2016 Mugello Saturday MotoGP Press Releases

Rossi Powers to Phenomenal Pole in Mugello


Riding with a special helmet design to mark his first home race of the season, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi brought massive cheers to the Autodromo del Mugello circuit today as he took a sensational pole position in the qualifying session ahead of tomorrow's Gran Premio d'Italia. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also pushed hard during the tense 15-minute qualifying heat and secured fifth place on the grid.

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi set a hot pace at the Autodromo del Mugello track today to score a brilliant pole position for tomorrow's Gran Premio d'Italia. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo also put in a solid performance in the tight qualifying session, securing fifth place.

Rossi arrived at the box with a special helmet that symbolizes how the hills around the Mugello track turn yellow when thousands of his fans come to support him during the Italian GP weekend. He took his time to leave the pit lane as qualifying got underway, allowing most of the other riders to depart before he headed out. The local hero put in a 1'48.433s on his first flying lap to slot into tenth place, before moving up to eighth place with a 1'47.593s on his second attempt.

Unable to improve his time on lap three, the Doctor quickly returned to the pits with less than five minutes on the clock for a new rear tyre. Back on the track, he dug deep and squeezed out all that his YZR-M1 has to offer on his fourth hot lap and set an incredible 1'46.504s to take over first place. The last minute of the session saw a flurry of activity but the Italian's amazing time was left unchallenged, resulting in his second pole position of the season, 0.094s ahead of his closest rival.

Teammate Lorenzo was the first rider to make his way out on the circuit for the start of the 15-minute qualifying heat, ensuring him some clear track space. He immediately put the hammer down on his first flying lap of 1'47.116s to take provisional third place, before returning to the pits for fresh rubber with ten minutes remaining.

A minute later he was back on the track for more qualifying action. Having been relegated to fourth, the Mallorcan pushed hard to shave a little off his time. He clocked a second hot lap of 1'47.005s but remained in the same position and decided to make a second pit stop to fit a new front tyre.

With two minutes remaining the current MotoGP championship leader started his third and final stint. He waited until the very end of the session to drop a 1'46.882s on his final lap and claim fifth on the grid, 0.378s from pole.

Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

"What an impressive result by Valentino today! He had been working hard all weekend and really outdid himself this afternoon in qualifying. He showed us some very clever riding to set an incredible lap of 1'46s for his second pole of the season, eight years after his last one here at Mugello! Starting in front is especially crucial here at Mugello, which is a track where overtaking is definitely not easy. Jorge's qualifying position doesn't reflect his race pace, which is competitive. He is still looking to make a small step to improve the bike under braking, after that he will be ready for the race. The forecast for tomorrow is good, so we are looking forward to putting on a good show in front of the Italian spectators who will be cheering us on."

Valentino Rossi

1st / 1'46.504 / 8 laps

"I'm very, very happy because it has been a long time since I last had pole here in Mugello, in the last years I was always struggling a lot. From Free Practice this afternoon we made a good step with the bike and I had a good pace. Qualifying is always difficult, but we followed the right strategy in the right moment of qualifying and I am very happy to start from first position, first of all for all the fans, but especially here it's so important that I ride in front."

Jorge Lorenzo

5th / 1'46.882 / 8 laps

"In all the practice sessions, for some reason, we couldn't take advantage of using a new tyre like the other riders and in qualifying I did my best over three laps but there is still something that's not good on the bike that we need to discover for tomorrow, especially on braking. I think that our pace is better than our position today suggests and tomorrow's race will be open with many riders having the possibility to win."


Team Suzuki Press Office – May 21.

Maverick Viñales put his Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RR on the front row with second place for tomorrow’s Mugello MotoGP™ grid after an exciting final qualifying session at the Italian circuit, that saw team-mate Aleix Espargaró on the second-row in sixth.

Viñales, who has been consistently near the top throughout all practice and qualifying sessions, put in a stunning final lap in the all-important Q2 to claim second position with a time of 1'46.598, just 0.094-of-a-second from Pole. Espargaró also showed great form and consistency, and after having to progress via Q1 – where he finished second - put in his fastest time of 1'47.186 on his sixth and final lap, 0.682 from Pole.

