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VALENTINO ROSSI RETURNS HOME IN MUGELLO FOR ITALIAN GRAND PRIX

MOTOGP A FULL 2014

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Rossi Returns Home for Italian Grand Prix

Rain Stops Play in Mugello Free Practice
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team may have got off to a flying start in Mugello this morning but the good times were not to last as light rain cancelled any action in the afternoon.

30 May 2014

Local hero Valentino Rossi got straight down to business in the first free practice, delighting the crowd of home fans with an impressive pace. Rossi led for most of the session before dropping to second in the last minutes, 0.382 seconds from first.

Teammate Lorenzo was also enjoying riding at one of his favourite circuits on the calendar, dropping time consistently throughout the practice to finish in fifth with a time of 1’48.677, 0.661 from first.

The afternoon session proved to be a frustrating one with light rain coming down minutes before the second practice, leaving the track not completely wet but not dry either, leaving the riders to sit it out and wait for tomorrow’s third session.

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders got off to a slippery start in Mugello with a slight downpour of rain at the beginning of FP2 preventing them from improving their times set in the morning practice session. The track conditions were not damp enough to warrant a wet setup, with Bradley Smith choosing to sit out the session and Pol Espargaro just undertaking a brief technical sighting lap on the 5245 metre circuit.

Bradley Smith who expected to improve his initial time in this afternoon’s practice session, finished FP1 in 10th with a best lap of 1.49,030. His time was just over one second from first place as he concentrated on finding a confidence instating base setup for this weekend’s round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship. Despite to the lack of action in FP2, the British rider now looks optimistically towards tomorrow’s third free practice session to continue his preparation for Sunday’s 23 lap race.

Pol Espargaro completed this morning’s session in 12th position despite falling uninjured half way through. The premier class rookie heroically returned to the pits, jumped on his second bike and then headed straight back out on track before incredibly improving his lap time in a showcase of true grit and determination. Having never ridden in wet conditions so far in MotoGP, the reigning Moto2 World Champion used this afternoon’s session to undertake a very brief technical check to discover the behaviour of the steel brakes. He now keenly awaits tomorrow’s FP3 session where he aims to continue his progress.

It was a very positive opening day of practice for the NGM Forward Racing riders at the fast and technical Mugello track.

Aleix Espargaro focused on the electronics to solve the problems he had in Le Mans, while Colin Edwards tested the new chassis made by Forward in collaboration with FTR. The Texan rider was really satisfied with the feeling he got from the new chassis which was designed also according to his indications.

As many other MotoGP riders Aleix and Colin didn’t test in FP2 and the combined classification of the day sees the Spaniard in the sixth place with a best lap time of 1’48.743 and the Texan rider 13th (1’49.818).

Valentino Rossi – 2nd / 1’48.386
“This morning the start was good for me. We found already quite a good setting and I felt comfortable on the bike; it was already quite fast. The weather is a shame firstly for the people around the circuit and also as we had something important to try this afternoon so it was important to try to make the test. Unfortunately ten minutes before the practice it started to rain but not enough for the rain tyre so we wasted our time.”

Jorge Lorenzo – 5th / 1’48.665
“Unfortunately before the second practice today it started spitting and raining a little bit, not so much but we were not able to use the slick and it had no use to try with the rain tyre. I just made one lap to warm up the rain tyre in case there’s a dry and wet race. This morning was good, I feel better physically and I feel stronger on the bike. It is just a little more nervous than last year so we are trying to improve the electronics to make the bike more smooth and easier to ride.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We made a very good start this morning in the first practice. Both Valentino and Jorge were able to find a good base set up to begin the weekend with; Valentino especially was very quick throughout the session. We expected Mugello to be a good track for the M1 so it’s good to see this is a reality in practice. It’s frustrating that we were not able to continue our work this afternoon with the changing conditions, when it’s just a little wet and dry there is no real benefit to ride as you cannot make the best use of either wet tyres or slicks. The rest of the weekend’s weather looks more promising so we are happy to get back to work tomorrow morning.”

Bradley Smith – 10th / 1’49.030
“I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans. We managed to do four runs and the team and I tried a lot of suspension and geometry settings so that we were able to collect a huge range of data. This in turn, fills me with confidence for tomorrow. It was unfortunate that I was unable to ride this afternoon yet with the information we have from FP1 we are in a good position for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully for tomorrow the weather conditions will clear and be dry so that we can carry on working in the right direction.”

Pol Espargaro – 12th / 1’49.308
“Obviously the fall this morning was not an ideal start to this weekend but in my first run behind Lorenzo I felt very comfortable and the lap times were promising. After the crash where I hit my head a bit, I felt quite nervous and little less confident but still managed to improve my lap time as soon as I went out again which obviously makes me feel elated for the weekend. Of course it goes without saying that I would have been happy to get a few more laps under my belt this afternoon, but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side. I am hoping that the weather will be dry tomorrow as I have never ridden in the wet but we will have to see.”

Aleix Espargaro – 6th / 1’48.743
“This morning we worked on the electronics to solve the problems we had in Le Mans and we tried different things to cool the brakes. We did a good work but there was not enough time to concentrate on the set up, something we wanted to do this afternoon. Mugello is a very demanding track so we will keep on working on the electronics in preparation of the race”.

