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May 29, 2013

More Previews Of This Coming Weekend's MotoGP Event At Mugello

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Randy De Puniet (14) in action on his Power Electronics Aprilia ART.

Aleix Espargaró looks to continue CRT dominance at Mugello as Randy De Puniet aims to bounce back from Le Mans disappointment

The fifth round of the MotoGP World Championship takes place in Italy this weekend with Dani Pedrosa (two), Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo (one apiece) having shared the victory spoils so far. Now is the moment for Valentino Rossi to see if he can become the fourth winner of the season in his home Grand Prix. Mugello is one of the most legendary circuits on the calendar, twisting its way through a magical valley that hums to the beat of the tifosi on the most important weekend on the Italian motorcycling calendar.

POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders Aleix Espargaró and Randy De Puniet may be from Spain and France respectively but the Mugello round is one that they always look forward to, as much for the fast corners and elevation changes that make this track so special as their own happy memories of past races here. Aleix remains the man to beat in the CRT pack having again dominated with an iron fist in difficult conditions last time out at Le Mans. Randy enjoyed a fantastic weekend in his home Grand Prix up until an unfortunate crash in the race but he is hoping the progress he made during practice can be the springboard to an improved performance and a better result this weekend.

Aleix Espargaró: "I am looking forward to racing at Mugello, a circuit I love. It is fast and not too dissimilar to Barcelona, which is my favourite track. It is one of the best tracks you can wish for on a MotoGP bike because it is long, wide, with all kinds of corners and a lot of grip. Practice went well for us here last year and we were quite close to the factory bikes but I ran off track in the race, lost a lot of time and was unable to catch up with my team-mate. I didn't manage to finish as the top CRT at Le Mans last year I either but this year we turned it around so let's see if we can do it again. Hopefully I can continue to dominate in CRT. I always enjoy coming to Mugello and I hope we take more good memories from this season. It sounds like they have had a lot of rain there lately so hopefully we get some good weather and enjoy another fantastic weekend."

Randy De Puniet: "We finally managed to get a feel for the bike at Le Mans and after working hard during the first three rounds of the season I felt competitive again. It was just a shame that I had a problem with my helmet and I ended up crashing so we couldn't round off a positive weekend at my home Grand Prix. Now I am already looking forward to Mugello, a circuit I love and have a lot of good memories from. Last year I finished as the top CRT here and now I go full of confidence on the back of a good weekend last time out, even though it didn't finish with the right result. Now I am sure we can pick up in the right way in Italy and have another good weekend."

More, from a press release issued by MAPFRE Aspar Team:


After slipping off at Le Mans both Nico Terol and Jordi Torres are hoping to resume their fantastic start to the season in Italy

The European roadshow stops off at Mugello this weekend as the MotoGP World Championship gathers pace. Already at the fifth round of the new campaign the series visits one of the most picturesque circuits on the entire calendar, sitting as it does at the foot of the rolling Tuscan hills. Its fast, flowing corners, dramatic elevation changes and one of the longest straights on the calendar make Mugello a unique challenge for the riders, who love to perform for the Italian 'tifosi'. Moto2 has seen four different winners from the opening four rounds of the season so far, Scott Redding adding his name to the roll call at Le Mans to move clear at the top of the championship.

The delicate state of the Le Mans asphalt saw MAPFRE Aspar's riders slip up in their otherwise excellent start to the new season. Nico Terol and Jordi Torres are both looking for a swift return to their best form in Italy, with Terol currently sixth in the championship on 38 points thanks largely to a breakthrough win in the category in round two in Austin. Jordi Torres lies fourteenth in the championship in his full rookie season but having visited this circuit in 2011 he at least has prior knowledge to work from.

Nico Terol: "I am going to Mugello in good spirits, with my batteries fully recharged and looking forward to putting Le Mans behind me. I know we are in great form, I feel very comfortable with the bike and we seem to be finding what we need to go fast at every circuit at the moment. Mugello is a fast track, I love it and I think it is well suited to my riding style. I am going there with the clear aim of returning to the fight at the front of the pack. France was nothing more than a bump in the road and other than the incident in the race we did a great job there so I am hoping to do the same in Italy. Mugello has a lot of flowing corners with blind entries and it's always great fun to ride. When you are having fun on the bike that's when the lap times come. We need to get the engine running a little better because there is a long straight and even though the set-up is good at the moment we will need to work hard to adapt it to the fast zones at this track."

Jordi Torres: "We came away from Le Mans with a bittersweet feeling but we are highly charged for the next round. We found out a lot about the set-up in France and that's what we took away from the weekend. I am looking forward to racing at Mugello, a circuit I raced at two years ago and was really impressed by. It is as difficult as it is fun, I love it and I think most of the other riders do too. Regardless of what happened in France our objective remains the same, which is to work hard in every session and try our best to be consistently in the top ten at least. Even though I didn't race at Mugello last year I am sure we can find a good feeling for the bike there from Friday. We'll try and get as much acceleration as we can out of the bike so that we don't lose too much down the straights."

