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The Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley is a big event for any home rider, but for Mission Winnow Ducati trio Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and wildcard-test rider Michele Pirro, it's another level. So ahead of track action and press conferences and media scrums beginning on Thursday, what better pre-event than one with a simple aim: arriving in style.
The adventure began at the Ducati Museum in Borgo Panigale, with a presentation about aerodynamics and the 'anatomy of speed' headed by Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali and Ducati Corse General Manager Luigi Dall'Igna. From there, the riders got suited and booted and got ready to ride.
From Borgo Panigale to Mugello via the amazing Futa Pass
The Futa Pass is one of the most spectacular roads in Tuscany and that's where the trio were headed first. Escaping the bustle of Bologna, turning off for the panoramic route and then heading into the countryside to climb up the constant arpeggio of corners, it's a stunning route to ride - even when the weather isn't on your side. And there were plenty of other bikers on the road to attest to that, as well as at the lunchtime stop off.
Refreshed and ready to roll, from there it's across more stunning Tuscan scenery to drop down into the towns and villages on the way to the track and, finally, the sun. Back on more familiar turf, the trio then took their Multistradas on track before the final pitstop of the day: the Desmosedicis.
The crescendo of the event saw Dovizioso, Petrucci and Pirro reunited with their racing machinery and get a first, brief taste of the tarmac - with all three blasting away in tandem on the spectacularly long main straight at Mugello. And now, it's back to racing business.
Andrea Dovizioso: "It was a bit strange, I've never come to the race on a bike! And on the really nice Multistrada. The weather wasn't so great for us, but it was a really nice experience, and to be here in Mugello already the day before and with the other Italian riders. Normally I come the day after."
The Italian then spoke about a milestone he hits this weekend - 300 Grands Prix.
"300 is a big number! I'm really happy to be in Mugello at this moment in the Championship because it's for sure our good track, and we need a good result. I think after a good result in Le Mans with three Ducatis, we can be really competitive here to fight with Marc. For sure he'll really want to win here in Mugello but I think we have every chance to fight with him and all the other riders."
Danilo Petrucci: "It's always very nice, every year I arrive at Mugello in a different way! Last year in a Lamborghini, this year on the Multistrada. It was very nice, I'd never tried the bike and we went on a great road coming here, had a very good lunch and I'm really looking forward to see what's going on on Friday.
"It's always nice for an Italian rider to ride in Mugello, especially with the Ducati and for me it's the first year with factory colours. It's always a good race for us and we want to have a good weekend, we arrive from Le Mans and a really good race for us. But we want to get on the top step. It'll be very difficult but we're at home."
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