The morning’s session was very different for both riders, however: While Viñales felt immediately confident with his machine, being consistently in the top part of the sheets, Espargaró had trouble with the feeling and had to struggle to find a proper set-up. He ended the morning session in 16th place and had to change the strategy with his crew chief to find a better performance for Q1.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“We are very happy with this afternoon because Aleix managed to recover a situation that this morning was very hard; it was already hard to qualify for the Q2 but he didn’t have enough and he took the second row, which is impressive. Aleix and his crew did a very good job. Obviously Maverick has been absolutely great, we got very, very close to the pole, as we are all racers we have a little bitter taste for having been so close without succeeding, but for sure the main feeling is the happiness with second place. We will try to get the best result in the race from this position. Maverick had a good pace in FP4 and he starts on the front row, but of course races are unpredictable; however, for the moment the feeling is that we can play it to the beat.”

Maverick Viñales:

“Well it’s a great day, I did an incredible lap but anyway we have been performing for the whole weekend. I’m very happy for how the team supported me and finalised my machine. I’ve been feeling confident since the very beginning here and for the whole weekend so far and we took profit from that. I tested my pace in FP4 and we still lack a little bit, so I will try my best for a good start and hold the position and to fight with the leading group. This race will be very hard-fought and I want to stay in there.”

Aleix Espargaró:

“I’m very happy with qualifying and the second row. I’ve been struggling since yesterday and this morning was very bad, as I classified 16th. I wasn’t expecting it but finally my crew found some positive solutions for the set-up that allowed me to feel much more confident. To go through the Q1 is never easy, but we did it and finally had a good performance in Q2 also. The good thing is that we tested the pace and we are very close to the leaders; tomorrow the temperature will be hotter and also in these conditions we are very performing. It seems that nobody has the pace to run away with the race and it’s going to be a pack race, therefore a good start will be crucial; and then I will try to exploit my good pace.”

Front row for Iannone, third in qualifying for Italian GP at Mugello. Pirro places in eleventh and starts from row 4, while Dovizioso in thirteenth is one row further back

Andrea Iannone will start Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid after qualifying in third place at the Mugello circuit. The Italian rider, after going quickest in both the morning’s FP3 and the afternoon’s FP4 sessions, powered to a time of 1’46.607, one-tenth away from poleman Valentino Rossi.

Michele Pirro didn’t have such a good qualifying run after going well in free practice. The Italian, running as a wild-card entry in this race, finished FP3 in tenth place and went directly into Q2. However, due also to a problem that forced him to use his second bike in qualifying, he was unable to go any better than a time of 1’47.361, which put him into eleventh place and a row 4 start for tomorrow’s race.

Andrea Dovizioso’s day was a bit of a complicated one, after he suffered a problem with his neck yesterday which hampered him during free practice. In FP3 the Italian was unable to get into the top 10 and he finished the session in twelfth place. After a good FP4 session, which saw him place fourth, Andrea went out in Q1 but despite setting an excellent time of 1’47.089, he was unable to go through into Q2.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’46.607 (3rd)

“It’s always positive to start from the front row but last year I went much better in qualifying! Seriously speaking, I expected to struggle during the one-lap sprint, because my bike slides about quite a bit at the front and so when I’m looking for cornering speed the steering tends to close and I also took a few risks. But we have a very good race pace and we did a really excellent FP4 session in hot weather, which wasn’t easy. This was the first real session when we weren’t at the top, but, but all things considered so far the weekend has been very positive for us: we started off well and I am convinced I can do a good race tomorrow.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 1’47.361 (11th)

“The qualifying session didn’t go the way I expected, because on my first exit I had a problem with my bike and was forced to return to the pits and use the other one, with which I didn’t have such a good feeling, but above all I lost a chance to lap with two new tyres. It was a pity, because I only needed just a little bit to make the second row, but these things happen and in any case I am confident for tomorrow’s race because we have the potential to do well.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team # 04) – 1’47.089 (13th)

“It was a tough day today. This morning I couldn’t find a good feeling with my bike, which prevented me from getting into the top 10 and made things very difficult. However we did a really good job in FP4, and made a lot of progress. In Q1, after my first run with a hard tyre, I went out with softer rubber and lapped in 1’47.089, a time that would have put me onto row 2 if I had done it in Q2, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to go through to the next round. No excuses: I take full responsibility but basically we are missing a full session of practice: yesterday I wasn’t able to work the way I wanted because of my neck problem. I’m sorry that for just a fraction of a second we are right behind on the grid on row 5, but if we analyze FP4 and Q1 we’ve got the pace to stay with the front guys.”

