, ahead of Michele Pirro, who finished ninth after starting from row 2.
In the standings, Dovizioso has moved up into second place with 79 points, 26 behind leader Viñales, while Lorenzo has gained one place and is now seventh with 46 points.
Today’s triumph takes Ducati up to a total of 34 wins in MotoGP.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“It was a fantastic day for me but it had started badly after a sleepless night because I had a bit of food poisoning. Today I didn’t have much energy, but I knew that the bike was going to be strong, because we had worked well throughout the weekend and I also had a lot of support from my fans, physiotherapist and family and this made a big difference. Despite the fact that I wasn’t at 100%, I was able to administer the race even though I wasn’t the quickest man out there, but I did a perfect strategy, and I moved into the right position at the right moment. I rode really smoothly, I never forced the pace excessively and this made all the difference because Mugello is a track that physically wears you out and in any case the tyres did not allow me to push too hard. Finally we did it: winning at Mugello is really something special!”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 8th
“Obviously I can’t be satisfied with my race today. Even though I got off to a good start and I led a race for the first time this year, unfortunately lap after lap my pace started to slow. I continue to lose time under braking and for the moment I can’t get the best out of the bike’s assets, but above all I can’t be fast through the corner, which is one of my strong points, and today I was passed several times on the inside without being able to react. The positive thing about the race is that Andrea won and Danilo came third, demonstrating that today the Ducati was the best bike on the track. Back on Friday I said that the bike was good enough to win and I’m happy for Dovizioso because he deserved it.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Test Team #51) – 9th
“Unfortunately I ruined my good performance in practice and qualifying with a pretty bad start, and ending up thirteenth at the first corner from fourth on the grid certainly didn’t help matters much. From then on I tried to make my own pace, but we all had more or less the same speed and the battling between us did not allow me to make up many positions. In the end I finished the race just behind Jorge and that’s not bad, but above all I’m pleased because we worked well and we were consistently fast throughout the weekend.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding)
“Today’s win is a magnificent result that is just reward for all the hard work and sacrifices that everyone in Ducati Corse have done over the last few months and so I want to dedicate this splendid victory to them. At Mugello we saw two Ducati bikes and two Italian riders on the podium, with Andrea on the top step, in a fantastic race with no real retirements, and in the end the best man and bike won. Today we had an extraordinary bike and Dovizioso scored an exceptional result. This is the result of great team-work, and I think all Italians will be proud of it.
Movistar Yamaha take Second and Fourth in Mugello Match-Up
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales ended the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley today with a strong performance. The Spaniard held firm at the front of the field to earn a second place, his fourth podium of the season over six races. His still recovering teammate Valentino Rossi had the passionate Italian crowds at the Autodromo del Mugello in a frenzy as he battled at the front of the field. He finished the race in fourth position.
Viñales had a good start from pole and slotted in behind his fellow Movistar Yamaha rider. After a few tussles with various rivals in the opening stages, he hit the front of the field on lap four and put his head down to get a bit of daylight between him and the chasing riders. Though he was unable to completely break away, he held on to the lead for ten laps, after which he had to let Andrea Dovizioso pass.
Small mistakes in turn 15 on lap 15 and in turn one on lap 17 caused the young contender to lose some time and he found himself in third place. However, Viñales refused to give up the fight and, with four laps to go, he took back second position and was on the hunt for Dovizioso, 1.215s ahead of him. He shaved off some time in the last few laps, but decided to abort his mission on the home stretch. He crossed the line in second place, 1.281s from first, scoring valuable points for the championship.
Starting from second on the grid, Rossi had the air horns blare in the crowd as he dashed past his teammate to take the holeshot. He was joined at the front by Jorge Lorenzo, Viñales and Dovizioso. The heart rates of VR46 fans all around the world went through the roof on the opening laps, as the Doctor battled with the challenging riders. The order changed constantly, until a front group, consisting of four riders, started to form after lap seven.
While the Mugello Circuit got swamped in yellow smoke, Rossi bravely held on to third place for eight laps, until Danilo Petrucci passed him on lap 14, just when the Doctor was lining up Viñales. The nine times World Champion was initially up for the challenge to regain his position, but with his body still sore from his motocross accident, he wisely decided to bring home his YZR-M1 for a fourth-place finish. He took the chequered flag 3.685s from the front.
