Jorge Lorenzo has won five of the last six races held in Tuscany, and finishing second a further three times
MotoGP 2017 – Round Six – Mugello – Italian GP
Lining up for his first home race as a Ducati rider, Jorge Lorenzo will certainly be able to count on the support of a multitude of tifosi, including all those packed into the Ducati Grandstand at the Correntaio curve.
The 30-year-old rider from Palma di Mallorca holds an incredible record at Mugello, having won five of the last six races held in Tuscany, and finishing second a further three times.
But while Lorenzo has a fantastic record at Mugello, Ducati does not. Since Casey Stoner gave Ducati their the single victory at the Mugello in 2009, Andrea Iannone is the only rider to finish on the podium riding for the Italian manufacturer – second place in 2015 and third last year.
For the Ducati Team riders, this will be a truly special occasion seeing as it is the home race for the red bikes from Borgo Panigale.
“After sixth place at Le Mans and above all the positive test we had last week at Montmelò, I come to Mugello feeling optimistic and with a great desire to race. We found some good solutions with the front tyre and the aim is to be as competitive as we were at Jerez. Now I’ve accumulated more mileage, and as a result more experience on the bike and I feel ready for the Italian GP. Mugello is one of my favourite circuits and it’s also one of the tracks where I have won the most in the past. This year we also have the fact that it’s Ducati’s home track, and this makes me even more motivated. I can’t wait to see all the fans in the Ducati Grandstand!”
Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso on the other hand, is not new to the support of the fans, as he has already taken part in nine editions of the Italian GP. Andrea’s best result at Mugello is a second place he scored in 2011, while last year he finished the race in fifth place.
“The Mugello round is the home grand prix for both me and for Ducati, so it is always something special. We count on being competitive seeing as for us it is a track we know very well, and so we will be looking for a good result. The test that we did here a couple of weeks back went well and the feeling is good. I’m convinced that if we work well throughout the weekend, we can do a good race.”
Mugello will also see the participation of Michele Pirro, entered as a wild-card with a third Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Test Team. The rider from San Giovanni Rotondo, winner of the opening rounds of the Italian Superbike Championship, will take to the track for the first time this season in MotoGP.
“Finally I return to the track for a GP for the first time since Aragon last year. I’m very happy because it’s always a fascinating experience to race at Mugello in front of our fans. As always I’ll try and do my best together with the guys in the Test Team to put our bike as far forward as possible. We have a good base and I am ready to try and get a good result in the race.”
Plenty of MotoGP took advantage of a first sightseeing stop ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley as Sam Lowes (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) fired their engines up in central Florence, one of the true jewels of Italy and the regional capital of Tuscany.
The riders were all wearing some Nicky Hayden gear, in a tribute to their fellow rider who succumbed to injuries sustained in a crash two weeks ago. They all wore proudly hats or shirts to symbolize the respect they have for the late American rider and to pay a subtle homage to the Kentucky Kid.
After a particularly Italian Warm Up with Lowes doing a few laps of the Piazza Santo Spirito on a vespa, ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia enjoying some gelato and Migno delivering a quick espresso to his compatriots, it was time for ‘Petrux’ to put down his newspaper and for the four to do what they do best: ride.
The first stop was the incredible Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that crowns the river Arno in the center of Florence and the perfect backdrop for the first photo opportunity. Then it was engines on for man and machine as the four headed off to the Piazza della Signoria in front of the imposing 13th century Palazzo Vecchio, before the chequered flag flew at one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in Italy: the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore – a true emblem of the city.
There is magic around every corner at Mugello, and the same can be said of Florence – with the final photo opportunity at the ‘Duomo’ the crowning jewel for one of the most picturesque pre-events on the calendar. Mugello is more than a race, and Florence is more than a city.
Now, it’s back to the hills of the surrounding countryside and back to the track for the riders as they get ready to race the stunning 5.2km ribbon of Tuscan tarmac on Sunday.
MotoGP 2017 – World Championship Standings
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 85 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 68 Repsol Honda Team
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 62 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 58 Repsol Honda Team
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 55 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 54 Ducati Team
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 40 LCR Honda
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 38 Ducati Team
- FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 38 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS 29 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 26 Octo Pramac Racing
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR 26 Octo Pramac Racing
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA 19 Reale Avintia Racing
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 17 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 15 Team Suzuki Ecstar
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 14 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA 13 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 12 Reale Avintia Racing
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 9 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
- RINS Alex 42 SPA 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
- LOWES Sam 22 GBR 2 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
- GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA 1 Team Suzuki Ecstar