Marquez leads second row, Pedrosa seventh-fastest in hard-fought QP at Mugello

Marc Marquez qualified just 0.152 seconds off of the front row at the Italian GP today while teammate Dani Pedrosa missed the second row by a mere 32 thousandths of a second during a hard-fought qualifying session at Mugello, where the track temperature rose above 45° C.

As the setup that Marc and his crew had found in the morning session hadn’t proven equally good in the much warmer afternoon FP4, Marc and his crew made a few modifications to the settings of their Repsol Honda RC213V, enabling him to lap under the 1’47” barrier on his first flying lap in qualifying. On his second try, only a small mistake toward the end of his lap prevented him from making the front row, for the first time since the 2015 Catalan GP.

Dani was also improving upon his seventh-fastest time in the final minutes of the session but ultimately lost a little in the last sector and barely missed out on a second-row start.

Marc Marquez

4th 1'46.759

“I’m happy with how the day went. This morning I felt very comfortable, but in the second free-practice session of the day, the temperature rose and the setup we had didn’t work the same. It’s something that has already happened to us at other circuits this season, because our bike is quite sensitive to changes in temperature or the condition of the asphalt. We reacted in time and in the qualifying session we changed the setup, which worked out better. It’s a shame that on the last lap I made a mistake when I was improving my time, so tomorrow I’ll try to have a very good race in order to finish on the podium. It won’t be easy.”

Dani Pedrosa

7th 1'47.218

“We were able to improve the result compared to Le Mans, which is important and was our goal for qualifying today. We need to carry this over into the race; tomorrow it will be important to start well and be strong in the early laps. We’ll try to move up some positions and maintain a good pace. I hope to make the most of the position we achieved today as I believe my race pace should be not too bad.”


The demanding ups and downs of Mugello led to some extremely close MotoGP practice sessions, with narrow gaps and very tight rankings. In FP4, the last free practice session before qualifying, no less than 12 riders were packed into a one second gap and as many as 17 were less than one and a half seconds from the leader.

Bautista and Bradl improved their times with respect to yesterday, Alvaro by almost a second and Stefan by more than ten tenths. This is an indicator that the work being done in the garage is moving in the right direction, despite the fact that the testing done on the two Aprilia RS-GP machines had them putting in a lot of laps on used tyres to gauge race pace.

In qualifying the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider set their sights on maximum speed on the flying lap and the tight rankings placed them in nineteenth (Bautista with 1’48,372) and twentieth place (Bradl with 1’48,646) on the starting grid. And so the battle for a finish in the points will have to wait for the 23 laps of tomorrow's race, where the two will start side by side from the seventh row.


“With the new engine we improved a bit even in acceleration and in general today I had a better feeling than yesterday. We also worked on the chassis and since this morning we have taken a step forward. Then we worked a lot with the used tyre with the race in mind and our pace is not bad. In qualifying we struggled a bit, partly because of the heat that penalises me a bit, but more than anything, on this track power is quite important and that doesn't yet help us. On the corners and in the braking sections we have made good progress, but we obviously need to improve and the race tomorrow will be an important chance to continue doing that, as we have been since the season start”.


“It's a shame because we were not able to improve as much as we had hoped. Unfortunately, we are struggling in the direction changes and if we try to improve in that area we lose stability. So it is a rather delicate compromise that, even with the many tests we did today, we were unable to get quite right. We will continue to analyse the data, testing a few other things in the warm up. We are obviously disappointed but we won't give up until the chequered flag comes out tomorrow”.

