Fiat Yamaha look to continue winning streak in Mugello The Fiat Yamaha team head into their home Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy this weekend looking to continue the most successful ever start to a MotoGP World Championship for the Japanese ...
Fiat Yamaha look to continue winning streak in Mugello
The Fiat Yamaha team head into their home Grand Prix at Mugello in Italy this weekend looking to continue the most successful ever start to a MotoGP World Championship for the Japanese factory. Yamaha riders have won three of the first five races of the year, having taken pole in four of them, and have racked up nine podiums - including a top-three lockout at the last round in France. Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo currently occupy the top two positions in the championship, while Yamaha are leading both the Constructors' and Teams' standings.
The 300km trip to Mugello from the team's current base in Milan has traditionally been a successful one for the factory, who have dominated for the last four seasons with Rossi. The Italian's record at his home race is second to none, with an unbeaten run of six seasons in MotoGP to add to victories in each of the 125cc and 250cc classes. Back-to-back successes in the last two rounds of this season mean that for the first time in over a year Rossi leads the World Championship, although just three points separate him from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who is tied on points with Dani Pedrosa.
Lorenzo's tally of 94 points is the highest ever score after five races by a rookie and whatever the result in Italy the 21-year-old plans to make more history as the youngest rider ever to reach the milestone of 100 Grand Prix starts. Lorenzo has a strong record at Mugello, having gone from his debut 250cc pole to second place in 2005 before taking victory from pole in 2006. However, last year he started from 20th place following a rain-affected qualifying session and then slid out of the lead on the final lap, re-mounting to finish eighth.
One of the fastest circuits on the calendar, with the 1,141m front straight last year tempting the new 800cc machines towards top speeds in excess of 320km/h, Mugello differs from other fast circuits in its frequent changes of gradient and the speed of its chicanes. There is a mix of slower and high-speed corners, although even the slowest corners are still wide - allowing plenty of scope for overtaking as the riders get a choice of line, putting the emphasis as much on their skill as on the precision of their chassis set-up.
"Le Mans was fantastic and I am still feeling very happy when I think about it! We had a good test afterwards and did a lot of hard work with Bridgestone and on the general setting of our bike, so hopefully we have been able to improve our package even further. Everyone knows that Mugello is one of my favourite tracks; I've won there six times in a row and now I want to make it seven! It's my home race and also the home race for a lot of our team and to race there is always something very special. It's fast and technical and we know it suits our bike so we will be aiming to be quick right from Friday morning. I hope the weather is good - for us and for all the fans - and then hopefully we can have a big Italian party!"
Davide Brivio Team Manager;
"This is a very good moment for Valentino to be going to Mugello, after two very important victories. Mugello is always one of the most important races of the year for us because it is in Italy but this season we're particularly keen to win because we'd like to give Bridgestone their first win at this track - that would be a fantastic achievement. The results in general for Yamaha so far this season have been outstanding and to be leading all three championships is testament to the hard work everybody put in over the winter. Yamaha worked extremely hard on the engine and on the bike as a whole package and the results are there to see. Also Valentino put in a lot of training to make sure that he arrived for this season in great shape, he is highly focused and highly motivated to win the title back. When everybody puts so much energy into a project it is extremely satisfying to see the results and now we hope the success continues for the rest of the season."
"I have to be really grateful for the fact that I have recovered so quickly from my injuries and to have had such great professionals making sure that was the case. Obviously we're still not going to be at 100% for Mugello but with every race that passes I'm able to put more weight on the footrests. I'm going to Italy with high hopes because it is one of my favourite circuits, with lots of fast and flowing corners. We have some favourable tracks coming up but we can't rely too much on that because in sport, and especially in motorcycle racing, you never know what can happen. This is a special race for me because it will be my hundredth appearance in the World Championship. It has all gone really fast and if I ever make it to 200 then I hope it goes just as fast - that would mean I'm having just as much fun as I have up to now and hopefully I'll have helped the fans enjoy it too!"
Danielle Romagnoli Team Manager;
"This is Jorge's 100th Grand Prix, which is an incredible achievement for his age, but knowing him he will simply be focused on collecting more information, learning his bike and continuing his education in MotoGP. He is still not in the best physical shape so it won't be easy but we saw at Le Mans his capacity to react and deal with difficult moments. The team are also learning and I am delighted with the way they too have performed. The two crashes during practice in France didn't make their job any easier but they worked extremely hard, reacted well and made some changes in the warm-up that proved to be very successful. Even then we didn't expect this level of performance from Jorge and the result has amazed us again. We are always looking to improve, though, so at Mugello we will work on the clutch to try and improve his starts. We know Yamaha and Michelin is a good combination there because of Valentino's victory last year so we are confident that we can have the chance for another great result."