The first match point weekend of the season is here and in the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell'Emilia-Romagna Pre-Event Press Conference, World Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and title rival Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) previewed a huge three days that are coming up, alongside COTA winner Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) and 2022 MotoGP™ rider Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing).
The title fight – Quartararo vs Bagnaia
Aforementioned, it’s a massive weekend for both riders. Quartararo has his first match point and a win at Misano will see the Frenchman clinch his first Grand Prix title, but 2021 San Marino GP winner Pecco is going “all in” to try and take the fight to Portimao.
Quartararo: “Yes of course I’m feeling really good but to be honest my head is not really on that part. I think we need to take it like a normal race but we know on Sunday something special can happen. But first of all on Friday and Saturday we need to plan it like the rest of the year, and then on Sunday we will see the amount of risk we will take. But Friday and Saturday will be a normal situation for the moment and then we will see what will happen.
“We will see. It’s how I like to race but I have never been in that situation. Last year I learned a lot, not how to fight for a championship but to be leader of the championship for many races was an important step for my experience, and this year I think it’s much ‘easy’ let’s say to have it. At the moment it is a normal race and we will see how much risk we will take on Sunday.”
Bagnaia: “For me the only thing I can do is win, to try and stay in the Championship fight. We know 52 points are a lot, but we will try. We still have the possibility so we will try. It will be different this weekend because the conditions are different and looks like it could rain on Friday and Saturday. For sure this weekend I have to go all in and try to make something.”
Rossi’s Italian farewell
As many will know, nine-time World Champion Rossi will be hanging up his leathers at the end of 2021. And this weekend sees the much-adored Italian race – in MotoGP™ - in front of his home faithful at Misano. So how is The Doctor feeling ahead of his last dance on home soil?
Rossi: “It's a bit of a strange situation because it is already the second time here in Misano and the second race is particular, because usually we race just once, but with the Covid situation we’ve learned to stay at one track for more than one race. It’s a great chance to say Ciao to all the Italian fans so it is great to race here in Misano at my home circuit. I hope the weather will be good for the weekend, because this period in Italy is a bit more difficult so I hope for a dry weekend, especially on Sunday. Try the maximum during the weekend to be competitive during the race.
“Like you said, it’s a long story, more than 400 races in my career. I just have to say thank you to everybody. I have had incredible support all over the world, especially in Italy. I always give the maximium, we enjoy a lot together as it’s a long career with a lot of great races. We will see on Sunday, anyways after Misano we will have 2 more races, it’s always a sad moment when you arrive at the end but anyways it was good. We’ll enjoy!”
Darryn Binder confirmed as a 2022 MotoGP™ rider
On Thursday afternoon at Misano, Darryn Binder was confirmed as Andrea Dovizioso’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) teammate in the newly-branded WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, becoming the only the second rider to make the jump from Moto3™ straight to MotoGP™ after Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team).
Darryn Binder: “First off I would just like to say a he thanks to WithU RNF Yamaha Racing for giving me this opportunity. It feels unreal, it feels like I am in a different world right now. It’s a childhood dream to ride in MotoGP and not everybody gets this opportunity, and I definitely never expected it to come from Moto3. I’m super excited and it’s a huge step forward so it’s going to be a big learning curve for me, but yeah I’m super excited, I’m ready to work as hard as I can and it all starts at the end of the year when I get the first ride on the M1.
“You know it’s definitely an opportunity you can’t turn down, it’s a no brainer for me. It’s definitely a big step and I think I’ll be asking my brother a lot of questions and I’m going to be trying to follow his footsteps very closely over the holiday to train and try and get ready for the bigger bike. From my side I definitely feel like I’ve been in Moto3 for way too long, I’m quite big so I think my size should suit the big bike a bit better. It’s going to be a huge learning curve but I’m up for the hard work and I will do my best to get stronger and stronger.”
Ducati to become the single manufacturer in MotoE™ in 2023
Some other huge news to break ahead of the Emilia-Romagna GP was the announcement that Ducati are going to become the single manufacturer in the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup from 2023-2026. See HERE to get the full story!
Thursday’s day of chit-chatting is now over, and it’s time for the talking to be done on track. The first match point weekend is here, will the title go Quartararo’s way this weekend? Time will tell! Tune into MotoGP™ FP1 at 09:55 local time (GMT+2) to see who’s on form from the off.