More, from a press release issued by Avintia Blusens MotoGP Team:

Barberá and Aoyama expect to be again among the best ones at Mugello

The Avintia Blusens MotoGP team arrives at the Italian circuit with improvements to achieve this aim

In the four races so far, the Avintia Blusens team has enjoyed great moments, but has also suffered problems that have prevented them from being placed in the positions they deserve, where they should be in relation to their quality. Races are not mathematics and, in addition to well-done work, fortune also plays an important role. That is why the technicians and the riders of the team arrive at the GP of Italy being prepared and confident about their well-done work so that their goals will be reached at Mugello. They only expect to be lucky. On a fast and difficult track as the Mugello one, it will be complicated for the CRTs to fight against the prototypes, but it is a circuit where both Hiroshi and Héctor feel at ease and hope to be protagonists among the CRTs.

8 Héctor Barberá: It is a track with fast corners and this may help us because our bike works very well in that kind of turns. It is a spectacular layout where I am very comfortable and that adapts very well to my riding style. Without a doubt the differences with the prototypes will be bigger than in other GPs, but we will have some engine improvements that may work very well to fight against the factory bikes of CRT. Last year I started from the front row of the grid and, in general, I have good memories of this circuit, so this year I hope to add one more.

7 Hiroshi Aoyama: Mugello is a difficult circuit that requires precision and having everything in order, but I like it a lot. Last year I was not there and I will have to see how the asphalt is and the changes have been made since my last participation. I hope that in Italy we will not have bad luck again and we will be able to focus on the setting up of the bike during the weekend. The differences with the prototypes will be bigger, but our fight is with the rest of the CRTs and, honestly, I want to be among the best ones. In Jerez we took a step forward in the setting up that in France we could not confirm due to the rain. I expect we will be able to do so in Italy.

More, from a press release issued by Blusens Avintia Moto2 Team:

Toni Elías travels to Mugello in high spirits after the improvements obtained in France

Kyle Smith wants to take a step forward and be in the points

The Mugello circuit is complicated, difficult but also very nice and exciting for the riders. The long start/finish straight causes heart-stopping finales with struggles for victory until the last moment, in which the strategies play an important role. The Blusens Avintia Moto2 team travels to Italy with the intention of being in these battles and getting a great result. In France, although the track conditions were not ideal, Elías took a big step forward in relation to the setting up of his bike, which makes him hope for a good result in the selective Italian track.

Despite arriving in Italy without having finished the last two races, Kyle Smith faces the Grand Prix with an intact morale and more courageously than ever because he does not hide that, while a top twenty would be a good result, his gaze is fixed on the points positions.

24 Toni Elías: Mugello is a special circuit. Its layout is spectacular and not easy. It is a track where a perfect setting up is needed because its long and fast corners require it. Its turns seem to have several possible lines, but I think that there is only one good. The truth is that it is a circuit where I feel at ease. I love the tracks in which there are strong braking points but also plentiful fast corners and, at Mugello, there are a lot. Although we could not cross the finish line, in Le Mans we did a good race and, above all, we took an important step forward in the setting up, so I want to ride on the Italian track to check how things are going.

9 Kyle Smith: I come from two complicated races in which I was not able to finish, but my morale is still intact. I know that Mugello is a difficult, technical and hard track, but I can not wait to ride on it because everybody has told me that it is spectacular. Of course it will not be easy, but every day I am surer of my chances and I am looking forward to achieving a good result. Since the beginning of the season I have always said that being on the top twenty is the goal, but every day I think more about the possibility of being in the points.

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Bridgestone MotoGP™ Preview - Round 5: Italy, Mugello

29 May 2013

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Medium. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)

Mugello is the venue for round five of the 2013 MotoGP™ season and the first of two races on the Italian peninsula this year. The circuit is both a rider and fan favourite owing to its sinuous layout and picturesque setting.

The Mugello circuit is fast and flowing with one of the longest straights on the MotoGP calendar. This straight is preceded by the horseshoe-shaped Bucine corner which slingshots the riders down the hill towards turn one at speeds approaching 350km/h. Consequently, the braking zone into San Donato is the most vicious in MotoGP and requires front tyres with very high levels of structural stability.

In addition to the stability needed under heavy acceleration and braking, the sweeping sections of Casanova-Savelli and Biondetti, as well as high-speed corners such as Arrabbiata 1 and 2, require very high levels of grip from the edge of the tyre. With nine right-handed corners compared to just six left-handers, Bridgestone will provide asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber on the right shoulders compared to the left.

One of the key performance requirements of the rear slicks developed for Mugello is an ability to withstand very high temperatures for sustained periods. At this circuit, the riders tend to accelerate hard at high lean angles which generates extreme heat, so all the rear slicks Bridgestone will supply this weekend will be in the heat-resistant ‘Special Construction’ specification. This specification of rear slick ensures superior rider safety and consistent grip levels in extreme operating conditions.

