It was a fantastic day for me at the MotoGP Mugello but it had started badly after a sleepless night because I had a bit of food poisoning. Today I didn’t have much energy, but I knew that the bike was going to be strong, because we had worked well throughout the weekend and I also had a lot of support from my fans, physiotherapist and family and this made a big difference. Despite the fact that I wasn’t at 100%, I was able to administer the race even though I wasn’t the quickest man out there, but I did a perfect strategy, and I moved into the right position at the right moment. I rode really smoothly, I never forced the pace excessively and this made all the difference because Mugello is a track that physically wears you out and in any case the tyres did not allow me to push too hard. Finally we did it: winning at Mugello is really something special!
Honestly, Im so happy and pleased, because today was a day to stay on the bike. When I saw Valentino fall back and with Marc not being there at the front, I thought OK today is the day to take second place and bring home a lot of points, which is really important after the crash on Friday. Being on the bike was already very lucky, because it was a fast crash and my arm was hurting a lot, so Im very pleased for todays result. I was only feeling pain when the bike was moving but for most of the race I was feeling really good, I was at 100%. I was, as always, preparing to push on the last five laps and make my best rhythm of the race, but like I said, today was a good day to stay on the bike.
I knew that todays race would be more difficult than usual for me. While on the bike I rode well and I didn’t have pain, but I was struggling a bit and I knew that 23 laps would be long and hard. I tried my best, I did a perfect start and I led the race for some laps, but I couldn’t really ride the way I would have liked to. At the end I tried to stay close to the riders in front, but I did not have the power to attack Danilo. I would have liked a lot to be on the podium today, but there was nothing I could do. Its a bit disappointing that I’m not on the podium at Mugello, but seeing where I was few days ago, and the big hit I took, its been a positive weekend all in all. Being here and riding in front of so many fans was a gift. Now we have just few days before Catalunya, another important race, so I will try to recover and be in perfect shape in Barcelona.
It has not been a very easy weekend, but after yesterdays qualifying we were quite confident of our performance. Todays race started well with Maverick and Valentino battling at the front of the field for the lead in a group of four to five riders who all maintained a similar pace. When Maverick understood that chasing the rider in first position was too risky, he decided to take home some very important points for the championship, rather than make a mistake. Knowing Valentinos condition when he arrived here, he rode a really great race. He was on the limit of his physical abilities today, so his fourth place is a big achievement, but in my opinion he deserved a podium, considering the effort that he put in. We will now head straight to Catalunya for the next round of the championship, where we look forward to another thrilling weekend of racing.
I started the race strong because I knew the first laps were important, so I tried to fight. At first I was able to do it, but after a while I started struggling with the front tyre in the corners, and I was also getting caught on the straight by the others. We chose the medium front spec because we knew that with the hard option, which I felt better with, we wouldn’t have finished the race. In fact, with the hard front option being asymmetric, in this case the medium spec was harder on the right side than the hard spec, and the Mugello track stresses the right side more. But at a certain point, I started feeling I was struggling too much in the corners, so I decided to stay there and not risk crashing. The situation allowed us to finish sixth. This is an up-and-down championship, so we must keep working hard and look to improve.
We’ve been struggling with lack of grip since the beginning of the weekend, and today in the race it was even worse. I felt no grip since the start, either at the front or the rear, and I got passed by many riders with no possibility to fight back. The bike was shaking a lot even on the straight, and basically I wasn’t able to manage it. It was a long race. Ultimately I crashed on the last lap trying to overtake Cal [Crutchlow], and I took him out. I’m sorry for that because it’s not good when you make a mistake and someone else pays for it. Luckily, we’re both okay after the crash, so we’ll take this and look forward to the next race. Hopefully we’ll have a better feeling in Catalunya.
It was a great race for me here in MotoGP Mugello and I am happy with the end result. I started from 11th on the grid, which made things more difficult because I didnt have the advantage that I had in Le Mans with my qualifying position. However, I was able to keep the pace and control my rhythm but it was tricky to overtake Iannone because his acceleration was slightly better and his braking was also very strong. It took a long time to get past him and as a result, I lost contact with Marquez and Bautista and this was the group that was fighting for 5th. When I overtook Iannone, I expected to catch the two riders in front of me quite quickly, yet, I was tired because I had to force the bike a lot and I felt that my tyres had dropped a little. However, in the last five laps the group behind me caught up, but I had a great feeling on the bike and the hard tyre was working really well again, as was the front, and this meant that I could push and save this 7th position. The result is a positive thing because it was a tricky weekend and we tried to find a solution to some of the sliding issues but it was not so easy. However, once again, I gained a lot of knowledge and I gave it everything that I had, so we can leave Mugello feeling satisfied.
