MotoGP: Ahead of Italian GP riders recap on season so far

MotoGP: Ahead of Italian GP riders recap on season so far
Ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was joined in the Pre-Event Press Conference by Italian legend Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), 2017 race winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Alma Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller and Moto2™ World Championship leader Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia to talk about the weekend ahead, the season so far and debrief a few final points from Le Mans before taking on the magnificent Mugello.

First, however, there was another event on Thursday morning as Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Lorenzo Baldassari (Pons HP40), Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP), Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team), Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team), Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing), Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) took part in a Giro di Scarperia – a lap of the circuit before cycling to the impressive Palazzo dei Vicari and then back to the track.

Back to the track and back on track with the weekend, Marquez spoke first in the Press Conference later in the day. With a mixed record at Mugello, it’s not a talisman venue for the number 93 – but the season has seen him conquer some venues at which he has a similar record already. “Mugello is a really nice track, one of the most difficult on the calendar and in the past where I didn’t achieve my best results, but we had a test here a few weeks ago and it wasn’t bad. But now, it’s warmer temperatures and everything has changed so we need to do ride the same as we have in the last few races.”

Asked if the Honda he’s riding now is the best he’s had in the premier class, Marquez says it’s not quite like 2014 – and a lot is down to his competitors.

“It’s related to the performance of our opponents. I feel good now with the bike but in 2014 I felt better, it was easier to ride in 2014. Now there are different tyres and electronics everything is different, and if the performance of your opponents is higher then you struggle more with the bike. But now it looks like we can be fast in all conditions, a bit like the second part of last season, this year it looks like we’ve started in a good way and circuits where we normally struggle we’ve been able to be on top or on the podium and that’s the most important thing during the season.”

Consistency is, as always, important. That’s true for everyone, but Valentino Rossi is certainly one of those looking for more after a more difficult start to the season for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team. But the number 46 took his second podium of the year in France, and Mugello is something extra special – home turf where the crowd breathes yellow, and a venue where he’s won seven times.

“Mugello is a special weekend for me and for all the Italian riders, it’s the historic Italian GP for MotoGP,” affirms the ‘Doctor’. “The track is fantastic, one of the best, and the atmosphere, especially on Sunday, is very special. I arrive better than last year because last year I’d been injured in motocross, but then it was quite a good race. So we have to check this year! In Le Mans it was a good podium but it’s always a good track for the Yamaha and we have to understand our potential here.”

In terms of understanding that, there was also a private test at the venue recently that the majority of the field took part in – although it was interrupted by the weather. For Rossi, it’s a case of starting from Le Mans and moving on.

“The test here wasn’t fantastic for me because I wasn’t very fast,” he admits, “but the conditions weren’t fantastic and we only did the morning. But we haven’t changed a lot and we’ll start with a similar base from Le Mans, try and find the feeling and improve – it’s a different track with a lot of changes of direction so you need a different feeling with the bike.”

Danilo Petrucci, however, does think he might be a little behind initially after not having tested at the venue. But ‘Petrux’ is, like Rossi, happy to be riding at home – and is aiming high again after his rostrum at Le Mans last time out and his podium form at Mugello in 2017.

“It’s always special to be here,” begins the Italian. “There are just more Italian journalists! It’s one of my favourite tracks and after Le Mans we arrive in a positive way, but we have to do things simply – the things we’ve done in every race, be precise with the details and working on the bike. Today we had an important meeting and decided everything about the bike, we’re working a lot and arriving here after a podium is special. After last year and two weeks ago I know a target for me is to be on the podium but for sure it won’t be easy. We haven’t been here for testing so we start a step behind but we’ll try and recover as fast as possible.”

The number 9 was also asked about his teammate, Jack Miller, and the competition between the two looking towards next season and a possible move to the Ducati Team as rumoured.

“Jack is very fast and he’s shown that in all previous races,” says Petrucci. “But every race is important in MotoGP, there’s not one race that’s easier than another and I always want to be as quick as possible. Sometimes it happens but sometimes it’s more difficult. I have to be in front of as many people as possible, I don’t care about being in front of one rider or another – I just try to be faster than everyone…it’s just not always possible, unfortunately!”

Miller was, aptly, the next on the mic – and talked more of consistency, having taken eight top ten finishes in a row as of Le Mans.

“I’m feeling pretty good and such a consistent run for me is quit a new feeling – I was known for inconsistency in the past and I loved to crash,” laughed the Australian. “But since hopping on the Ducati I’ve found some new form and new consistency and it’s starting to show with some decent races. In Jerez we got lucky with the tangle between Dani, Dovi and Jorge but in Le Mans it was good to fight and be close to the group for the podium. We were missing a little bit there but riding with these guys and being around them the whole race, I learned a lot and got a lot more experience so I’ll try and bring the momentum we’ve had in the last couple of GPs into this weekend. It’s a track I’ve not done the best at in the past, I had a pole but then crashed out that year but since, on the Honda, I‘ve struggled. It will be interesting, this bike won here last year so it’s sure not slow around here and we have to try and do our best!”

