“The first laps will be very, very important”: fighting talk at Mugello
Quartararo, Aleix Espargaro, Bastianini, Miller and Bagnaia sit down for the Pre-Event Press Conference in Italy
Thursday, 26 May 2022
The Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley is nigh and the pre-event Press Conference at Mugello saw Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) joined by second on points Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) fresh from a contract renewal, Le Mans winner and home hero Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller and teammate Francesco Bagnaia to talk about the weekend ahead.
What would represent a good result from Mugello and Catalunya?
Fabio Quartararo: “It’s difficult to say because it’s not bad tracks for us but if we are in bad positions then it will be bad, I would say if we get a great start and great first lap it can change our race, the qualifying and first lap. Let’s see how it goes but I think the next two will be tough.”
What is it that you can make up with your style and what are the strong points of the Yamaha at this track that help you be strong?
FQ20: “I hope I will have more or less the same km difference than last year because we know the other manufacturers have improved a lot. I think Sector 2 and 3 are one of our strong points, our bike is really strong there and I feel good in these corners, putting yourself to the limit is a good help.”
With this being Aprilia’s home Grand Prix and the next being yours, is this your most important week of the season so far?
Aleix Espargaro: “Yes, which means more pressure, but it’s okay. It’s two very important races for us. Mugello is very important for Aprilia, I’m very happy to ride in Italy in this way, with good results. We are actually leading the teams’ championship for the first time in Italy for Aprilia, so it’s fantastic and next week it will, be my home GP. It’s two very important races, but it’s 50 points, no more than Germany and Assen, for example, so I am trying to work in the same way as the previous weekends. I have the same feeling that Fabio does, that the first laps of the race will be very, very important, especially against the fast Ducatis here at Mugello with the long straight. So, trying to be focused from the first lap tomorrow morning will be very, very important.”
Do you have new parts on the bike from the Jerez test, and how do you hope they will improve the RS-GP?
AE41: “Yeah, we have a couple of new things. We have a new engine for this weekend, we also have quite big aerodynamic things. I think I will not be the first one to test it tomorrow, maybe it will be Sava on the test team. But, it looks promising and I will try it tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, it can give us some tenths to fight for the top.”
How special will it be if you get that fourth victory this weekend?
Enea Bastianini: “Mugello is always special. This year again with a lot of fans is amazing for everybody and we will see how it is. We made a really good race in Le Mans but here is another story. We need to stay concentrated in the Free Practices, many riders are fast – Fabio and Pecco here – and Aleix is also very consistent this year. It will be really hard but I’m prepared and ready for this Grand Prix.”
You’ve never had a podium at Mugello, do you think this weekend is the best chance of the first podium?
EB33: “We will try to be on the podium at my home Grand Prix. I’ve tried a lot but it’s not easy, we will see if we can do this but also to stay in the top five is a good result. We will see tomorrow.”
Do you think this is your best opportunity to put a Ducati on the podium at Mugello?
Jack Miller: “I’d like to think so. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship here. At least I finished the race here last year, so that’s nice, but not where we wanted to be. But we’ve been strong ever since Argentina, we’ve been there fighting for the podium every week, so we’re in good form. I feel like we’re at a really solid place with the bike and I feel like the improvements that we’ve made from the 21 to the 22 should really benefit us here in Mugello with a lot of fast changes of direction, a lot of fast corners. So, I’m excited for what the weekend holds, and having the fans back here should be really good.”
Do you think your top speed record might go this weekend?
JM43: “I’d like to hope not. The jumps are already pretty scary, so we don’t need to be doing 365 over that thing, I don’t think. But, you never know, the bikes are getting faster and faster every year, that wall on the inside of Turn 1’s getting closer and closer every year, so it’s a possibility, but we have to wait and see. We talk about the Ducati speed and all that but it’s been equalled by KTM, so we’re not the only ones out there.
How much are you looking forward to putting France behind you here?
Francesco Bagnaia: “Yeah it’s normal sometimes you can make mistakes and my one was a bit too big, but it’s ok. I had time at home to learn from that and I think the best place to re-join is Mugello. I’m really looking forward to riding tomorrow, last year was good to me, everything went well apart from the race, but Sunday was one of the worst days we had during the season. Let’s think from the Championship and try to enjoy tomorrow.”
How was it riding with the fans to Mugello?
FB63: “It was good but the only thing was we were too slow, we had three hours to arrive here in Mugello but it was good. It was the first time I did the Futa Pass and I enjoyed it.”