The Fiat Yamaha duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi have three wins and three podiums between them in the 2010 season.
This weekend the 2010 MotoGP Championship series makes the trek to the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. Located in Tuscany, the Mugello circuit consistently lives up to its promise of high speed and spectacular views of the Italian countryside. Adding significance to Round 4 is the fact that five of the best riders in the series are Italian. Soaring at the top of these Italians is Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi. Between Rossi and his teammate Jorge Lorenzo they have three wins and three podiums, making them the team to beat at the upcoming Italian round.
Lorenzo is proving to be in top shape after winning the last two rounds, pushing his total MotoGP win tally to seven since the 2008 season. Back in 2006 he was able to clench the 250cc victory at Mugello and, although he crashed out in 2008 during his premier-class debut at the circuit, he was able to return strong in 2009 for a second-place finish. Adding to his success at the venue is his overall liking of the circuit and its high-speeds.
“Last year Mugello was one of my best races,” Lorenzo stated. “I crashed in the warm-up lap, but otherwise it was almost perfect and I was so happy to get on the podium. For me, Mugello is the best circuit in the world, joined with Phillip Island. I have had a great start to the season and once again our aim will be to be strong from the first day and get on the podium.”
With Rossi’s excellent history at the Mugello circuit he may be able to overthrow Lorenzo and gain points on the Spaniard.
Reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi has been left in Lorenzo’s exhaust during the last few rounds, taking second-place at Le Mans and third at Jerez. One shouldn’t discount The Doctor so quickly, however – especially with his unmatched record at Mugello of nine wins over his 14-year career of competing on the Italian circuit. Included in these nine wins were seven consecutive wins which lasted up until 2008, when he had to settle for third. You can bet Rossi will be in top form this weekend to make it win number 10 at Mugello and also knock off some of the points separating him from another MotoGP title.
“We had some problems in Le Mans,” said Rossi. “We will be working hard from the first session to make sure that we’re back to our best. Mugello is an incredible place to ride a motorcycle, there is nowhere else like it in the world with all the tifosi around the hills and when you go out for the first lap the sound is something amazing.”
Representing Honda will be Italians Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Melandri and Marco Simoncelli. Repsol’s Dovizioso heads to the Italian GP in great shape after his most recent podium finish at Le Mans. During last year’s race at Mugello he was able to finish just shy of the podium after being involved in an exhilarating battle with Rossi. While the Italian rider has many factors in his favor he certainly lacks the experience compared to someone like Rossi, whose record dwarfs Dovizioso’s single 250 GP podium at the Mugello circuit.
Repsol Honda’s Andrea Dovizioso heads to Italy fresh off the podium in Le Mans and will be looking for another strong showing at Mugello.
Dovizioso’s teammate Dani Pedrosa may still be having nightmares from last year’s Italian GP where he had a heavy fall which left him black and blue. At the same time, however, he’s also experienced success at the track and took a 250 GP win in 2005 and also secured podium finishes in ’07 and ’08.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden will be welcomed by thousands of Ducatisti who flood the Italian grandstand each year. Although satisfied with the major steps and achievements made in the beginning of the 2010 season, Hayden still looks to make improvements that will make him one of the top frontrunners in the series.
“We’re going into a run of races that could be quite decent for us and we’re confident,” Hayden remarked. “Mugello is a circuit that can be really nice to ride or really tough, depending on whether you can get your bike working well and have a good set-up. If you manage that you can have some serious fun. I’m expecting to see a lot of Ducati fans so hopefully I can have fun and they can too.”
Privateer rider Randy de Puniet will be looking to extend his impressive start to the 2010 season with another top-10 ride at Mugello. An added incentive for him will be the fact that his team owner, Lucio Cecchinello, is an Italian and also a former Italian GP winner.
Still looking to crack into the top-three in the premier class is Italian Marco Melandri. Coming off his success at the French GP where he finished sixth, the former 250 GP Champion has
Italian rider Marco Simoncelli has had success at Mugello in the 250s and will look to prove he can do the same in the premier class.
put in good performances in past years at the Mugello circuit, including winning the 250 GP in 2002 and two other podiums in the minor classes.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Colin Edwards struggled with his speed and confidence in his bike at the French GP round, falling back to 12th by the end of the event. Edwards, along with his teammate Ben Spies, are expecting a better showing in Italy where rest and more testing will hopefully lead to better fortunes.
Melandri’s teammate Marco Simoncelli has also tasted success at the circuit in the 250 class. On his way to the 2008 250 GP World title the rookie was able to pick up a win at Mugello, and he managed second last year after an intense struggle with Suzuki’s Alvaro Bautista.
The newly established Moto2 World Championship series has already provided many anxious moments of racing and this will surely continue into this weekend. With two wins in the last two races, Gresini’s Toni Elias is the
Leading the Moto2 series by 18-points, Toni Elias has taken two wins in a row. Coming into the Italian GP he is cautious of how easy the newly-formed Moto2 class standings can change at any moment.
man to beat and currently leads the series by 18 points over Japanese rider Shoya Tomizawa.
Tomizawa was one of the many riders who crashed out at Le Mans, but he still holds the number-two spot in the overall standings. After struggling to maintain his normal pace during qualifying at Le Mans the Technomag-CIP rider will have a lot riding on securing a better starting position at the Italian GP this weekend.
Italian Simone Corsi of JiR Moto2 was able to bring in his first podium of the 2010 season at Le Mans and will be looking to repeat, if not improve upon, this performance for Mugello.
Another Italian in the Moto2 class is Roberto Rolfo of Italtrans S.T.R, Suter. Currently ninth in overall points, the 30-year-old Italian has the ability to podium evidenced by his second-place finish in the 2001 Italian 250 GP.