News Report 1 June 2008

2008 MotoGP Italy - Mugello

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5245 m
att 96000
06 / 01 / 2008
Time to be confirmed

Seventh heaven for Rossi as he takes runaway Mugello victory


Valentino Rossi brought the house down once again in Mugello today with an emotional seventh straight victory at his home track in front of 96,000 adoring fans. It was the Fiat Yamaha Team Rider’s ninth win in total and fifth for Yamaha at this track and also his third win in a row this season, the first time he has won three consecutive races since 2005. His 91st victory is also a first for Bridgestone at this track.

Starting from pole for the first time in almost a year, Rossi set nerves on edge when he slipped a few places at the start, exiting turn one in fourth. He soon passed his compatriot Loris Capirossi however and crossed the line for the first time hot on the heels of Stoner and Pedrosa. Lap three saw him pass Pedrosa and then Stoner next time around, leaving him in the lead. From then on it was the Italian’s race and he stretched the gap to more than three seconds at one point, before rolling off slightly in the later stages as the temperature increased. He eventually crossed the line 2.201 seconds clear of Stoner, with his army of yellow-clad tifosi singing him home from the hillsides before invading the track, as is tradition here, and swarming under the podium.

It was a day of contrasts for the Fiat Yamaha Team as Jorge Lorenzo, in his 100th Grand Prix, slid out of the race on lap seven when looking strong in sixth place. Rossi is now 12 points clear of Pedrosa at the top of the championship and Lorenzo is 16 points off him in third. The team now heads directly to Barcelona for the Catalunya Grand Prix in just seven day’s time.

Valentino Rossi 1st 42'31.153; “After winning the championship, winning at Mugello is the next best thing for me and once again today it was like a dream. There is no way to describe the feeling I have standing on the podium in front of all of my fans here and I am so happy that I could win once again today. To win for the seventh time running at my home track is amazing but I felt quite a lot of pressure about this, so it’s a relief as well because I didn’t want to disappoint everyone! It’s been a hard weekend for everyone because of the bad weather and the lack of dry track time, but my crew have done a fantastic job with the bike and my M1 was wonderful today. Once I got to the front I was able to make a gap from the others but towards the end it was unbelievably hot and it became quite hard to ride. I wanted to ease off a bit but Casey was pushing hard behind so I had to keep going.
Thanks to all of my team, to the engineers and of course to Bridgestone! I’m really glad that I’ve been the one to give them their first win at this track and they did a great job today because my tyre worked virtually the same from start to finish. It’s been a fantastic day, it’s always one of the best moments of the year for me and now we’ve made a bit more of the gap at the top of the championship so things couldn’t be better. Honestly after this weekend I think I would like to go to bed for five days but now we have to go straight to Barcelona!”

Davide Brivio Team Manager; “We did it! There has been a lot of pressure on us this weekend because everyone has been talking about Valentino’s six wins in a row and expecting him to make it seven, and I think everyone in the team has felt it. Well done to all of them for keeping focused throughout and providing Valentino with the tools to do the job; what a job he did! It’s wonderful to watch him ride like this at Mugello it seems no one can stop him here. We’ve had three wins in a row but there’s no time to relax as now we go straight to Barcelona for what we know will be another big battle.”
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo had a disappointing 100th Grand Prix today, crashing out of the Italian round of the championship on lap seven when running strongly in sixth place.
Lorenzo, who is still not quite at 100% after suffering two fractured ankles in China one month ago, had struggled all weekend to find a good set-up, hampered by the lack of dry track time after losing Friday and Saturday morning to rain. Starting from seventh however he seemed to have found a better rhythm and was lapping as fast as the leaders when he made a mistake at turn ten, lost the front and slid into the gravel trap. It was a frustrating end to the weekend for the young Spaniard who was hoping for more after already having taken three poles, a race win and three podiums since he joined Yamaha at the start of the season.

Jorge Lorenzo DNF; “We have had a lot of problems this weekend but today for the race I was feeling very motivated and I got a good start. I think I could have fought for the podium and I can only say sorry to my team and to all of my fans; it was my mistake. I shouldn’t have tried to pass Dovizioso in this corner, it wasn’t the right place and I will learn from it. I am not worried about my mental condition though and I am now focused on Catalunya. Montmelo is coming and this is a good thing because I only have to wait five days until I can ride the bike again. In China we had to make some changes to the bike to enable me to ride in my condition and since then maybe we haven’t been exactly right with the set-up, but now we know where the problem is. Congratulations to Rossi, he was the best today!”

Daniele Romagnoli Team Manager; “Unfortunately this weekend has been very difficult for us and we weren’t able to improve the set-up of the bike enough. We made some changes in the warm-up however and it seemed Jorge had a better pace during the early laps than he has had all weekend. It’s a pity that he crashed but these things happen! Now we have to analyse all of the data from this weekend in order to find the right set-up for Barcelona so that we can give Jorge a good package for his home race. Thanks to all the team for doing a great job in difficult circumstances, unfortunately it wasn’t to be this weekend but we’re going to try to make up for it in Montmelo.”

