TIM Grand Prix of Italy 2014

Posted on May 27, 2014 by Nick Harris


Bradley Smith and Scott Redding return to the scene of former grand prix victories when they compete in the TIM Grand Prix of Italy in Mugello on Sunday. Last year Gloucestershire based Redding won the Moto2™ race at the superb 3.259 mile circuit situated in the Tuscan hills above the city of Florence. Five years ago Smith won the 125cc race and both riders finished runners-up in their respective world championships the year of their Mugello successes.

Both return in the MotoGP™ class on Sunday where they are joined by Isle of Man based Midlander Cal Crutchlow on the Ducati and Ulsterman Michael Laverty on the Paul Bird Motorsport machine. Andorra-based Oxfordshire rider Smith has complained of lack of grip on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha for the last couple of racers. He hopes to find the solution this weekend and lies ninth in the championship table but only five points behind Stefan Bradl in sixth place. Redding in his maiden MotoGP season has made steady progress on the GO&FUN open class Honda including 12th place at the previous round in Le Mans.

It’s been a tough Ducati debut season for Crutchlow with injuries and brake problems slowing his progress. He’ll be looking for a big improvement this weekend at the circuit which is the Ducati test track. Laverty is fed up with finishing 16th and aims to go at least one place higher to score his first points of the season.

World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes has made an impressive debut in Moto2 which includes a deserved ninth place in Le Mans. Once again it will be a new circuit to learn for the Speed Up rider as he looks to improve on his 12th place in the championship. Londoner Gino Rea is getting closer to the points each week and finished 19th on the AGT Rea Racing Suter.

Nineteen year old Scotsman John McPhee had a great ride in the Moto3™ race in Le Mans. Despite finishing eighth on the SaxoPrint – RTG Honda he was only just over one second behind race winner Jack Miller in a fantastic race. He returns to Mugello brimming with confidence where Wiltshire’s Danny Kent will be looking to improve on his tenth place in the championship riding the Red Bull Husqvarna.

Bradley Smith:
“After the disappointment of Jerez and Le Mans I know that my guys will come with something different and I’m excited to get to Mugello and try it out. It’s very undulating and so sorting out that weight balance on the bike is crucial. Look at Jorge Lorenzo’s three victories there over the last three years and we know Valentino will be very fast. It will be great to have access to their data and with Valentino making his 300th grand prix appearance in front of the home fans the plan must be to chase him as hard as I can.”

Rossi’s home rule challenges
Marquez Nine times World Champion Valentino Rossi looks to his home grand prix at Mugello on Sunday to inflict the first defeat of the season on the runaway MotoGP Championship leader Marc Marquez. The 35 year old Movistar Yamaha rider celebrates his 300th appearance at the TIM Grand Prix of Italy at the magnificent 3.259 miles Mugello circuit where he won seven consecutive MotoGP races between 2002 and 2008. Rossi has finished second to Marquez at the last two grands prix but the main threat to the Repsol Honda rider could come from Rossi’s team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. He has won at Mugello for the last three years and despite his disappointing start to the season could be a major threat in the 23 lap race on Sunday.

Twenty one year old Marquez marches on towards retaining the world championship by totally dominating the opening five rounds from pole position to build up a mighty impressive 42 point lead over his team-mate Dani Pedrosa who in 2010 was the last rider to beat Lorenzo at the circuit situated high in the hills above the city of  Florenence. Rossi is just one point behind Pedrosa in the championship. Last year Mugello was the only race where Marquez failed to cross the finishing line in the 2013 18 round season after a crash in the race won by Lorenzo.

Andrea Dovizioso will also receive massive support from the patriotic crowd riding the Ducati after an encouraging start to his campaign. Mugello is the Ducati test track and Dovizioso will be looking to at least lead the charge behind the factory foursome. Giving him a hard time as always will be Stefan Bradl on the LCR Honda, Alvaro Bautista who secured his first podium finish of the season in Le Mans riding the GO&FUN Gresini Honda, the Monster Tech Yamaha duo of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro and his older brother Aleix riding the NGM Forward Racing Yamaha. Italian Andrea Iannone has crashed out of the last two grands prix after such a promising start on the Pramac Ducati while on the factory Ducati Cal Crutchlow will look to his third place last year to kick-start his first season with the Italian team.

Valentino Rossi – 300 not out
Thirty five year old Valentino Rossi will celebrate his 300th grand prix appearance with his adoring Italian fans in Mugello on Sunday. The Italian nine times World Champion has re-written the history books since making his grand prix debut in the 1996 Malaysian 125 cc Grand Prix.

The Rossi years and statistics:
300 Grand Prix starts – 30/125 cc, 30/250 cc, 239 500/MotoGP
World titles – Nine – one 125 cc, one 250 cc, seven MotoGP
Wins – 12 125cc, 14 250 cc, 80 MotoGP
Podiums – 15 125 cc, 21 250 cc, 150 MotoGP
Poles – 15 125 cc, five 250 cc, 49 MotoGP
Fastest laps – Nine 125 cc, 11 250cc, 68 MotoGP
First win - 125cc Malaysia 1996Last win - MotoGP Holland 2013

Valentino Rossi:
"I am in a situation in which, for sure I want to win, but it is not a big problem for me.  I come from a situation last year (and especially two and three years ago) when my results were a lot worse, so I am so happy about my work.You know…Marquez is clearly in another league. I understood that already last year and I said, ‘F***!’ It’s difficult; I should have met him and fought with him when I was 22! Anyway, it is good motivation because the level is so high and if you want to beat him you have to give it more than 100%. And I will on Sunday at Mugello.”

Facts and Figures
Circuit Length: 5.245kms/3.259miles
Width: 14m
Pole Position: Right
Longest Straight: 709m
Left Corners: Six
Right Corners: Nine
Pole Position Record Dani Pedrosa/Honda 1.47.157 (2013)
Lap Record: Marc Marquez/Honda 1'47.639 (2013)

Television Times
BT Sport Schedule (unless stated this will be on BT Sport 2)
8.00am – Grand Prix of Italy – FP1 - LIVE

12.00pm - Grand Prix of Italy – FP2 LIVE

8.00am - Grand Prix of Italy – Free Practice/ Qualifying LIVE

SUNDAY 1st June
9.30am - Grand Prix of Italy - Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP Races LIVE

TUESDAY 3rd June
8.00pm - MotoGP Tonight: Episode 5 (BT Sport 1)

ITV 4 Schedule
Monday 2nd June
10.00PM - MotoGP Highlights Programme

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