Ahead of qualifying day at the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, MotoGP™ Legend Randy Mamola has offered his expert thoughts on what lies ahead at the first Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli race.
1. Misano, an intense circuit
“There will be a lot of pressure with the back-to-back races. Misano is a style of track where it is very intense to make the bike work, to get it on the right line to race. So, it’s a very intense racetrack, there’s not a lot of places where you can relax at all. Obviously, Michelin have their new tyre going into this which is very important, and the track has been completely resurfaced since the last time they races there. But there have been teams that have tested there, before the season started on June 23rd, test riders Michele Pirro (Ducati) and Sylvain Guintoli (Suzuki) were there testing before Jerez.
“But, the important thing for KTM was that all four riders were there – Pol Espargaro, Brad Binder, Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona. Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith were also there. So if you look at that it was three months ago, but more recently, Dani Pedrosa has been there. KTM should have things really set, I know that with Ducati, it’s in their backyard – Bologna is just down the street and all the riders really know the circuit well. It’s going to be really interesting to see who comes out with the most complete package for Sunday’s race. And don’t forget – back to back races in a pressure situation!”
2. Italians on home soil
“Valentino Rossi, Franco Morbidelli, Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Pecco Bagnaia is returning this weekend from his fractured leg in Brno, that was over a month ago. So it will be interesting to see how he returns. Also it’s super nice that they’re allowing 10,000 fans into the grandstands for the first time this season, it will be super for those fans to watch and there will be a lot of jealous people watching on TV.
“But, the TV and racing this year has been nothing but magic and so unpredictable, that’s what is so good about MotoGP. The Italians will be looking to get the best results possible, I know Rossi’s VR46 group sometimes ride road bikes there so it will be super exciting for the Italians on home soil.”
3. Ducatis fighting back
“In the winners and losers video I mentioned Dovizioso was the biggest winner, but he needs to regroup after finishing 5th in Styria if he wants to keep the momentum and pressure on Fabio Quartararo, seeing as he is only three points behind, which is awesome to see. And it’s a back-to-back Grand Prix, as I said, he’s an Italian and it’s one of his home races. Dovi has won there before back in 2018, but last year was a bit disappointing, I think he was 13 seconds back in sixth place.
Wondering who came out of the triple header in the best, or worst, shape? ????— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) September 3, 2020
Thankfully, Randy Mamola is here to help with a brand new series: Randy's Winners and Losers! ????#MotoGP pic.twitter.com/OOek535ADy
“So again, I think Ducati need to step it up and it’s going to be interesting to see where they come out of this double-header but it’s one of those critical double-headers in this Championship, I think there’s so many points for these Italians to try and gain back. But also there are so many riders that are able to take those points, like what I mentioned in the riders that did preseason testing. Once again, Dani Pedrosa being there just over a week ago testing again with KTM…”
4. Misano – KTM’s first dry weather front row
“KTM last year in Misano started second, their first dry front row start thanks to Pol Espargaro. You’ll remember when a top five result in the dry felt like a victory for KTM, fast forward to 2020 and they’ve had two victories with two riders who had never been on a MotoGP™ podium before – Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira. Can they go to Misano and make it a third win of the season at a third different circuit? I believe they can, especially with the rider line-up they’ve got and the testing they’ve been able to do.
“Dani Pedrosa was there over the past couple of weeks and this is going to be very important. To highlight the difference in just 12 months, last year Pol started second and finished seventh, 20 seconds behind the winner. But last year in Brno, he was 18 seconds behind the winner and this year KTM won with Binder. For me, all four riders can be inside the top ten and Binder, Pol and Oliveira can easily be inside the top five. That’s going to be so interesting to follow and watch but also to see how they match up against their opposition again, mainly Yamaha and Ducati.”
5. Can Yamaha go well at Misano again?
“Yamahas do really well around the racetrack. I won the GP there in 1987, the 500cc class, it was my last victory so it is a very special place for me. It was also in 1985 that I got thrown off the side of the bike which gets shown a lot over the years.
“A lot of things have happened in Misano for myself and it makes it special for me as well. So last year in 2019 the Yamahas were all in a row and it was Fabio Quartararo who finished second and Maverick Viñales who rounded off the podium in 3rd. There were only 1.6 seconds between Viñales and Marc Marquez. Then Rossi and Morbidelli finished fourth and fifth, so the Yamahas do go really well there, it will be interesting to see who comes out top Yamaha there and how competitive they are against other manufacturers.
“But Quartararo really needs to stop losing the points and start gaining the points like before, and get back to the form and get back to when the bike world really well in Jerez for both Fabio and Viñales. Obviously if it works for them it will work for Rossi, and he was on the podium in Jerez. It's basically Valentino’s home there and there's going to be a sea of yellow with 10,000 fans.”