Miller continued talking about riding at the front and experience, also asked about the rumours about his future: “The more I get to ride with them at the front and study them and learn, the better. In the past I was crashing out a lot and missing out on valuable experience, so I feel I’m learning and maturing more into it, and enjoying it more and more. I finish the race with a smile on my face, especially when you’re up there you’re more and more hungry each week. It’s nice and it’s good to be at least in the frame for a factory position because two years ago I wouldn’t have imagined this was possible. It’s an amazing turnaround and I enjoy it, and it’s coming because of hard work so I have to keep pushing and keep trying.”

Keep pushing and keep trying could be a mantra used by Andrea Dovizioso after some back luck of late. Collected in the three-rider incident in Jerez and then crashing out the lead in Le Mans, ‘DesmoDovi’ did, however, have some big positives that point to a turnaround around the corner – at the track where he took his first win of the season in 2017.

“I hope the situation changes,” smiled the Italian. “We’ve come here with a different situation to last year, for many reasons, unfortunately we’re quite far from Marc this year but I think we were more competitive than the past in the last two races. Unfortunately we got zero points but we showed good speed and that’s important if you want to fight for the Championship. We know we have to start to gain some points and that’s not easy because the level is really high, and also at the test here a few weeks ago a lot of riders went fast, but I feel confident on the bike, this is a good track for us and I think we can be competitive. But every weekend it’s a different story! Let’s see tomorrow, when you put wheels on the ground you can understand if you’re really fast and can fight for the podium or the victory.”

Explaining his mistake in Le Mans, that’s exactly what Dovizioso says it was – a simple but costly error. “It was quite clear for me what happened, I was too relaxed because my speed was really good. I overtook Jorge because I wanted to be in front because Zarco was very aggressive. He had the speed and was maybe too excited to be in his home race! I put myself in the best position but made a mistake in the braking point, I wasn’t careful enough about the weight on the front and it was too much for the grip. It was a very small but bad mistake.”

Finally, it was then time for ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia to make his Press Conference debut. Ahead of his debut in the premier class in 2019, the intermediate class points leader was happy to be there – and is aiming to make more of a habit of it…

“I’m nervous, excited, but most of all happy to be here for the first time. Since the test in February we started well, we’ve taken a good direction to work in and from Qatar we knew it was possible to be fast this year, and the win in Texas and Le Mans confirmed that feeling. In Jerez it was difficult to be fast like in Austin or Le Mans but to finish third in a difficult Grand Prix was good. For sure being here with riders who will be my competitors next year it’s hard to say much…next year I’ll be with the fastest riders on the planet, with Valentino who was my hero since I was young…that’s incredible. It’s the first time I’ve been here in the Press Conference and next year I hope I can be here a few more times!”

With so much talk of the future of late, it’s easy to forget we’re only at the sixth Grand Prix of the season – and what a Grand Prix it is. Mugello, home of one of the most passionate crowds in the world and some of the best racing we’ve ever seen. This year is sure to be no different when the lights go out at 14:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday – so make sure to tune in!

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36 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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37 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

Get well soon Dovi !! ... See Less

39 minutes ago

MotoGP

Less than ecstatic after the race 👊

P2 for Marc Márquez on the day but P1 in the championship 💪

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Comment on Facebook

Won't be long till all the haters start gobbling some humble pie...please swallow slowly, don't want you to choke..we need you back next year!!!..

Glad he talked about his concern for Dovi. That was good to hear. Sportsmanship is everything regardless of placings.

I love the whole sportsman ships these racers have for each other, 1 of the reasons to love Motogp ❤

Amazing race by amazing pilots.

congratulations Alex Rins you made my day

Congrats MM u did very well fighting off Rins but at the end Rins was the winner. Well deserved win. Lets bounce back with the next race. Sad about Dovi hope he is doing ok.

😂🤣😂🤣

Well done 42 rins ya dancer 😃😃😃💪👍

He may lose a battle here and there, but always wins the war, its part of racing. His consistency in finishing on the podium has been unmatched in recent times. Great to see him pushed and challenged by Dovi, Rins, Vinales and Quartararo.

MM i Love you 💙

What a fantastic young man. So sad that some supposed MotoGP fans can't see beyond their hateful bias against him. Ultimately blamed himself for making a mistake on the last corner, acknowledged Rins race craft for remaining in second, and disappointed that Dovi crashed out - what more do you want?

