After the San Marino GP and a positive Tuesday test for most, the riders in the Gran Premio TISSOT dell'Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini are expecting another hugely competitive weekend at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. New Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was joined by Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), San Marino race winner Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) to preview the weekend.
Most of the riders were back on track Tuesday for an important test day and many seemed to have found improvements. Dovizioso, who finished P7 last weekend, may have the Championship lead but so far, 2020 hasn’t been an easy ride. During the test, the Italian said he was much happier with the feeling on his GP20 and goes into the Emilia Romagna GP more confident, but is wary that after the first Misano race and test, there will be a lot of fast riders this weekend.
“Yes the Championship is crazy. A lot of up and down for everybody, which is why we are very close. I’m happy to be in this position at this moment of the championship, but for sure we have to make a step to be able to fight. I’m really happy about Tuesday’s test, we had two targets and we achieved those two targets. I’m really happy about that, my speed was really good. A lot of riders did a really good pace.
“In the way I rode it was much better, we understood which corners I wasn’t good enough and I was able to be better, more relaxed. We changed the set-up to allow me to help me in a better way and we tried something on the bike, a new piece, and it was a bit better. Overall the feeling is better than Sunday for sure, but there are a lot of really fast riders, especially after Misano 1 – we will see.”
Third place finisher Mir admitted that he’s “made a good step with my confidence on the bike” from last weekend, with the Spaniard adding: “It is a good improvement and I am happy with the test so let’s see if this can give us more in the early laps of the race and maybe the qualifying.” Suzuki were strong in San Marino, and they’ll be even stronger this weekend by the sounds of it.
Rossi fell victim to a classy Mir manoeuvre on the last lap of Sunday’s race, with The Doctor expecting the competition to be even closer when they attack the Misano circuit again on Sunday afternoon.
“It was a good day and good race, we have another chance this weekend, I think it will be difficult for everybody because I expect the other riders and bikes to be more competitive, and closer to us. So if we want to try and fight for the podium we have to try and improve Sunday and be stronger on Sunday.
“It was a good test. We worked very hard, I did a lot of laps and we had some stuff to try. Some things were better, some were worse. For tomorrow I don’t think we will change a lot the race bike to start with. After we’ll see during the weekend,” continued Rossi, talking about Tuesday’s test.
Bagnaia comes into the second Misano weekend in better shape than he did seven days ago. A second place finish was made to look like a relatively simple task by the Italian last Sunday, and he goes into the next race knowing he can complete it without any serious issues with his leg injury.
“Tuesday’s test was difficult to understand things, the grip was right and the conditions were incredible. Every rider was so fast, in the test it’s difficult to understand what something will be like in the race. We stopped before to rest the leg, I think that I arrive to this weekend more prepared with the leg because I know we can do the race, it’s not a problem. Starting work on Friday is for sure better.”
And what about Morbidelli? The most recent MotoGP™ winner sat out Tuesday’s test due to an upset stomach, with the Italian admitting he doesn’t think missing the test is going to affect him much.
“Sincerely I don’t think skipping the test is going to affect me too much. Anyways I hope to make a good and nice weekend like I had last weekend. It will be important to reconfirm the level that we had in the last race; it will be important to step it up if you want to remain in the same spot you need to step up your game a little bit.”
With most of the riders heading into the Emilia Romagna GP either with the same feelings as they did last weekend or better ones, it's bubbling up nicely to be another unpredictable three days on the Riviera di Rimini. The MotoGP™ riders will be out for FP1 on Friday morning at 09:55 local time (GMT+2), that’s when we’ll get a first indication as to who is on form – and who still needs to find some improvements.