Viñales’ second place earns him 20 points. He maintains the lead in the championship standings with a 105-point total, 30 points ahead of Rossi in third place. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also hold the lead in the Team standings by 44 points, with a total of 180 points, whilst Yamaha remains the top manufacturer in the Constructor’s Championship by a 23-point margin, with 128 points.
The MotoGP paddock will now travel to Spain for the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, held next weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Position: 1st – Championship: 1st – Points: 105
Honestly, Im so happy and pleased, because today was a day to stay on the bike. When I saw Valentino fall back and with Marc not being there at the front, I thought OK today is the day to take second place and bring home a lot of points, which is really important after the crash on Friday. Being on the bike was already very lucky, because it was a fast crash and my arm was hurting a lot, so Im very pleased for todays result. I was only feeling pain when the bike was moving but for most of the race I was feeling really good, I was at 100%. I was, as always, preparing to push on the last five laps and make my best rhythm of the race, but like I said, today was a good day to stay on the bike.
Position: 4th – Championship: 3rd – Points: 75
I knew that todays race would be more difficult than usual for me. While on the bike I rode well and I didn’t have pain, but I was struggling a bit and I knew that 23 laps would be long and hard. I tried my best, I did a perfect start and I led the race for some laps, but I couldn’t really ride the way I would have liked to. At the end I tried to stay close to the riders in front, but I did not have the power to attack Danilo. I would have liked a lot to be on the podium today, but there was nothing I could do. Its a bit disappointing that I’m not on the podium at Mugello, but seeing where I was few days ago, and the big hit I took, its been a positive weekend all in all. Being here and riding in front of so many fans was a gift. Now we have just few days before Catalunya, another important race, so I will try to recover and be in perfect shape in Barcelona.
It has not been a very easy weekend, but after yesterdays qualifying we were quite confident of our performance. Todays race started well with Maverick and Valentino battling at the front of the field for the lead in a group of four to five riders who all maintained a similar pace. When Maverick understood that chasing the rider in first position was too risky, he decided to take home some very important points for the championship, rather than make a mistake. Knowing Valentinos condition when he arrived here, he rode a really great race. He was on the limit of his physical abilities today, so his fourth place is a big achievement, but in my opinion he deserved a podium, considering the effort that he put in. We will now head straight to Catalunya for the next round of the championship, where we look forward to another thrilling weekend of racing.
Zarco Clinches 7th at Mugello, Folger Recovers to 13th
Johann Zarco produced a determined performance in the Tuscan hills to seize 7th at the Italian Grand Prix in front of over 100,00 passionate fans. The rapid French rider began the race from 11th on the grid and pushed nonstop as he fought in the competitive showdown. The final result today adds to his 6th place in the championship standings where he is currently the top independent rider as well as the leading rookie.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger battled throughout the 23-lap sprint to maintain the 100% point scoring record in six races in his rookie season. He endured a difficult start whereby he fell back to 21st by the end of the second lap, yet he remained focused and mounted a notable recovery charge before eventually finishing in 13th.
Position: 7th – Championship: 6th – Points: 64
“It was a great race for me here in Mugello and I am happy with the end result. I started from 11th on the grid, which made things more difficult because I didnt have the advantage that I had in Le Mans with my qualifying position. However, I was able to keep the pace and control my rhythm but it was tricky to overtake Iannone because his acceleration was slightly better and his braking was also very strong. It took a long time to get past him and as a result, I lost contact with Marquez and Bautista and this was the group that was fighting for 5th. When I overtook Iannone, I expected to catch the two riders in front of me quite quickly, yet, I was tired because I had to force the bike a lot and I felt that my tyres had dropped a little. However, in the last five laps the group behind me caught up, but I had a great feeling on the bike and the hard tyre was working really well again, as was the front, and this meant that I could push and save this 7th position. The result is a positive thing because it was a tricky weekend and we tried to find a solution to some of the sliding issues but it was not so easy. However, once again, I gained a lot of knowledge and I gave it everything that I had, so we can leave Mugello feeling satisfied.”
Position: 13th – Championship: 9th – Points: 41
“I cant hide my disappointment about today but I did my best to recover as much as possible. The issue that is limiting me is the beginning section of the race and we are unsure about how to improve the situation at the moment. We are always able to make a fast lap during the weekend, but during the GP here, I struggled to stay consistent and ride decent lap times at the start. It was not a good day and I want to move on from this. Now I have to check and find a solution so that we can step up and go faster when the lights go out. We will keep working and I will try my best once again in Catalunya.”
