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The main title contenders and some local heroes took to the stage for the official Press Conference to mark the start of the San Marino GP.
Movistar Yamaha teammates and title rivals Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo were joined by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Alex de Angelis (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) for the press conference that kicks off the Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, round 13 of the MotoGP™ World Championship.
Rossi arrives at his home Grand Prix leading Lorenzo by 12 points after his 4th win of the season at Silverstone. The Italian was born just 10km from Misano in Tavullia and is looking to make it back-to-back wins at his home grand prix after emerging victorious in 2014’s race: “It’s a special place. Looks like this year also more; I expect a lot of people. I arrive in a very good moment for sure as I’m leading the rankings and also the victory in Silverstone creates more expectations. It will be a tough weekend, more than usual especially outside the track as II have a lot of people who want to come see me. We’ll try to manage that and stay concentrated. The important thing is a good job on track, it’s a track I like and usually our bike is very strong.”
Across all classes Lorenzo has never finished worst than second at Misano in eight attempts and won back-to-back MotoGP™ races at the track between 2011 & 2013. Last year the Spaniard had to settle for second behind Rossi and he is under no illusions how tough the “Doctor” will be to beat in his own backyard: “It is an amazing situation and a good opportunity for a special race, mainly due to the situation of the championship. But we’re also here in Italy and it’s the second home of Yamaha, but 25 points for the win is the same at every circuit and for me it’s another race like any other which we have to manage to get the best result.”
Marquez trails Rossi by 77 points and while it is still mathematically possible for the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion to lift the title, it would require a minor miracle. Misano is one of only three tracks on the MotoGP™ calendar that Marquez has not won at before in the premier class, along with Phillip Island and Motegi, although he did take back-to-back Moto2™ victories at the circuit in 2011 and 2012: “After Silverstone, the options for the Championship are not gone completely, but it’s really difficult. There we tried and the feeling with the bike wasn’t the best but it was time to take some risks to try and win the championship, it wasn’t possible. We did a great race and the most important was that we were fast in dry conditions and it looks like it will be dry here again this weekend. We did a test here during the summer that was really good, really hot so we will need to adjust the setup but we start with a good base.”
Silverstone saw Dovizioso return to the podium for the first time since Le Mans and the Italian is feeling confident after two recent private tests with his team at Misano. Dovizioso has never finished on the podium at the track before, although he has crossed the line in fourth on four separate occasions: “Yeah, this year to make the podium is very tough. The four factory bikes are really strong; they’re fighting for the championship and pushing each other even harder. It will be difficult but not impossible, we have to try and our speed in the test was good. If we’re close to them anything can happen during the race.”
Petrucci claimed his first ever MotoGP™ podium at the British GP after a sensational ride that saw him cross the line in second after starting from 18th on the grid. Petrucci was born in Terni, but now lives only a few kilometres from the circuit and considers this his true ‘home’ race: “I’m happy to get my first podium but now I want to do a good dry race. Now it is almost impossible to get a dry podium, or even in the top five. I don’t want to hear another time when a wet race happens ‘Oh Petrucci will be fast’; maybe on a sunny day I want to hear ‘Petrucci is fast’. This is my next target.
Alex de Angelis joined the riders on stage as he also prepares for his home grand prix. The man from San Marino has only managed two point scoring finishes so far this season but is hoping to put on a show for his fans: “It’s always nice to come to Misano because it’s my home. It’s also where I got the first podium of my career in 1998 actually! It’s quite important, it’s motivation to push.”
The Gran Premio TIM di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini on-track action kicks off at 9am local time in Misano on Friday with Moto3™ Free Practice 1, click here for the full schedule.
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