Rear slick options for the CRT riders are the soft and medium compound, while the works riders will be offered the medium and hard compound rear slicks. Bridgestone’s front slick tyre compounds for the Italian Grand Prix are devised to ensure maximum braking and cornering stability, while catering to the potential for cool conditions.

Wet conditions are forecast for this weekend and Bridgestone’s main wet tyre for Mugello will be the hard wet tyre, with each rider able to select up to two front and rear tyres in the alternative, soft specification if they desire.

Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department

“Everyone in the paddock loves coming to Mugello as the circuit is one of the jewels in the crown of MotoGP as it is fast, technically demanding and is situated in a beautiful countryside setting. The circuit is quite demanding on tyres so our development challenge is to provide tyres that ensure enough grip and stability for riders to safely navigate the twisting track, while managing the high temperatures caused by sustained high lean angles and heavy acceleration. While this is an important race on the MotoGP calendar, it is a particularly special event for Ducati as it is their home race, and after their strong showing at Le Mans I am sure the whole team is approaching this weekend full of confidence. The exciting start to the championship has helped deliver healthy crowds, so I hope that this weekend welcomes a large and vibrant crowd at Mugello cheering on its local heroes.”

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres due to its technical layout with many high speed corners and the track temperature that often reaches above 50 degrees Celsius. This year’s race will be run earlier in the summer than the last couple of years but excessive track temperatures could still occur. Apart from the high temperatures, the track surface has a high grip level and is abrasive, and there are significant elevation changes which all combine to place significant load on the tyres. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tyre whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and shoulder grip from the rear tyre. The top speeds reached at Mugello are the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the rear tyres.”

More, from a press release issued by Marc VDS Racing Team:

Gosselies, Belgium: The Marc VDS Racing Team's Scott Redding and Mika Kallio head to round five of the FIM Moto2 World Championship at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, Italy with confidence high, after an impressive one-two finish in Le Mans last time out.

Redding's victory - his first in the Moto2 category and the Marc VDS Racing Team's first win since entering the championship in 2010 - gave the 20-year-old Briton a 24 point lead in the championship standings.

With Kallio claiming second place at Le Mans, the Marc VDS Racing Team became the first team in Moto2 history to claim the two top spots on the podium. The last time one team dominated the intermediate class to such an extent was back in 2008, when Kallio took the win in China ahead of his KTM teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama.

Redding and Kallio are keen to repeat the success of Le Mans this weekend in Mugello, where both will run an experimental swinging arm on their Kalex Moto2 machines for the first time. The new swinging arm has been developed by the team in conjunction with Kalex and is designed to improve rear traction and reduce chattering.

After missing out on a points scoring finish by the narrowest of margins in the Moto3 race at Le Mans, Livio Loi head to Mugello determined to secure another top 15 finish. The 16-year-old Belgian struggled to make up ground after starting from 21st on the grid so will focus this weekend on improving his qualifying performance.

Scott Redding #45:
"While it was good to finally win in Le Mans, it changes nothing. Our approach will remain the same, with the championship being the priority. The win in Le Mans has given me a 24-point advantage in the standings but, as we've seen in the past, it only takes one bad weekend to see that lead reduced significantly. Like Le Mans last week, Mugello is a circuit I like racing at. We have some new parts for the bike this weekend, which I think may give us something of an advantage at such a fast, flowing and technical track."

Mika Kallio #36:
"In Le Mans we went with a completely different set-up to that which we'd run previously and it took us until Sunday to refine it to the point where my feeling with the bike was good. It will be interesting to see how the feeling is on the first day in Mugello, especially with the new parts we have to test there, because we really need to get the bike dialled in for qualifying this week. Mugello is one of my favourite tracks on the calendar and, although I've had some bad luck racing in Italy previously, I'm hoping that my luck will finally change this weekend and we'll come away with another good result."

Livio Loi #11:
"Two years ago I won a Moriwaki Cup race at Mugello, so at least I know the track, although it will be very different on a Moto3 bike I think. In Le Mans we had a problem with the tyres in qualifying, which is something we need to address this weekend in Mugello. I need to be qualifying top 15 this weekend if I am to achieve my goal in the race, which is, once again, to finish in a points scoring position."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"While we have to be realistic and understand that repeating the success of Le Mans will be difficult, that won't stop us pushing every weekend to do so. In the four races so far this season we've had a Marc VDS rider on the podium every time and, for me, there's no reason why we shouldn't continue this trend at Mugello. With Livio we will focus this weekend on improving his qualifying performance, as you can't afford to be starting from the seventh row of the grid in such a closely contested championship as Moto3. He needs to be a little more aggressive, both in qualifying and the race, but that will come as he gains experience."