MICHELIN SEES DOMINANT DOVIZIOSO PRODUCE A MUGELLO MASTERPIECE
2017 06 GP Italy 00197
Michelin witnessed the first Italian MotoGP™ winner on a Ducati at the Italian Grand Prix as Andrea Dovizioso rode to a superb victory at Mugello today in front of his home crowd at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley.
Starting from third on the grid, Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was soon amongst the early leaders as home favourite Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) got the holeshot and led for the first three-laps. Rossi was then passed by team-mate and yesterday’s pole-setter Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who held first place until lap-14 when Dovizioso made the race-winning manoeuvre to seize the lead and take the chequered flag at the end of 23 demanding laps, a victory made even more impressive as Dovizioso had to sit out this morning’s warm-up through ill-health. Following the Italian across the line was Viñales, a result that extended his championship lead. Third-place went to another home-hero as Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) scored his first dry weather MotoGP podium and the honour of First Independent Rider.
Today again underlined the usability of the range of MICHELIN Power Slick tyres, as each of the three front and rear compounds was used in the race. The three podium men all used different pairings, Dovizioso had a medium front and rear compound, with Viñales choosing the hard front and rear and Petrucci favouring the hard front and medium rear. This highlights the options that are available to all riders and manufacturers and was the first time this season that all six versions of the slick tyre had been used in a race. The durability and performance of the MICHELIN Power Slicks were further emphasised as the race duration time of 41’32.126 set a new record, almost four-and-a-half seconds better than the previous best – which was achieved on Michelin tyres last season. Today’s result also saw the fourth different winner in as many races, again showing how the Michelin tyres adapt to all machinery, with three manufacturers taking victory from those four races.
The battle for the remaining top-10 places also produced to some exciting battles with Rossi coming home in fourth before his adoring home fans, who had bathed the grandstands in a sea of yellow – Rossi also produced a great ride after a training accident had threatened to rule out his participation this weekend. Fifth went to Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Ducati) after a spirited head-to-head with reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) who took sixth. Seventh went to Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) with Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Michele Pirro (Ducati Team) taking eighth and ninth respectively. Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) rounded out the top-10.
Today’s race was held in overcast and slightly cooler conditions than had been experienced during the first two days and the big crowd of over 98,000 people that filled the Tuscan hillsides around the circuit were treated to an exciting day of racing. The Moto2™ and Moto3™ race were – like the main event – won by Italian riders, making today a true celebration.
The MotoGP circus now heads straight to Spain and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya where round seven of the championship will take place next weekend.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team:
“It has been a really special feeling to win today in front of the home fans and on a Ducati. I felt really good on the tyres today. The rear didn’t drop at all so I was able to be consistent from the start to the finish, so I was happy about that. The front is not so easy to manage here, but overall we are happy because we did a great test here before the race with Michelin and that helped us to be perfect for the race.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We have had a very positive weekend here at Mugello. The stiffer construction front tyre worked well here and the riders adapted to it and produced some very fast times from the practice sessions onwards. Our range of different compounds again created many choices for the riders and gave them something they could use, no matter what their riding style or bike. We are constantly striving to improve and we have a marker from last year of our own results to aim for, so to get another race duration record for the second event in succession is also a very pleasing outcome for all involved. It was a special atmosphere here today and one that was good to be a part of, we hope that this continues for the rest of the year and the racing is as good as it was today. We now head to Spain and another important race, we had a good test there recently so we know what to expect and have the tyres to cope with the conditions. We also have another test after the race weekend at the same track, so we will be looking to gather more information from that.”
Difficult race for Marquez and Pedrosa in Mugello
The Repsol Honda riders had quite a challenging time at the Italian Grand Prix today. Marc Marquez struggled to manage front-tyre life for the entire race and settled for bringing home 10 solid points, finishing in sixth place.
Dani Pedrosa also struggled a lot with the front tyre and was trying to obtain the best result possible when he crashed out of 11th position on the last lap, unintentionally taking down fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow.
Heading to the next race in Catalunya in just one week’s time, Marc and Dani are fourth and fifth in the Championship, both on 68 points (37 points behind leader Viñales).
“I started the race strong because I knew the first laps were important, so I tried to fight. At first I was able to do it, but after a while I started struggling with the front tyre in the corners, and I was also getting caught on the straight by the others. We chose the medium front spec because we knew that with the hard option, which I felt better with, we wouldn’t have finished the race. In fact, with the hard front option being asymmetric, in this case the medium spec was harder on the right side than the hard spec, and the Mugello track stresses the right side more. But at a certain point, I started feeling I was struggling too much in the corners, so I decided to stay there and not risk crashing. The situation allowed us to finish sixth. This is an up-and-down championship, so we must keep working hard and look to improve.”
