The beautiful valleys of Tuscany will once again reverberate to the sound of MotoGP this weekend as the series heads to round six, the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello. The hills and forests surrounding the iconic circuit provide the backdrop to some of the fastest speeds ever recorded on two wheels, with Andrea Iannone clocking a mind-boggling 350.8km/h in 2015. In last year’s race Jorge Lorenzo claimed the third of four straight wins that put him firmly on course for the title, one of six consecutive Spanish successes at the track. Valentino Rossi has not stood on the top step of the podium at his home race since 2008 although he will have high hopes this weekend, with just twelve points separating himself, Lorenzo and Marc Marquez in the championship.
It is a special weekend for the Aspar Team, who are determined to put on a good show in Ducati’s home race. Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández both know that the Italian machinery works well at this circuit, with the Colombian having claimed a top ten finish here last season – one of four Ducati riders to do so on that day. Hernández is hoping to use that memory as a springboard for a repeat performance this weekend. For Laverty this race is an opportunity to extend his run of points-scoring finishes to six. The Aspar Team rider had one of his best rides of last season here with a fourteenth place finish, but he has raised the bar this season and has made constant improvements since kicking off the season with twelfth place in Qatar.
Eugene Laverty: “We’ve had five good races with points-scoring finishes so the important thing is to continue that run at Mugello. Having the Ducati horsepower this year will be a big help at Mugello; the engine is so important around there. The focus is on the points, which starts with qualifying better on Saturday, to try and make my job easier on Sunday and try to get in the top ten in the race. Mugello is a natural circuit like Phillip Island, rather than a computer animated circuit. It is up and down with fast changes of direction and different cambers; it’s really fun to ride. The Italian fans at Mugello are always pretty special and this will be my first time riding in Italy on a Ducati so I am sure we will have plenty of support.”
Yonny Hernández: “I am really motivated for the Italian Grand Prix because Mugello is a circuit where the Ducatis usually go well. It has a long straight where we will be able to take advantage of the power of our engine. I have been working hard this week to make sure I am in the right shape to give it my very best this weekend. Hopefully with the hard work of the the whole team this weekend we can build a competitive bike and finish the race on Sunday with the top result we are all waiting and hoping for.”