Fantastic Saturday at Mugello thanks to double Top 10 finish of Petrux (9th) and Scott (10th)

It was a spectacular Saturday at the Mugello circuit. The Qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix gave many emotions to MotoGp fans and the two Octo Pramac Yakhnich riders contributed to make this day extraordinary thanks to a precious double Top 10 finish.

Danilo Petrucci wanted to dispel his taboo of direct qualification to Q2 and succeeded by setting a fantastic sixth time in FP3. In the qualifying for the pole position the rider from Terni managed to finish in ninth position just 75 milliseconds from the second row.

The lap-time of 1'47.261 gives to Petrux the third row in the starting grid of the Gran Premio d’Italia.

Scott Redding had a really exciting day too. After failing to qualify directly to Q2, Scott lapped very fast in FP4 (fifth time) and then he won a stellar Q1 as he notched up a fantastic lap-time (1'46.886, virtual sixth place on the grid). In Q2 Scott tried to do the maximum with the only one soft front tyre left ending up tenth with a time of 1'47.359

10th - Scott Redding


I think we could do a bit better, but I had only one soft front tyre in Q2. With the hard tyre I struggled a bit in changing direction, especially in the fast corners. I am very happy especially after a bad FP3. I did very well in Q1 with a great lap-time. And then the race pace was really good and constant. In the afternoon we had also worked with the maps and I have to say that things have gone well. My worst day of the weekend is Saturday usually and this time things went well. I am satisfied and I thank the team for the work they have done. We have great confidence for tomorrow.

9th - Danilo Petrucci


We made the third row and at first we almost have not celebrated because the expectations were really high for our home race. Of course I'm happy for this result and for the work we did. I recorded my best crono at Mugello and this is a great satisfaction. It is just my second race, I miss kilometers while the others are already in a good shape. That’s why I’m a bit worried about my physical condition for tomorrow. I hope to do well and perhaps the first few laps will be able to help myself as I know pretty well this track.

Miller aiming for points at sunny and warm Mugello

Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda rider Jack Miller has qualified 17th for Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at a sunny and warm Mugello Circuit.

Australian Miller will be the sole starter for the team in the 23-lap race at the iconic 5.2km Tuscan circuit near Florence.

While Miller lines up on sixth row of the grid his Spanish teammate Tito Rabat will be an unwilling spectator.

Rabat fractured his left collarbone when he crashed his Honda RC213V at Biondetti 1 (Turn 13) on the out lap of Saturday morning's FP3 session.

He was transferred to the local Borgo San Lorenzo hospital for X-rays as doctors assess his condition and treatment. Rabat will miss this event to concentrate on being fit for the Catalunya GP, his home race.

Miller has made a positive step forward since Friday's FP2 session and his impressive qualifying lap was 1.8s faster than his previous best. He is feeling much more comfortable in the fast, sweeping sections after suffer rear grip issues on Friday.

Sunday's race is the sixth round of the MotoGP world championship.

Jack Miller: 17th - 1'.47.830

"I feel a lot more comfortable on the bike than yesterday and we have been concentrating on getting more laps rather than changing the set-up too much. We improved the rear grip and my race pace is pretty good but it is going to be a long and hot race tomorrow. My plan is to have a strong race and bring home some points after not finishing in Le Mans last week."

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

"I was very happy with Jack today, he made a lot of laps getting more comfortable on the bike. He has a solid race pace so from 17th he should be able to challenge to finish with some nice points in the race. It is unfortunate for Tito who crashed at a fast section of the circuit and we are not sure of his medical situation at the moment, the doctors are still assessing if he will need surgery on his collarbone to be ready for his home GP in Barcelona."

Fifth row start for Hector Barbera at the Italian Grand Prix

Avintia Racing rider, Hector Barbera, will start the Italian Grand Prix tomorrow from the fifth row of the grid after setting the 15th fastest lap in the qualifying practice today at Mugello. The Spaniard was quite fast in FP3, improving 1.2s his best lap time from yesterday. Then he pushed even harder to cut 0.5s in Q1, but it was not enough to get into Q2. Even so, Barbera is confident on his race pace and he hopes to get his sixth top ten finish of the season.