“We’ve been struggling with lack of grip since the beginning of the weekend, and today in the race it was even worse. I felt no grip since the start, either at the front or the rear, and I got passed by many riders with no possibility to fight back. The bike was shaking a lot even on the straight, and basically I wasn’t able to manage it. It was a long race. Ultimately I crashed on the last lap trying to overtake Cal, and I took him out. I’m sorry for that because it’s not good when you make a mistake and someone else pays for it. Luckily, we’re both okay after the crash, so we’ll take this and look forward to the next race. Hopefully we’ll have a better feeling in Catalunya.”
KTM WINS FIFTH CONSECUTIVE MOTO3 RACE AT MUGELLO AS MOTOGP TEAM ADVANCES TECHNICALLY
RACE 6th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Autodromo del Mugello (ITA)
In front of a record crowd of 98,269, the Italian Grand Prix produced a fantastic day for KTM in Moto3 as the Austrian marque won their fifth consecutive Moto3 race at the Mugello track. Andrea Migno, riding for SKY Racing Team VR46, took his KTM to victory for the very first time in his career in front of an adoring Italian crowd in one of the closest and most thrilling races seen in recent times as the top 15 riders crossed the line covered by an incredible 1.5 seconds. In Moto2, another close race saw Miguel Oliviera finish just 5.1 seconds from the victory with his Red Bull Ajo KTM Moto2 bike after 21 laps. 8 time Motocross World Champion Tony Cairoli was watching as the MotoGP race got underway with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing of Pol Espargaro fighting hard with a new chassis he and Bradley Smith were using this weekend. Unfortunately an electrical problem meant Pol’s pace couldn’t be held, ultimately leading in retirement. Smith had a rear brake problem from the halfway point but he adapted his riding to finish 20th.
8 time Motocross World Champion Tony Cairoli was watching as the MotoGP race got underway with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing of Pol Espargaro fighting hard with a new chassis he and Bradley Smith were using this weekend on the KTM RC16. Unfortunately an electrical problem meant Pol’s pace couldn’t be held, ultimately leading in retirement. Smith had a rear brake problem from the halfway point but he adapted his riding to finish 20th.
Smith: “We kept on working on the bike right up until the race, but when I started it was with a slightly different setting that took me a little too long to get the right feeling with before I started to pull in the gap to Abraham and Baz. Unfortunately the rear brake started to give me trouble from the half way point before I then had nothing. For the KTM it’s crucial to make the bike work with a rear brake so it’s a frustrating way to finish the weekend but, we learnt a great deal and around such a difficult, technical track, that’s so similar to Austin, I think we did a better job here than in the USA. Looking forward, we now move on the Catalunya in a few days time and fight on.”
Espargaro: “It was a shame because we had an electrical problem that appeared this weekend after a big effort by the factory and the test team as Mika (Kallio) tried those pieces not too long ago so to get them here was a big effort. Thank you guys. From Friday we made good steps and we were aiming to be around 35 seconds off the win but it wasn’t to be.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “We knew that in our first season we’d have days like today, but today, especially on Pol’s side, it would’ve been good to get some points but he had some electronic problem that we don’t yet know the cause of. We will analyse this but I’m sorry for him. It’s a shame as the team worked hard before this problem; they really made good progress during the practice sessions where the lap times were coming. In the race, Pol was battling with Miller and Folger before this problem appeared but then he stopped as he didn’t know what the problem was and didn’t want to risk anything. With Bradley, he was struggling a little more over the weekend but for the race he felt better on the bike, however in the end he couldn’t quite stay with the group ahead as he had a rear brake problem. Overall what is clear is that in general we are stepping forward and it looks like we have found a step forward again with the set up of the bike. We knew Mugello was going to be difficult for us, but with the overall package we are progressing.”
Both Red Bull Ajo KTMs finished in the top ten in Moto2 at Mugello with Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira crossing the line in fifth, a tantalising 5.1 seconds back from the winner. For a debut of the KTM Moto2 motorcycle at this race track, it was a result that was welcomed in only the bike’s sixth race Reigning Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder returned to the team this weekend after injury, immediately jumping back into action with an impressive tenth.
