Mugello Magic With Master Valentino Rossi & Fellow Italian Heroes
Mugello is here! One of the coolest and fan favourite circuits has arrived and the fans are already excited to see their hometown heroes in action including Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Franco Morbidelli. Anything can happen at this Italian circuit which is world class. The competition is red hot with Honda, Yamaha and Ducati going head to head. At this track, it will be interesting to analyse how the riders adapt to changing conditions and also finding the perfect set up to ensure their chances of success are the optimal level.
Cal Crutchlow is one rider looking forward to getting underway with his Honda machine and determining where they are at competitive wise this weekend. CC35: “We know that the Honda engine is very strong this year, so I am looking forward to trying that down the long start-finish straight. However, although I love most of the circuit, not so much the very end of the straight, it’s pretty scary there, but the rest of the layout is fantastic fun”. Overall, I’ve had a good feeling with this track over the years. I’ve been on the podium here in MotoGP and I’ve had some other strong results, including sixth place last year, so we will be aiming to build on that this weekend.” With that said, he has major competition beside him with fellow riders Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.
Marc Marquez is one fast MotoGP rider with an excellent track record to date. He will be the main competitor to knock off with Andrea Dovizioso close by wanting to repeat history at the home circuit of Mission Winnow Ducati. MM93: “I feel good. We will start from FP1 to analyse everything and try fight for the podium on Sunday”. Marquez is not one to boast. In fact, he is conservative and finds the limit during each session to then determine his chances on race day. The Spanish World Champion is hoping for good weather in Mugello. MM93: “I like the circuit, even if we have not always had the best results there. If we keep working well from Friday as in previous rounds, I feel confident we can have a good race. Our rivals are always very strong and very close at this circuit, it can be a fun race on Sunday!”
Fun is the key word with the Spanish Ant and he loves to push his bike to the limit. On the other side of the garage is Lorenzo who is a tough competitor and master at Mugello. He has had enormous success at this Tuscan location and wants to showcase his Honda speed. JL99: “We made good progress in Le Mans with the setting of the bike and were able to be much closer to the front. I’ve had similar success in the past in Mugello as to Le Mans, so I am hopefully of continuing to improve our position. The Repsol Honda Team has been working very hard and I am sure soon I will be able to achieve some results to thank them.”
With the changes made including a standard seat, Lorenzo is becoming more comfortable. A key moment in Ducati history could also be the one for Honda history. When Lorenzo starts charging at the front and winning, he will be very tough to beat. We look forward to when this occurs because it will be one heck of a celebration in parc ferme.
We must say that when you are at Mugello, from an inside line perspective, you can feel the engine noise throughout your body as you walk by the MotoGP bikes when they peel around the corners. It is an exhilarating experience to also be in amongst the crowd whom are passionate to say the least. A lot of them are crazy cranking chainsaws at all hours of the day and morning. The fans will be loud for Rossi and Dovizioso in particular as they lay down rubber around the circuit. Rossi is consistent and Dovi is keeping quiet in terms of his strategy. The quiet achiever knows that the Ducati package will be competitive this weekend.
With that said, he will have Jack Miller and teammate Petrucci to battle with and Miller wants the top seat so there are no guarantees. AD04: “It is important to start with a good base and work well during the weekend. The goal is to win but understand if you can fight for victory”. So, do you push or do you take the points…. That is a key question for DesmoDovi to assess throughout every session.
In terms of Rossi, he knows that Mugello is one of the most special races of the season for him. Being a crowd favourite does come with added pressure though being a seasoned professional does make the challenges a little less daunting.
VR46: “I'm glad it's time for Mugello, it’s a special weekend and a special race for all the Italian riders. It has a fantastic atmosphere, but it's also a bit tricky to manage with all the fans, but it’s really great. This is one of the most beautiful race tracks of the year. It’s a track I really like, but it will be hard because everybody is very fast. Mugello does have less acceleration from a low speed, so I think we could be faster than in Le Mans, but it is also true that there is a very long straight. Surely this will be our weak point, but if we work well, we can defend ourselves. We need to try our best to be competitive and give the maximum.”
In comparison, Maverick Vinales had a different mindset after Le Mans. He was sour and when the MavMeister is in this thought process, his decisions are not in line with his ability to race hard. MV12: “After the crash at Le Mans, I left the circuit with a bad taste in my mouth, I was very disappointed. We worked very well all weekend, but the problem was that I started too far from the first row of the grid. We’ve learned from this; we have to work hard on Saturdays. I'm really looking forward to being back on my bike this weekend. During the last Grand Prix I had a good feeling on the M1, it was almost perfect and I was able to go very fast. We are solving all the problems step by step. I’m sure that we are heading in the right direction. So, if we’ll continue working hard, good results will arrive soon. Mugello is a track that I like and where I've always had a lot of fun, and it's perfect for my riding style, so let’s see what happens.”
Everyone knows how good Vinales is on two wheels however the season has been an emotional rollercoaster and will probably continue in this format. The key point to take away from this as an athlete is the ability to separate yourself from the negative and focus purely on the positive.
The Italian fairy tale starts with practice and then qualifying before lights out on Sunday. Will it be a home victory or will someone else charge and take the throne before the very eyes of the world. Maybe the partnership with Alma Pramac Ducati and Automobili Lamborghini could see Miller achieve another podium finish! Tune in to see how it all unfolds.