If you are looking for a safe MotoGP pick Valentino Rossi is your guy. He’s good for a win if not a podium spot at just about any race.
Valentino Rossi loves racing in front of his home town fans at Mugello and his string of seven consecutive victories spanning over a half decade from 2002 through 2008 are more than enough proof. There are only three riders active in the MotoGP class that has ever won on this circuit. The other two only have a win apiece to their credit. If you are looking to capitalize on a home town edge at any point in this Fantasy GP season then this is as good of a bet as any.
In 2009 Casey Stoner broke Rossi’s streak of victories and won the home race for Ducati. There’s always plenty of side stories to justify why a rider wins on any given Sunday. He finished runner-up to Rossi in ’08 so either he knows the way around or his bike knows, either way he’s a safe bet…so long as he doesn’t crash out, again. Since 1976, there have been seven Aussie victories compared to eight Italian wins at Mugello. Are cosmic forces at work here or is it simply a matter of the best rider winning? Only time will tell.
2009’s MotoGP runner-up is looking to be the man to beat in 2010. Lorenzo has won two out of three races so far this season. He’s a solid pick for Mugello to say the least.
Gorgeous Jorge has been here twice on the big bikes. Last year he was runner-up to Stoner and the first visit resulted in a DNF. His last race in the 250 class at Mugello had him finishing in 8th while carrying the number one plate so just because he’s fast doesn’t mean he doesn’t succumb to pressure. Lorenzo is riding a two-race winning streak and there’s no doubt he has the skill to extend it to three.
Big fro-daddy, Marco Simoncelli knows his way around Mugello. He took the win on his 250cc machine in ‘08 and was runner up in ’09. Now, keep in mind that he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire yet in the MotoGP class but this will be the round where he gets it right, and cracks the Top 10. If the stars align he should be able to push for a Top 5 and prove to everyone why he was such a coveted free agent pick up in the off season.
Fiat Yamaha is the strongest team in the paddock and until you run out of choices or get a sign from above that one of these riders are going to fail in some capacity, then this is a safe pick. No other team has won a race this season and Rossi has been on the podium in all three rounds. Viva la Fiat!
Repsol Honda: Statistically speaking this is as good of a time as ever to fly the Repsol colors. With Dovizioso coming off a podium finish and his decent history at Mugello combined with the theoretical odds that Pedrosa will bounce back, all point toward a good showing for the little Orange Honda squad.
Repsol orange always looks good and it wont be a surprise to see both team members near the front this weekend. But, will picking 26 as an A-Rider pay out for the Pedrosa faithful?
Dani Pedrosa has had mixed results at Mugello. He crashed out in 2009 but finished on the box with a second and third during the ’07-’08 season respectively. He’s up and down literally so after a less than alien-like fifth place at Le Mans you would think the guy is due to have a good race this weekend. But he has been sporadic so it’s difficult to simply expect him to fight for a podium finish, yet alone the win. Yet that’s what we are going to do. Pedrosa is capable of winning any race. If he gets his wee-little bike set-up to his liking he’s nigh-unstoppable.
Andrea Dovizioso is coming off a strong third-place finish at Le Mans and narrowly missed a podium on the way to a fourth-place in last year’s race here in Italy. Expect the feisty Italian to put in an impressive performance this weekend no matter what anyone else does on this list. He’s aggressive, consistent and has a really cool last name. What more could a Fantasy Superbike team manager want from their A-Rider? Oh yeah…a win would be nice.
Nicky Hayden looks to be back on track for another solid finish. Despite recent struggles at Mugello, we hope to see the American on the box sooner, rather than later.
Nicky Hayden has been a model of consistency this year from the B-Rider talent pool but he has had a horrible record at this track. His 10th-place finish in 2007 was followed up with a 13th- and 12th-place finish the past two years. Maybe he has the Desmo figured out and just needs a little break to finish on the podium for the first time since the Bush Administration.
Loris Capirossi is the only Italian rider other than Valentino Rossi to win a race at Mugello. Granted, that victory was back in 2000 aboard the last of the 2-stroke 500cc Grand Prix bikes but hey, you have to expect that he would like to put on a good show in front of his home crowd too. He finished fifth here in ‘09 and seventh in ’08. Maybe he recovers from a dismal effort at Le Mans and burns up the track on his Rizla.
Ducati has an opportunity to put up great numbers if Stoner stays upright and finishes the race on the box like he should and Hayden continues to be the highest placing B-Rider. It is in Italy and nothing makes the Ducati factory workers, engineers, bosses and fans happier than seeing their red bikes put on a good show.
After a top-10 finish at the opener in Losail Edwards has been landing near the back of the pack ever since. Mugello doesn’t look to be any different.
Colin Edwards has gone fairly well at this circuit with fifth- and sixth-place finishes the past two years. If you’re feeling like taking a chance on CEII this might be one of the safer bets if you’re expecting a fifth- or sixth-place finish. If you’re looking for a podium there’s other riders that are a legitimate threat right now.
Randy de Puniet has crashed out of more Mugello races than he has finished. If you’re looking to burn through a B-Rider pick without much upside then Randy might be your man.
Marco Melandri looks like he needs a bit more time to get his bike dialed in before he earns a B-Rider pick.
Marco Melandri has had a rough time competing on his native soil. Since 2007 his best result was a ninth-place finish. He has posted a DNF and an 11th-place finish the following two years. Maybe he breaks out this weekend but if history tells us anything, he is due for a DNF.
Pramac Ducati has showed us very little at this stage of the game. It will take a timely selection of the Pramac Ducati Team if anyone hopes to get maximum points. They are on Ducati’s home turf so you could roll the dice, but we advise against it.