Oliveira: “During the first few laps I lost a lot of time behind Marini; whenever I tried to pass, he returned the move and we lost a lot of time compared to the four in front of us. Later, when I had overtaken him, there was a lot of distance to the front riders and although I had a good pace I couldn’t catch them. I’m happy about the work we did this weekend; it was a difficult circuit, but we have consolidated fourth place in the World Championship and I am satisfied with that. There is no time to rest, so from today we have to think about Barcelona.”
Binder: “Yesterday I had a hard time riding the bike; my arm hurt a lot and I had no energy. Thanks to the team, Doctor Mir, the Clinica Mobile and my physios that have helped me to feel strong and get to the race. Today, I don’t know how, but after 10 laps my left arm was very tired and the effort I had to expend with the right to compensate took its toll on me with 5 laps to go. Having come back from the injury with this result is something to be very happy about. Now I just have to keep working, try to recover the strength in my left arm to be 100% fit as soon as possible.”
In one of the most closely fought races seen in living memory, Italian Andrea Migno took the KTM RC250 GP to the fifth consecutive victory at Mugello after the wins of Salom, Fenati, Oliviera and Binder. The Italian’s win is the first for KTM in 2017. Red Bull Ajo’s Bo Bendsneyder was 12th, just 1.2 seconds from the victory while team mate Niccolo Antonelli was only 1.8 seconds off the win, but quite incredibly outside the points. For those watching trackside or on TV the world over it was a race to savour as part of the history of Moto3 that has seen such close racing since its debut in 2012. Out of the top 15, KTM filled seven places with not only the win but also third place from Juanfran Guevara.
Migno: “The most beautiful day of my life. There are no other words to describe this moment. Winning the first race in my career at Mugello in front of this incredible crowd is a dream that goes beyond all my expectations. It was a tough weekend: I was not fast in the sessions, then in the warm up something has changed. The last lap was too long: I was in front of Di Giannantonio at the first corner, and it is difficult here at Mugello cross the finish line first from that position. I believed it, I wanted it. What to say? I want to thank my family, they always supported me, Team Sky for their incredible job and the VR46 Riders Academy that follows us step by step. A special dedication also to Marco Simoncelli and Nicky Hayden.”
Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): “At Mugello the Moto3 race is always very special. We have several races in the championship where large groups are formed, so many riders place outside the points when in reality they are only 1.5 seconds away from the winner. But in any case, we cannot be happy with our results this weekend. As I have repeated several times during this season, we have to keep working hard and we need to do a thorough analysis to find out how we can improve our level in the coming races.”
The whole MotoGP paddock now moves straight towards Barcelona tomorrow for the second of four races within five weekends in the 18 race MotoGP World Championship.
The MotoGP World Championship reached a third distance for the season today with Italian riders setting the standard at Mugello. Andrea Dovizioso completed a home victory treble started by Andrea Migno in Moto3 and Mattia Pasini in Moto2. The Ducati rider took his third MotoGP victory and presented the Borgo Panigale factory with a first win of the season in a race he started from the front row. Dovizioso gradually consolidated his position in the front group until, at the start of lap 14 of a total of 23, he took a lead he would not relinquish. Behind, Maverick Viñales, Valentino Rossi and Ducati independent rider Danilo Petrucci fought for the rest of the podium positions, which finally went to the Spaniard and Petrucci.
Pull & Bear Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista completed the top five with a great performance at Mugello. Bautista brought the Pull & Bear Aspar Team back to the top 5 after a brilliant race that saw him gradually close in on the front and finish just three seconds from the podium. The Spaniard started the race with a clear goal of just making sure of a finish, so was a little tense in the first few turns. Once he loosened up he dispatched of the likes of Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Márquez to claim fifth and spark the celebrations in the Pull & Bear Aspar garage. For his part, Karel Abraham has shown great improvement since the test in Barcelona and from the beginning of the Italian Grand Prix to finish 16th, one position outside the points. The Czech rider is looking to build on the positive trend he has shown here since Friday at the next round in Barcelona in just a few days time.
5th Álvaro Bautista: “Today it was important to make it to the end of the race, after the two non-finishes in the last two races in Jerez and Le Mans, where we could have done well. We needed to finish. I had good pace, but I lost some positions at the beginning because I was a little stiff. Then, I started to relax and pick up my rhythm, and little by little I was passing the riders ahead. When I caught Marc Márquez, I thought about pushing to see if I could leave him behind, but he hooked on and it was difficult. Lap by lap the variation in the gap to the lead was very small but it served as reference. On the last lap, I tried to close all the doors to prevent him passing me, I did it and now I can say I finished fifth. I am happy to finish the race and especially to do it in this way. This was a real fifth position, not down to problems for other riders like in Argentina, where we were fourth. It gives us a real boost of morale for Barcelona.”