Loris Baz still fighting with the chattering issues that he’s carrying from Le Mans and, although this morning he improved massive 2.3s his best lap from yesterday, the vibrations appeared once again during Q1. Avintia Racing French rider will start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid, and he will try some radical changes on his Ducati set up during the warm up, looking forward to improve his race pace.

Hector Barbera - 1'47.555 - P15

“It’s being a difficult weekend so far, more than we expected in a track that I love. But if we consider that yesterday we did not too much laps due to technical issues, we really started to do more laps today and the result was not so bad. The positive point is that we have found a set up that should work tomorrow, so we still ambitious ahead the race. The lap times are incredibly tight and we’ll keep working in the warm up tomorrow trying to refine the set up. The race will be long, the bike is ready, we have the pace and I think that if we do our job, we should be able to fight for a good result.”

Loris Baz - 1'48.991 - P21

“We are in a very difficult moment because we have the same problems every time and we are not able to find the way to find a solution. This morning we were much faster than yesterday and we thought that finally we found the right direction, but at the end of the day, the chattering still there. The vibrations are so strong that every time I push, I see myself crashing at every turn. To be honest we don’t know what we can do, because from Le Mans we tried many things and the problem remains. We have some ideas to test tomorrow during the warm up; we’ll try a radical change on the bike and I hope that it works.”

Hernández optimistic ahead of Mugello race

Saturday, 21 May 2016 14:49

Colombian goes directly into Q2 and takes tweltfh on the grid, while Eugene Laverty will start from eighteenth

The Italian Grand Prix could see nearly 100,000 spectators on raceday, with a local hero on pole position in MotoGP. Valentino Rossi took pole number 63 of his career -his first at Mugello since 2008. He used a tow from Maverick Viñales to set a time of 1.46.504, 15 thousandths of a second off the best lap ever at the track. Beside him on the front row will Vinales, who was just 94 thousandths behind the Italian. Andrea Iannone, meanwhile, will start from third. Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, two of the riders fighting for the title with Rossi, will begin from the second row of the grid. Tomorrow there will be only 21 riders starting the Italian GP, as Tito Rabat will sit out the race with a broken collarbone after crashing in FP3.

Aspar Team rider Yonny Hernández earned a place in Q2 for the first time this season. The Colombian put in a 1.47.327 hot lap, which left him fourth in the combined timesheet for the free practice sessions and the second fastest Ducati rider. Mugello is a favourable track for Hernández, and after yesterday taking first position in the the morning practice, today he continued his good run with twelfth place on the grid for tomorrow. The Italian Grand Prix began with a crash for Eugene Laverty on Friday, which complicated the Northern Irishman’s work at Mugello. Laverty focused on finding a good race pace on Saturday, and will need to fight his way up through the field on Sunday; he will start from the sixth row and seek to maintain the positive points-scoring run of recent Grands Prix.

12th Yonny Hernández 1.47.436: “I am very happy, because this morning we found the pace to enter directly into Q2. I think we've done a good job during the weekend so far, and we have a competitive bike. I'm proud of the team because they have worked hard all season for good results to arrive. In addition, I know I have a good pace for the race, so we'll work hard to get a great result and try to fight with the Top 10 in order to score the maximum points possible.”

18th Eugene Laverty 1.48.111:“In Free Practice today we found the direction we wanted to go in for this race after yesterday's crash. I set a good time in Q1 and I think we are on the right track now. The top speed of my Ducati is good -we are among the best in that regard- but that is only important on the straight. We have some grip problems with the rear and I think that that is resolved, everything will be better. I believe that the majority tomorrow will go for the hard front tyre and the softer rear. My goal is to keep picking up points, but I don’t know about what position I can finish this year; it is difficult to predict because lately there have been so many crashes.”

Confident Smith clinches top satellite position in Mugello qualifying

Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Bradley Smith will begin his challenge to score a strong result in Italy from the middle of the third row of the grid after a thorough effort in the highly competitive qualifying session today. The 25-year-old delivered a strong performance in the morning and posted a lap time that was almost 1.7 seconds quicker than his best from yesterday, which saw him seal 7th in FP3. This allowed him to instantly progress through to QP2 and here, he immediately launched into gear. The young Briton eventually posted a personal best on his last lap, which saw him claim the top satellite position and his time was just half a second from the head of the second row. Tomorrow he will aim to repeat his performance of 5th from last year and finish as close as possible to the factory MotoGP riders.

Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro gave his all today at Mugello but suffered bad luck after falling in Q1 and will start tomorrow's round six battle from the fifth row. The young Spaniard got straight to work as soon as FP3 began, yet, he unfortunately fell half way through the session. Espargaro determinedly remounted, however, despite his best efforts on his second bike, he could not reach the top ten and therefore had to contest in QP1. Here, he shot to a highly impressive time of 1'47.159 only five minutes into the session, which was his quickest lap of the weekend. The 25-year-old embarked on cutting his time further but whilst running a pace that was 0.4 of a second quicker than before, he fell at turn 10. His top time from Q1 would have placed him sixth in the second qualifying shootout but nevertheless, he remains fully determined about powering to a solid finish in tomorrow's GP.

Bradley Smith

8th / 1'47.247 / 9 laps

"I am really pleased to clinch the top independent position today and we're on for a good race tomorrow if we keep our heads down. We certainly took advantage of the situation even though it was very competitive because some of the top riders ended up in QP1 and didn't get out of it. Therefore, I'm happy that we got through to qualifying two via a good performance in FP3. I have to be satisfied with the end result because so far in 2016, it's been challenging in both the qualifying and in the race. Yet, in Le Mans I feel that the team and I improved quite a lot but unfortunately I made a mistake in the race there. However, we've learnt from our mistakes and it worked here. We played around with tyres a bit too much in FP4 so initially in QP2 I wasn't as quick as I should have been, but we made the right choice for the final run. There are plenty of positives but I want to be in the top independent position in 24 hours time. We know that tomorrow will be hot and as I was able to test all of the tyres today, I have quite a clear plan about which compound to use. There are still a few small refinements to make, but the plan for the race is to get a good start and then try to remain with the factory guys for as long as possible, and then we will see what happens at the end of the GP."

Pol Espargaro

14th / 1'47.159 / 4 laps

"It has been quite a tricky day for us and although we couldn't reap the rewards of our labour, I remain upbeat for tomorrow's race. This morning I was experimenting with the three different front compounds and with one particular tyre, I didn't feel too comfortable and I ended up falling. During the free practice we were trying a different tyre and for some reason, it was sliding a lot. However, we found out during qualifying, when we used the same compound, that this tyre was a single case as the other one worked really well. With this, the bike was back to it's normal behaviour and I felt comfortable again. Regarding the result, this may sound strange, but even though we didn't pass through to QP2, I am pleased because our performance was strong and our race pace is solid. The crash in qualifying one was completely my fault and there are no excuses, but at least I had the pace. Of course, we can't change the situation now, but to know that I would have been on the second row with my time from QP1 fills me with confidence for tomorrow's race."


The LCR Honda racer Cal Crutchlow looked closer to the rider who scored a podium at this track in previous seasons (Cal ended 3rd in 2103) throughout the Italian GP second day of free practices. Unfortunately, during his fastest lap time in Q1, the Briton slipped losing the chance to improve and step into the Q1.

Slight modifications to his Custom branded factory spec RC213V during the morning practice had seen the British rider consistently amongst the front group, but with a lot of traffic to contend with he was unable to secure a safe passage through to the qualifying final. Despite today’s setback (16th on the grid), Crutchlow is confident of fighting back during the 23-lap race to bring a positive result for his team’s home event.

#35 Cal Crutchlow – 16th (1’47.659)

“Obviously I’m disappointed with today’s qualifying session, because the weekend so far had been going quite well and I’ve been happy with the progress we have made with the Honda as a team. We tried something different with the bike this morning and I felt comfortable, but the real shame was not going directly through to Q2.”

“The lap I crashed on was my best so far, and probably would have put me through to the shootout, but it is the same as every week – I’m having to push the front of my bike far too much in the braking zone, and the tyre didn’t hold it. We have some ideas about what we can do tomorrow, and hopefully we can still have a good race.”

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