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Jun 29, 2011

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

Marc VDS Racing's Mika Kallio (36).
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium, Hard. Rear (asymmetric): Medium, Hard

The fast and flowing Mugello circuit is a fan favourite but particularly demanding on tyres because of the high speed, heavy braking and marked elevation changes. In response, and as part of work to ensure ongoing improvement, this year Bridgestone will bring asymmetric rear slick tyres to the 5.245km Italian venue.

With nine right-handed corners and six lefts, the left shoulders of the rear tyres are now softer than they were last year with this introduction of asymmetric rear slicks, meaning improved warm-up performance and grip on the lesser-used side of the tyres. This is one of the five additional circuits that we will bring asymmetric rear slicks to compared to last year.

There are several facets of Mugello that combine to make it such a challenge for tyres. The circuit is grippy and abrasive which means that tyre wear is generally higher; temperature is usually high in the region with track temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius not uncommon; there are a proliferation of long and high speed corners which demand good edge grip; and several downhill heavy braking areas that place high loads on the front tyres. The circuit has also been resurfaced this year and a lot of the bumps removed, but from tests at the venue with Ducati this year analysis shows that the grip is good and abrasion is similar to the old surface.

The high straight-line speed also places significant loads on the centre section of the tyres. Last year Dani Pedrosa set a new lap record with an average speed of 172.39km/h, making it the third fastest circuit on the calendar, and in 2009 Pedrosa set a top speed record of 349.3km/h. Along with Catalunya, Motegi and Sepang it is the hardest circuit for the centre section of the rear tyres.

Last year Pedrosa won from pole to take his first victory of the year ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. This year the race is run one month later at the start of July, and as round eight of the season, and having missed the last three rounds with a broken collarbone, Pedrosa is hoping to return to action at Mugello.

Hiroshi Yamada Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Mugello is always a spectacular venue for MotoGP, and I'm sure this year there will be even more atmosphere as it is the first Italian race with Valentino on a Ducati! It is Casey at the front of the championship standings however, and the man who has quickly established himself as the rider to beat this season, and coming from his dominating victory at Silverstone and second at Assen his confidence and momentum will be very high. Mugello is the fourth race in five weeks as the championship really accelerates during the summer months, but it is important to keep momentum and motivation high as there are still two races to go before the end of the month. After the mixed conditions at Silverstone and Assen everyone will be hoping for a dry and warmer weekend to really get a measure of performance as we approach the midpoint of the season."

Hirohide Hamashima Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"Mugello is one of the fastest circuits on the calendar and is tough on tyres because of this speed, the track temperature that can reach above 50 degrees Celsius, and its technically demanding nature. Run one month later this year, in the height of European summer, track temperature will potentially play even more of an important role. With tyre wear likely to be higher with the increased temperature, bike setup and riding style must be optimised to use the tyres in the most efficient way. This year we have selected asymmetric rear slick tyres for Mugello to improve warm-up performance on the left side and give the riders a more consistent feeling throughout the lap through the nine right-hand corners and the six lefts.

"The track has been resurfaced but traditionally is grippy and abrasive and there are significant elevation changes which add to the challenge. From data we have gained during the Ducati tests at Mugello this season I can say that the surface is much smoother and we expect tyre wear to be similar to last year so, apart from bringing asymmetric rear slicks this time, we have not changed our basic compound selection. The numerous heavy braking points, especially those that are downhill, demand a strong front tyre for good braking stability, whilst the many high speed corners require good stability and shoulder grip from the rear tyre. Around the left-handers, this is where our asymmetric rear slicks will be of particular benefit. Top speed is one of the highest of the season and this puts significant strain on the centre section of the tyres so a strong carcass and construction are required for straight-line stability."

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


The Marc VDS Racing Team head for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix at Mugello confident they can improve on the results last time out at Assen, where grip issues ruled Mika Kallio out of the race and left Scott Redding to struggle home in 24th place.

The damp and greasy conditions were a significant factor at Assen, but there should be no such problems this weekend at Mugello, where the weather forecast predicts hot and sunny conditions for both Saturday and Sunday, with only a slight chance of rain on Friday for free practice.

One of the most picturesque circuits on the MotoGP calendar, the 5.245km Mugello track twists its way across two sides of a scenic valley deep in the Tuscan hills above the small town of Scarperia.

