Track action at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley kicks off on Friday morning but as always, before the riders do their talking on the asphalt, it was time to chat all things Mugello as World Championship leader and 2021 Italian GP race winner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was joined by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Jack Miller and his Ducati Lenovo Team teammate Francesco Bagnaia in the pre-event Press Conference.
He may have won in Italy last year, but the question remains: how strong will Quartararo be on the Yamaha at a temple of top speed? Sector 2 and Sector 3 were pinpointed by the reigning World Champion as ones he’ll excel in, but the most important thing will be qualifying well and getting a good start.
Quartararo: “It’s difficult to say because it’s not bad tracks (including Catalunya) for us, but if we are in bad positions then it will be bad. I would say if we get a great start and great first lap it can change our race, the qualifying and first lap. Let’s see how it goes but I think the next two will be tough.”
Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley: Pre-Event Press Conference
The breaking news coming out on Thursday was Aprilia Racing announcing that both Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales will be remaining with the Noale factory until at least the end of 2024. Coming into Aprilia’s home Grand Prix, Espargaro is on a run of three consecutive P3 finishes and second in the title race – and next week is the Spaniard’s home Grand Prix.
A huge couple of weekends face Espargaro and there is added pressure given where we’re going. But the same points are on offer, so the target remains the same.
Aleix Espargaro: “It’s two very important races for us. Mugello is very important for Aprilia, I’m very happy to ride in Italy in this way, with good results. We are actually leading the teams’ Championship for the first time in Italy for Aprilia, so it’s fantastic and next week it will, be my home GP.
“It’s two very important races, but it’s 50 points, no more than Germany and Assen, for example, so I am trying to work in the same way as the previous weekends. I have the same feeling that Fabio does, that the first laps of the race will be very, very important, especially against the fast Ducatis here at Mugello with the long straight. So, trying to be focused from the first lap tomorrow morning will be very, very important.”
A. Espargaro to debut "promising" new equipment in Italy
It was a disappointing end to the French GP for Bagnaia after crashing out of second place, but lessons have been learned and the Italian admitted that there isn’t any better place to try and put things right than Mugello.
Bagnaia: “Yeah it’s normal sometimes you can make mistakes and my one was a bit too big, but it’s ok. I had time at home to learn from that and I think the best place to re-join is Mugello. I’m really looking forward to riding tomorrow, last year was good to me, everything went well apart from the race, but Sunday was one of the worst days we had during the season. Let’s think from the Championship and try to enjoy tomorrow.”
Tune into MotoGP™ FP1 at 09:55 local time (GMT-2) to see who comes out the blocks fastest at Mugello!
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