MotoGP™ hits popular Mugello with Lorenzo in the lead
Just hours after announcing his two-year contract extension with the Repsol Honda Team partnering Moto2™ rider Marc Márquez, Dani Pedrosa joined championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi at the press conference on Thursday marking the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at Mugello.
Pedrosa, who now lies second in the championship after his maiden win of the season last time out in Germany, earlier in the day confirmed he has signed a two-year contract extension with Repsol Honda, along-side Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s current Moto2 championship leader Márquez. He said: “It was great to win the race, the feeling was so good. And after that Honda and myself announced that we will continue together. This is great news for me, because I’ve been many years with Honda since I started racing. I have always raced Repsol Honda. For us to continue it’s great and we are hoping to continue in a strong way, also now in the second half of the championship.
“Here is a great track for us. Last year doesn’t count much because I wasn’t so fit, but two years ago I won the race here, so I’m pretty confident here. The Honda is normally good here. We hope to do a good job and to do a good race.”
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo, who regained top spot in the championship with a second place in Germany, is also adamant that he can improve at Mugello, and is confident of the Yamaha’s pace at the track. He commented: “In Sachsenring we saw how difficult it’s going to be this year to fight with Casey and Dani. It seems that they have improved a little bit the last two races; they have found something that has given them a bit more speed. But we are not so bad, apart from at the Sachsenring. We hope to come back here stronger and faster. I like it [Mugello] very much. I won here in 2006 and in 2011. It’s a track that can be good for my riding style and for Yamaha, and this year we won’t loose so much on speed. So tomorrow we will see.”
Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner, who suffered an uncharacteristic crash at the Sachsenring, is looking to make amends at the Italian track and claw back points in the championship.
“We’ve always been quite fast here at Mugello. We’ve had quite a few podiums here and everything had gone quite well last year. We were happy with our pace, but it went a little wrong with tyre pressures, so we had nothing at the end of the race. Hopefully this year will be a different thing. The last two races we have worked very well with trying to save the tyres, trying to get them to work as best as we can over race distance. It’s definitely one of the tracks I enjoy the most. In general we’re happy with our pace, and if we can keep that sort of pace until the end of the season we shouldn’t have to worry too much about the points gap at the moment.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso, who recorded his third podium of the season in Germany, hopes to extend his good form, and put on a good show in front of his home crowd.
“To arrive here after three podiums means we arrive here with a lot of confidence. I’m looking forward to the track, especially with the new asphalt; I think it will be really good for our bike and my riding style. But it seems to be a good track for everybody, so it’s going to be difficult. We want to have a better race, and I think we have some margin to improve. It looks like it’s going to be hot, so we’ll have a chance to work on the bike and improve my speed.”
Ducati Team’s Valentino Rossi, who has won at the track nine times in his Grand Prix career, is hoping to put on a good show for his home support, yet remains realistic about his chances. He said: “I had a very bad crash here in 2010, but apart from that I have a lot of great memories. This track, I agree with the other guys, it’s fantastic, and with the great atmosphere it’s something special. Because there are a lot of fans that are also very close to the track I really like racing here. We have to make a special effort to try and go faster this weekend. In Sachsenring it was not so bad, especially at the end. I could keep a quite good pace and overtake a few at the end. So we have to start in a better way here and try to stay closer to the guys in front.”
Speaking about his future and the talk surrounding what Audi might bring to the plate with their Ducati take-over, he commented: “When I spoke with Audi I was happy, because they have a lot of enthusiasm to improve the bike and to make an effort to improve our performance. We will speak about the future next week.”