The circuit comprises six left-hand corners and nine rights, as well as regular changes of elevation. It also features many fast chicanes as well as slower technical sections and is notorious for being incredibly bumpy in places, especially on corner entry. The chicanes are taken at relatively high pace, and accuracy is vital in the last sector to keep momentum up to the final turn, out of which the riders launch themselves onto the 1.141km long main straight.

The Marc VDS Racing Team will remain at Mugello for two days of testing after the race. Kallio will test the Suter MVDS MotoGP machine on Monday and Tuesday, while Redding will join his Marc VDS teammate on track aboard his Suter MMXI Moto2 machine on Tuesday.

Scott Redding #45:
"Assen was a disaster; so frustrating for me and the team. The bike works well in the dry and also when it's fully wet, but I just didn't have any grip in the mixed conditions on race day. Thankfully it looks like conditions will be more favourable at Mugello, where the weather forecast is for hot and sunny, at least on Saturday and Sunday. Mugello is another fast track and, although it's not been good for me in terms of results in recent years, it's one I like a lot. I want to be back up there and battling for a top six finish in Italy and my pace in the dry last weekend means I'm confident that I can do it."

Mika Kallio #36:
"Assen is a weekend I just want to forget and put behind me and, instead, look forward to this weekend in Italy. Mugello is one of my favourite tracks and I hope we can pull everything together for the race and come away with a good result. My feeling with the bike is much improved now, but a good result has been elusive so far this season. This weekend we need to get as much track time as we can, improve the lap time throughout practice and qualifying and then push hard in the race on Sunday. I want a good result this weekend, not just for me but also for the team, who've worked hard this season and deserve some success."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Manager
"Assen was extremely disappointing. We weren't the only ones to struggle with the conditions but, even so, the results were simply not good enough. Scott was quick and consistent in the dry at Assen, but the bike simply didn't work for him in the conditions he experienced during the race. Scott and Mika both have the potential to finish regularly on the podium, even to win races in Moto2, but for them to do so they need a bike that works in all conditions. That's what we need to focus on now. The weather promises to be kinder to us at Mugello, where we're looking for Scott and Mika to be inside the top ten on Sunday. Moto2 is even more competitive this season than last, but this is a realistic target and one that I fully expect both riders to achieve this weekend."

More, from a press release issued by JiR Moto2 Team:

Mugello, Italy. These two words are enough to provoke plenty of excitement from both the JiR Team and Alex de Angelis for the next round of the World Moto2 Championship. The Tuscan track is famous for its technical characteristics, but even more so for the spectacular backdrop and audience that surrounds both riders and technicians. This will provide an additional adrenaline boost for every member of the team led by Gianluca Montiron and they will want to be fighting for the win!

Alex De Angelis will get a further boost from the warmth of his home fans as well as being excited after the comeback at Assen which gave him 5th place at the line. In this context, the technical aspects concerning the development of the official MotoBI are on hold until the briefing on Thursday, during which engineers headed by Pietro Caprara will evaluate changes to be done while also considering the new surface that has been laid at the circuit.

Gianluca Montiron

The GP of Italy is important, as after finishing fifth last Sunday the goal now is to approach the podium and decrease the gap that separates us from the lead group.
It was here last year that our MotoBI behaved very well grabbing a podium after a spectacular comeback by Simone Corsi. I hope there are three sunny days that allow the rider and team to work to find a satisfactory compromise in the set-up.
The championship is long and hard-fought, we must think at every single race to bring home important results. Marc Marquez is one example, with only three race results he is second in the standings and so is the fact that the first four positions are occupied by four different bikes. The championship is populated by young and aggressive riders, so I count on Alex's experience to make a difference.

Alex DeAngelis

Racing at Mugello is an emotion that churns my stomach for the whole week before! It is a fascinating and nice circuit to ride, which requires technique but also determination and aggressiveness. We will have to study well the set-up also adjusting to the new surface. In The Netherlands we showed a good ability to adapt to track conditions and we will do the same here in Italy. We must be able to be competitive from the start and be among the leaders. I expect a good weekend, both from the sport point of view and the show! There will be plenty of fans and this will be further motivation to play our cards at their best!