I thought he handled himself reasonably well given that he would obviously disappointed

He seemed ok to me in that interview. Was a great race from start to finish.

marquez did loose the race.....only just, but he knows that when they showed his pit board of dovi out, that he did not have much to loose, but his competitive nature, would never allow him to settle for 2nd or third. if you want to get on the podium, you've got to out ride or out think him........

You see he is dissapointed!!! Not a way we see marquez much....

Spoilt child. He was at max for too long and wiped out his tyres, whereas Rins never looked anything other than at ease and riding within himself which kept his tyres fresh so he could get drive out of the final corner. Marc shot his tyres hence why he nearly lost it coming through Woodcote and why he had to throttle back and had no traction.

One of the best race ever

❤ MM

BURNERS OF ANO ... IN THE FAMILY .... THE BROTHER THAT WAS SOLD ... LIKE THE BEAUTIFUL SLEEPING ... 😂😂😂😂

😘😘😘

❤️❤️❤️

Glad to see mm eat some humble pie

🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

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42 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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2 hrs ago

MotoGP

What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕

Dovi has to be the unlikeliest rider in motogp history, the amount of times he's been wiped out by others is nuts

Was right near this, was horrific to see bit thankfully they hobbled away

That was vicious. No life threatening injuries? Good day. Thank god for quality equipment.

Wishing Dovi a speedy recovery.

Dovi is out of luck this season. So sad to see a competitive rider ruling out of the race.

Hope both riders are ok wish them both a speedy recovery

ขอพระเจ้าคุ้มครองทั้ง2

Absolutely horrific. Was anxious to see if Dovi got up. Thankfully he did. Wishing both riders swift recovery.

I hope Fabio and Dovi are both okay

ขอพระเจ้าคุ้มครองทั้ง2

I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Did anybody know if they have injuries?

Quel dommage pour ces deux superbes pilotes! #20

A very dangerous game yet we love it soooo much. Thanks to all rider who deliver a very competitive race every year. Dovi n Fabio, speed recovery please. I believe anyone who sit on that situation cant avoid hitting the loose bike.

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

In situations where dovi needs the most points 😱

Was scary was right in front of us 😱🏍❤️

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

The problem started with Rins who had to brake and almost lost The front.

Why did his bike catch fire, very unusual. Just one of those things.

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3 hrs ago

MotoGP

"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Hear his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Well done for a well deserved win! But to be a real champion, you Need to be the best more consistently.

Rins, you were great, you got everything out of the bike. in the curves you were flying with Suzuki. You are always in our hearts, great champion.

A fantastic demonstration of race craft by Rins. A brilliant race. Congratulations.

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

Well done mate a great ride.

You are so beautiful, Amy

Congratulations to Rins and Suzuki can’t wait to see the Suzuki boys at Phillip island 🌴

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!

Congratulations

Congrats Alex!!

Be great to see suzuki up near the top👍. He's a talented rider.

He can't beat Jorge 😬😬😬

Good to see marquez not on the top step this time. Congratulations Rins! Shame for Dovi.

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Félicitations. Superbe dépassement dans le finish. Moi j'adore le regarder car il a un style de pilotage assez particulier. Il est très droit sur la moto. On a l'impression qu'il force pas. 😁

One fact he gracefully accepts there are only two legends on the current grid: "I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today"

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.

ครึ่งล้อนี้จำไปนาน

Congratulations Rins👏👏💪

Love this guy so honest not like MM93

You are amazing and i mean not only as a rider but as a person TODA GAS

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why

During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

Yamaha m1, factory team need to replace Rossi, to progress, That's from a top Rossi fan.

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15 hrs ago

F1

Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

McLaren has impressed the most because last season they where horrible and now they are best of the rest. Also Red Bull and Honda seem to be a nice match, would love to see Max finish what Jos started with Honda. Most disappointing this season are Haas and Renault. Renault because they wanted to close the gap to the top 3, but right now they are 6th. And they are the only unreliable engine in the field right now. Haas is having a horrible season, they seem to be getting worse during the season instead of improving.

If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

Ferrari have been the most impressive, from being the slowest manufacturer in 2014 to being a reasonable threat and smashing McLaren and Williams comprehensibly. McLaren and Williams should just pack their bags and go home, Ferrari have nailed their coffin shut and it can be considered karma for their various indiscretions in 1990 (senna wiping out prost), 1994, 1997 (Villeneuve incident), 1998, 1999, 2007 (spygate), 2008... The British public couldn't care less about McLaren or Williams they only support whatever "British" team is winning, in this case Mercedes

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

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