16th Karel Abraham: “It has been a bittersweet weekend because we started out on Friday still with a lot of problems that we had been unable to solve in Barcelona, we didn’t make much progress on Saturday but today we were able to run very consistent and quite fast lap times. Unfortunately there was a big gap to the group in front of me, which was Miller, Barberá and Folger, and even though I was making similar lap times to them it was too late to catch them. There was a big gap behind me too so I kind of rolled off for the last couple of laps. I’m disappointed we didn’t get that one point, but on the other hand we were in last place on Friday with big problems so we made an important step that we can be please with. Now we go to Barcelona and despite the problems we had there in the test I hope the progress we made here at Mugello can see us back up there fighting for the points again.”
ONLY A PENALTY FOR A JUMP START PUT THE BRAKES ON ALEIX ESPARGARÓ’S AMBITIONS AT MUGELLO
HIS ABSOLUTE FIFTH TIME IN THE RACE CONFIRMS THE VALUE OF ALEIX AND HIS APRILIA
When all was said and done, with the race severely compromised, Aleix Espargaró and his Aprilia scratched the itch of wanting to be the fastest on the track – even faster than the riders battling for the win. But the time of 1’47.885, achieved nine laps from the end, fifth best absolute lap of the race, remains solely as consolation, albeit not insignificant, in a race that was over for Aleix when the red light went off. In fact, at the start his RS-GP made a clear move early that did not have any impact on his performance, but it was enough to expose Aleix to the risk of a penalty which then arrived, forcing the Spaniard to do a ride through and consequently relegating him far from the group and extremely far from the battle for a top ten spot where he had been before.
Back on the track – and before stopping due to running long onto the gravel – Aleix demonstrated that excellent race pace that had fed the hopes of the entire Aprilia Racing Team Gresini throughout the weekend that he might bring home those results that are clearly within his potential. It is not enough to save the weekend, but it is a good start for the next MotoGP race which will be on the Spanish Montmelò circuit next Sunday.
Sam Lowes finished nineteenth. After a good start where he got close to the centre group, Sam had to reckon with a faltering feeling with the front that slowed him.
“It is a real pity. For the first time in my career I made a jump start and that is not what we needed. First and foremost I would like to apologize to the team. This is a particularly important race for Aprilia and the RS-GP was working very well. The sensations were the best of the entire season. My pace in the low 48s after the ride through (therefore without particular motivation and without the advantage of any slipstream) shows that we could have battled for important positions. After running off track in the gravel, something wasn’t working right with gear selection, so I made a pit stop. Once again, we showed that we are fast, but we are going home without any points. Now we need to consistently get back into the positions that we deserve.”
“I expected to be able to do a better race today, because in the first 6 laps I felt very much at ease. I was able to overtake several riders, lapping at good times straight away, even dropping below 1’49”. At a certain point I began to lose the good feeling with the front end and so I struggled to maintain a good pace. It was a situation that conditioned me for the rest of the race. It’s a pity because throughout the weekend I had never noticed this type of problem. In any case, I want to look at the various positive sides that came out this weekend. I am happy to have finished the race and to have achieved a lap time that was actually only one second off the best. I am learning a lot in every race and we are moving in the right direction.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“We are not bringing home anything, despite being clearly fast, even fifth in the race lap time rankings. The problem at the start compromised the race for Aleix who then confirmed just how competitive he and his RS-GP are. Now we are headed to Barcelona which is a good track for us, as they all are, since we have a bike that is proving to be truly strong on all the circuits and a fast rider like Aleix. If there are no problems, we can realistically aim for very high positions, but now the time has come to demonstrate our value, which by now is quite clear and acknowledged, with concrete race results.”
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
“It should have been a good race. We had everything we needed to make it happen, but instead it was compromised right at the start. And yet, even in these circumstances, we clearly demonstrated how high our potential is, lapping very fast. It’s a shame that it had to happen here at Mugello, but fortunately we don’t have much time to complain, because already on Sunday we will be racing in Barcelona, a circuit where we just did some positive tests, so we will have our chance for redemption straight away.”