Masahiko Nakajima Team Director; “We have felt a lot of pressure here because we wanted Valentino to be able to continue his winning streak and we were worried that, if we lost, the Italians would be very angry with us! We made a huge effort and we are very happy because we have achieved one of the most important objectives of the early part of the season. Now we have many others to achieve and we have to find more energy for Catalunya next week. It’s clear that the Bridgestone and Yamaha combination and cooperation is well matched now and we have a lot of confidence in our bike. On behalf of Yamaha I would like to congratulate Valentino and all of the team staff.”
“I am very sorry for Jorge’s crash. We know that from Shanghai onwards he has had a very hard time, even if at the last two races he has been able to get great results, and due to this we’ve lost the direction for the bike setting a little bit. Also here in Mugello unfortunately we didn’t have enough dry conditions to find the right set-up. Despite today however we believe that we can improve this situation and find the right way forward and I know that we will be able to give Jorge a very good bike for his home race in Barcelona next week.”
Tech 3 Yamaha celebrate double top six finish in Mugello

Colin Edwards and James Toseland catapulted the Tech 3 Yamaha team into third place in the coveted Team World Championship standings today after both produced fantastic top six results in front of 96,252 fans at the Italian GP.

Edwards produced by far his best Mugello result with fifth place, beating his previous best effort of ninth after he completed a terrific fightback from ninth place in the early stages. No less impressive was the performance of rookie James Toseland, who finished just one place further back in sixth on his first visit to the challenging Mugello circuit. Displaying his trademark aggressive riding style, Toseland’s surge through the field was one of the highlights of the 23-lap encounter as he passed the likes of Shinya Nakano, Nicky Hayden, Andrea Dovizioso, Loris Capirossi and Edwards.

From lap seven to 15, a fascinating inter-team battle ensued as Edwards chased Toseland, before the American made his decisive move to secure his third top five finish in the last four races. Toseland’s heroics moved him back into the top eight in the overall rider standings and equalled his previous best MotoGP result.
Colin Edwards 5th +12.530; “I didn’t get a great start but it wasn’t that bad but before I knew it I’d lost a couple of places. I didn’t have the grip in the first two laps that some of the other guys did, so I couldn’t stay with them off the corner. Once my tyres started to come in I really started to feel good, but I had to adjust my riding style with the temperature being so much higher than yesterday. The rear was coming round a bit on the entry of the corner and I started braking a lot harder, carrying less corner speed to try and conserve the tyre by picking the bike up and accelerating. It worked and I’ve got to say I’m happy with fifth. I’m happier with fifth here than I was with third in Le Mans to be honest. I expected to win at Le Mans, but my best result here has been a ninth. I’m not a guy that likes fifth, but on my biggest bogey track ever I’ll take it. We just had to run a tyre that we thought would have good endurance because in a situation where there’s hardly been any dry track time, you have to play safe. Nobody had done any endurance testing on tyres and I think the tyre I raced on I’d done about two laps on before the race! I have to say a big thanks to Michelin because they did a great job. We had no idea what the tyre would be like after 20 laps but to come from where I did showed we made a good choice. Tyre choice is critical at any track but here even more so because it is such an abrasive surface. It will destroy tyres if you are just a little bit off, so credit to Michelin. I had a good battle with James and its great to see him back in the top six. There were a couple of places like the two Arrabbiata corners where he could pull away.
I felt like I could control him if I could pass him, and the key was getting by and being able to pull a gap so he couldn’t slipstream back by me. It is another great result for the team today. I’m sure if you had said to Herve that our team would be third in the team points after six races he would have taken it."
James Toseland 6th +13.806; “That was a really hard race and I’ve got to say a massive thanks to my guys at Tech 3 because we found a set-up this morning after losing so much time with the weather and it got me in the top six. Considering the lack of dry time track time my Michelin tyres held up fantastically well too, so a big thanks to them as well. I couldn’t have done anymore. I was really close to Shinya Nakano in the first corner and that picked me up and I lost quite a few places. I kept my calm because I knew it was a long race and I didn’t want to make the same mistake as I did in Le Mans. I just had to settle down and I didn’t do anything stupid.
It’s nice to follow Colin home on the same package. Colin did a great job as well. I passed him early on but he found his pace. I held him towards the end but he just found those extra few tenths a lap and that was enough for him to pass me. You can tell he has got a lot of experience on these bikes and his bike doesn’t do move so much. I feel like I’m wrestling mine a bit too much but I’m still learning. With the setting I had the bike wasn’t so stable on the faster corners but my bike is one of the best out there and thanks to Yamaha. I rode hard in that race and if I was riding this hard and finishing fourteenth my morale would be seriously dented, but when I’m riding really well and the package is working well, I’m back in the top six again and this is where I need to be.”

Herve Poncharal Team Manager; “I am very pleased with today and I couldn’t have asked for more from Colin and James. Mugello has been a tough track for Colin and this was his best result by far. The first two laps he lost a few positions but he regained them and he rode a really clever and consistent race. I think honestly today fifth and sixth were the best results we could have reached. I’m even happier about James because he’s had some problems in the last couple of races. We never lost confidence in him because he is so motivated and you could see he was not happy with his results. We saw his fighting spirit at the start of the race and his very strong point, which is his aggressive passing, came to the fore again. At the end we were a bit scared when we saw Loris catching up but he kept concentrated and didn’t make any mistakes.
We leave Mugello with a really strong and positive spirit. Now we are third in the team championship, which is a great achievement for all of the guys. Only two factory teams are in front of us and this is very encouraging for us because we had a lot of pressure here. A lot of current sponsors and potential future sponsors were here, so I think we did a great job to show our potential. Congratulations to Yamaha again for winning that race and for being that strong, they have been magnificent this season.”