Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Leads Championship Heading to Italian Grand Prix
After a perfect weekend at Le Mans, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo prepare to go all out at Mugello for the Italian Grand Prix.
After a very successful weekend at Le Mans, where they scored the first Yamaha 1-2 of the season, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo head to 'Autodromo del Mugello' for Sunday's Gran Premio d'Italia in the flowing hills of Tuscany.
This weekend's race isn't just special for local hero Rossi, as it marks his first home Grand Prix of the season, but also for the team itself, which is based in Gerno di Lesmo.
The nine-time World Champion looks forward to putting on a show for the Italian crowd. Having secured a place on the podium at every round the MotoGP paddock has visited so far this season, he has once again established that he should never be ruled out come race day. He will aim to keep his podium streak going by adding another top result to his previous record of seven back-to-back premier class victories at Mugello from 2002 to 2008, two third places in 2009 and 2014, a 250cc win in 1999, and a 125cc win in 1997.
Lorenzo is also eager to get back aboard his YZR-M1. He impressed with his blistering pace at Jerez and Le Mans and is determined to keep the momentum going at the Italian track, where he fought a sensational battle with Marquez last year. The four-time World Champion has a six-consecutive podium run at Mugello in the premier class to his name, consisting of three wins in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and three second places in 2009, 2010, 2014. The challenging circuit also saw him take a first place in the 250cc class in 2006 and a 250cc second place in 2005.
The action at the winding 5245 metre circuit will kick off this Friday. Located 30km North-East of Florence, the GP at this historic track is a popular event, drawing thousands of enthusiastic spectators. Though Mugello is challenging, it is also a much beloved circuit amongst riders and engineers thanks to its mixture of fast and slow turns, a 1141 m longest straight and various uphill and downhill sections. Having hosted its first MotoGP event back in 1976, the track was bought by Ferrari in 1988 before becoming a permanent fixture in 1991 after extensive refurbishment. Set within beautiful countryside of Tuscany, the circuit offers great views, so the crowd can fully enjoy the action as they cheer on their favorite riders and teams.
"Arriving at Mugello as the leader in the championship and being in a great shape is perfect. We are fast from the start of the season and this is important. I really like the Mugello circuit, the Italian Grand Prix is always a nice weekend, but also Jorge loves this track. Jorge and I will try to put our Yamahas on top again, but this time I hope it will be in a reverse order! In Le Mans I struggled a bit, but I still managed to take second. At Mugello we must not make mistakes with the setup of the bike, starting from the free practices. We will work hard from the first day to make this a nice weekend. There will be so many people in Mugello. We will have even more fans visiting the track already on Saturday. It will be a great race!"
"Le Mans was a confirmation that I'm feeling stronger and that I'm in a great shape. Claiming a second victory in a row was very important to me and the team in order to know for certain that Jerez wasn't a one-time event. In Le Mans we got the pace and the rhythm to achieve another win. The YZR-M1 is a nice bike to ride and permits me to ride in the manner I like. In Le Mans we were able to do a perfect job during the whole weekend, as in Jerez, and now we look forward to racing again in Mugello. The track is maybe one of my favorites throughout the MotoGP calendar so I'm eager to race there. In the past I got so many wins in Mugello and it's a suitable circuit for both me and the YZR-M1. It's fluid, with many uphill and downhill sectors and amazing, long high-speed corners such as Arrabbiata 1 and 2. I will try to fight again for the podium here and keep this nice momentum going!"
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Manager
"Mugello is our first home race of the season and personally I find it one of the nicest circuits of the championship and it's located in a beautiful area. In the past our bike suited the track very well. Now that our riders are on top form, that makes the coming weekend even more exciting. It's really important to start working in the right direction from the first session, so we can prepare for the race in the best way possible, because I expect a really tough race. Let's make it another great race to remember in front of the Italian fans!"
Tech3 duo head to Tuscany prepared for Mugello challenge
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro will commence the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM this weekend and are fully optimistic of seizing a pair of strong results as the MotoGP paddock moves to Italian soil. Round 6 of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship will be contested at the legendary Italian circuit which is set deep in the Tuscan hills. The meandering 5.2 kilometre track, which features a straight of 1141 metres, always provides a high octane and entertaining race for the hugely enthusiastic local crowd who will pack out the facility for the 23 lap fight on Sunday.
Bradley Smith will aim to continue his positive form so far in 2015 at the Italian circuit, fresh from coming from a 6th place finish at the Tech3 team's home race in Le Mans. The British rider has closed in on the leading satellite bike position in the championship standings to within a point and will seek to score another top result aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Mugello circuit. Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro will intend to bounce back from his recent compartment surgery with a strong finish in Tuscany. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion completed last year's race with a determined ride to 5th position and will intend to battle as close to the front as possible on Sunday.
"It's that time of the year when we visit the awesome Mugello circuit again. Riding this track is a real pleasure and the race event is one that everyone enjoys, especially as the crowd is always so passionate. The track is undulating and there is a huge straight which means some of the fastest top speeds of the year are set there. With regards to the Yamaha, the flowing nature of the circuit suits us and as long as I ride smoothly, I feel that we can clinch a good result. Last race, I was right in the hunt with Iannone and Marquez in the final section of the race, so I hope to be in a similar position this time around on Sunday afternoon. As always, we will try to hit the ground running and we will look to get everything set up as soon as possible so that we can have a strong qualifying which is vital in order to close the weekend with a positive result in the race."
"I am excited about riding the Yamaha in the Tuscan hills this weekend! It will be a long race, especially after the surgery, but some corners such as the Casanova or the Savelli, are great fun to ride on a MotoGP bike. My operation was successful last week and I've had a few days to recover so that I can be as ready as possible for this race, which is a physically demanding one. The last GP was tricky due to my injury, but I still managed to finish the race in 7th and picked up some valuable championship points. Also this weekend I will push as hard as possible on race day but we will see how my arm feels before I make any serious predictions, yet for sure, I aim to be as high as possible. Last year I finished the race in 5th position and I've scored three podiums in the lower leagues at the track. To do the same this year would be great, so the plan is to qualify well and then finish the race in a strong placement. The atmosphere created by the crowd is always amazing and the perfect addition to our racing so I can't wait to see them at the track supporting us as enthusiastically as they always do."
Mugello welcomes the Athinà Forward Racing team
The charming region of Mugello will be the setting of the sixth round of the 2015 season this weekend. The Tuscan track, in fact, will host the first home race of the year for the Athinà Forward Racing team and its riders.
In MotoGP, after a good twelfth place in Le Mans and second place in the Open class, Loris Baz is looking forward to get back on his Yamaha Forward to score more championship points. His teammate Stefan Bradl is also motivated to go back on circuit. The German, after the premature withdrawal in Le Mans race, is aiming at the Top15 and to finish first of the Open bikes.
"After my first home race at Le Mans it is time for me and the team to go to Mugello for the first home race of Athinà Forward Racing. We worked well during the French weekend and I am convinced that we can be competitive here. Our second place in the Open class was great and it will be an extra motivation to make another step forward on this track which features such a long straight."
"After all the good work done during the test in Jerez I was prepared to do well in the race at Le Mans, but I was forced to retire, too bad. We made a good step forward in France and we are approaching Mugello believing that we can close the gap with the fastest Open."