Obviously I can’t be satisfied with my race today. Even though I got off to a good start and I led a race for the first time this year, unfortunately lap after lap my pace started to slow. I continue to lose time under braking and for the moment I can’t get the best out of the bike’s assets, but above all I can’t be fast through the corner, which is one of my strong points, and today I was passed several times on the inside without being able to react. The positive thing about the race is that Andrea won and Danilo came third, demonstrating that today the Ducati was the best bike on the track. Back on Friday I said that the bike was good enough to win and I’m happy for Dovizioso because he deserved it.
I am very happy with this result because this is the closest I have finished to the front guys in MotoGP. After the start I was able to stay with Cal Crutchlow for many laps and I was pushing 100%. Then towards the end Dani Pedrosa was just ahead but I was losing some rear grip and was getting very tired so I decided to make sure I finished the race.
Scoring a point today is bonus considering from the start of the weekend I just didn’t feel on the pace with a lack of front grip and confidence. But it was a solid result with no crashes and I did the best I could in the race. Now I’m looking forward to doing the Barcelona race next weekend and being fit for the second of the back-to-back races.
Unfortunately I ruined my good performance in practice and qualifying with a pretty bad start, and ending up thirteenth at the first corner from fourth on the grid certainly didn’t help matters much. From then on I tried to make my own pace, but we all had more or less the same speed and the battling between us did not allow me to make up many positions. In the end I finished the race just behind Jorge and that’s not bad, but above all I’m pleased because we worked well and we were consistently fast throughout the weekend.
We kept on working on the bike right up until the race, but when I started it was with a slightly different setting that took me a little too long to get the right feeling with before I started to pull in the gap to Abraham and Baz. Unfortunately the rear brake started to give me trouble from the half way point before I then had nothing. For the KTM it’s crucial to make the bike work with a rear brake so it’s a frustrating way to finish the weekend but, we learnt a great deal and around such a difficult, technical track, that’s so similar to Austin, I think we did a better job here than in the USA. Looking forward, we now move on the Catalunya in a few days time and fight on.
It was a shame because we had an electrical problem that appeared this weekend after a big effort by the factory and the test team as Mika (Kallio) tried those pieces not too long ago so to get them here was a big effort. Thank you guys. From Friday we made good steps and we were aiming to be around 35 seconds off the win but it wasn’t to be.
I cant hide my disappointment about today but I did my best to recover as much as possible. The issue that is limiting me is the beginning section of the race and we are unsure about how to improve the situation at the moment. We are always able to make a fast lap during the weekend, but during the GP here, I struggled to stay consistent and ride decent lap times at the start. It was not a good day and I want to move on from this. Now I have to check and find a solution so that we can step up and go faster when the lights go out. We will keep working and I will try my best once again in Catalunya.
It is a real pity. For the first time in my career I made a jump start and that is not what we needed. First and foremost I would like to apologize to the team. This is a particularly important race for Aprilia and the RS-GP was working very well. The sensations were the best of the entire season. My pace in the low 48s after the ride through (therefore without particular motivation and without the advantage of any slipstream) shows that we could have battled for important positions. After running off track in the gravel, something wasn’t working right with gear selection, so I made a pit stop. Once again, we showed that we are fast, but we are going home without any points. Now we need to consistently get back into the positions that we deserve.
I expected to be able to do a better race today, because in the first 6 laps I felt very much at ease. I was able to overtake several riders, lapping at good times straight away, even dropping below 1’49”. At a certain point I began to lose the good feeling with the front end and so I struggled to maintain a good pace. It was a situation that conditioned me for the rest of the race. It’s a pity because throughout the weekend I had never noticed this type of problem. In any case, I want to look at the various positive sides that came out this weekend. I am happy to have finished the race and to have achieved a lap time that was actually only one second off the best. I am learning a lot in every race and we are moving in the right direction.
I’m satisfied with the first part of the race. I was able to recover, overtake, and fight. Later when the tyre performance dropped, the bike changed its behaviour and I struggled to manage the situation at that time. I likewise struggled with the braking and with the cornering speed; this last one is one of the strengths of my GSX-RR, but when the tyres drop the situation changes. This is something we are working on, this race itself gave us information and ideas to work on. It’s sad for me not having a better performance at a circuit like Mugello, because I’ve grown accustomed to being very, very competitive here. The qualifying also affected the race result. Anyway we are working hard; we already have some ideas, and I hope in Barcelona we will make some more solid improvements.
This has been a stronger race than at Le Mans. I’m happy about this. I was able to fight in the race, overtake, battle, and finish the race lapping consistently with nearly the same time as in the beginning. I’m still adapting to the MotoGP class, and I’m happy for today; we reduced the gap from the leader and this makes the race a positive one for me. Day after day I feel the GSX-RR becoming “more mine”. Now I can enjoy overtaking, feeling the power of the engine, and basically have fun, which is the best way to achieve positive results.