Colin Edwards – 13th / 1’49.818
“Today was one of my best memories of Mugello. We showed up here with the new chassis. We had to restart almost from zero in terms of set up but the feeling was very positive and I feel like I am a 20 year old guy!. I understand the bike, I have the confidence and the machine turns as it should, according to my riding style. The new chassis was designed around what I had last year and I’d like to thank the team for the great effort they made to deliver it for the Italian GP”.

Rossi Returns Home for Italian Grand Prix
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP returns to Italy for Valentino Rossi’s first home race of the year, the Gran Premio d’Italia this Sunday at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany. The race is also a home Grand Prix for the team itself, being based alongside the historic Monza circuit in Gerno di Lesmo.

Rossi prepares to entertain his home fans in good form having been at the sharp end of recent races and taking a well earned second on the podium at the last round in France at Le Mans. The local hero remains the only Grand Prix rider ever to take seven straight wins at his home race, scoring consecutive premier class victories at Mugello from 2002 to 2008. Prior to this he also has a 125cc win in 1997 and a 250cc win in 1999. He will be determined to forget last year’s unfortunate DNF after being taken out on the first lap.

Jorge Lorenzo arrives at one of his favourite circuits determined to continue his five-year unbroken Mugello podium run. The track that has seen him claim the last three consecutive premier class wins and two consecutive second place finishes prior to that.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team’s Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith will once again fight to finish round 6 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in strong positions at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM event.

The action will commence this Friday at the twisting 5245 metre circuit, 30 kilometres northeast of Firenze. The historic track is a popular event for spectators and riders alike featuring six left hand corners and nine right of varying degrees and speed. It is also one of the lengthiest tracks on the Grand Prix calendar featuring the longest straight of all the rounds with a distance of 1141 metres.

Rookie Pol Espargaro will look to build on his superbly executed result of 4th position at the team’s home GP of Le Mans by continuing his learning process on a MotoGP bike at Mugello. Whilst Bradley Smith, who holds the track in high regard, will look to add to his history of convincing results at the famous Tuscan track a battle inside the top five.

The Grand Prix of Italy represents also a special appointment for the team run by Giovanni Cuzari and its main sponsor, NGM, based in Santa Maria a Monte, Pisa only 90 km far from the Tuscan racetrack.

Mugello is also one of Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards’s favourite circuits and both NGM Forward Racing MotoGP riders hope to get a good result after the difficult weekend they had in France.

Valentino Rossi
“I am very happy to go to Mugello. This is a beautiful track and I like it so much. This is one of my favourite weekend’s of the season! For this reason I will try to give my best. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honour. Jorge has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track. It will be my three hundredth GP this weekend and for that I am not very happy because it means that I’m old but I’m happy because I am in good shape and I can still be very fast! See you at Mugello!”

Jorge Lorenzo
“Well, first of all I would like to forget what happened at Le Mans. There I couldn’t feel good on the bike and therefore we need to think about the future. I will never give up and continue working really hard to get ready when our moment comes. Now we are going to visit some special tracks for me and I think we can change some things to stay in front. We need to try to fight for our first victory of the season. That would be great for all of us, the team and I. Mugello is a suitable scenario for me where I’ve made some good memories in the past few years. It’s a special track and the layout is fantastic for my style of riding. Hopefully we can find our way in Tuscany!”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“I am very confident, Mugello is a circuit that really suits our bike. Jorge has won the last three races there, it’s the second home race for Vale who also has a great Mugello record and it’s the home race for the team as we are based not so far away. We are excited for Friday morning to get started. It looks like the weather may not be great with some rain on Friday and Saturday but race day should be fine! I expect to see a huge crowd and we plan to put on a good show for everybody.”

Pol Espargaro
“I am excited to ride at Mugello which is a track I thoroughly enjoy and one that will suit the Yamaha YZR-M1 favourably due to it’s sweeping and fast flowing corners. However it looks like it will rain during the weekend which could be tricky as I have not ridden in the wet on a MotoGP bike before. Yet as always I will aim to learn as much as possible especially in the damp conditions and will focus on getting a strong setup so that I can be as prepared as possible for the race at this technical and demanding circuit. I qualified on pole here in Moto2 in 2012 plus scored 3 podiums in the 125 and Moto2 classes so I look forward to building on my experience.”

Bradley Smith
“After a tricky race at Le Mans I am ready and excited for Mugello which is one of my favourite tracks. I really like the nature of the circuit plus Yamaha is the most successful MotoGP manufacturer at this track so we must feel confident. I won from pole position in 2009 in the 125 class and also qualified on the front row before clinching 3rd in 2011 on the Tech3 Moto2 bike, so I know I can ride well here. We’ll have to take it step by step as it could rain, but I aim to get a solid setup sorted on Friday so that I can get a top 6 qualifying position in preparation for the 23-lap race on Sunday. The crowd is always amazing, also the track is fantastic so I am ready to fight for success.”

Aleix Espargaro
“I’ve always liked Mugello. I really enjoy the fast corners there and the fast changes of direction. We will suffer in the long straight in terms of top speed but in general I think that the layout of the track should suit well our Forward Yamaha. I’m really looking forward to get back on the bike and get some good result.”

Colin Edwards
“After the difficult weekend we had in France, I look forward to the Italian GP, where we will test some new parts. Mugello is a very demanding track and it’s crucial to find a good set up of the bike.”

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