TIM Grand Prix of Italy 2015

Posted on May 25, 2015 by MotoGP™


The battle of the Brits is hotting up with the MotoGP™ stars arriving at the magnificent Mugello circuit for the TIM Grand Prix of Italy on Sunday. After five hectic rounds, Isle of Man – based midlander Cal Crutchlow is the leading British rider by a single point from Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith and it promises to be close in the 23 lap race on Sunday.

Crutchlow crashed from the CWM LCR Honda in the last round at Le Mans while Smith finished a battling sixth on the Monster Tech3 Yamaha. Two years ago Crutchlow finished a superb third at the 3.259 miles Mugello track riding for Smith’s current team, while Smith won the 2009 125cc race and finished third in the Moto2™ race two years later.

Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding also crashed in Le Mans but the Estrella Galicia Marc VDS rider returns to the track where he won the Moto2 race two years ago. Eugene Laverty looks to continue his current form after picking up his first ever MotoGP points, finishing 14th in Le Mans riding the Open Class Aspar Honda.

Last year Lincolnshire’s Sam Lowes finished eighth on his Mugello debut riding the Italian Speed Up Moto2 machine. He returns in great form having already secured one win and a pole position. This sees him fourth in the Championship, just three points behind third placed Jonas Folger.

Twenty-one year old Wiltshire rider Danny Kent is dominating the Moto3™ Championship on the Leopard Racing Honda. Despite having to start in 31st place on the grid in Le Mans because of wet qualifying, he finished fourth in the race. This came after three successive grand prix wins that has built a mighty impressive 37 point lead after five rounds. Twenty year old Scotsman John McPhee is having a tough time at the moment and a good points scoring ride is just what he needs on the Racing Steps Foundation RTR Honda.

Mugello madness with Rossi and Ducati
Without a doubt the craziest place to be this weekend will at Mugello when it hosts the TIM Grand Prix of Italy. MotoGP™ Championship leader Valentino Rossi plus the re-vitalised Ducati team return to this magnificent 3.259 miles circuit high in the Tuscan hills above the magnificent City of Florence to do battle in front of the hillsides packed with passionate patriotic fans.

Thirty-six year old Rossi arrives not only leading the world championship but also with an incredible record at Mugello. The Movistar Yamaha rider has won nine times, including seven successive MotoGP wins which ended in 2008. Rossi holds a 15 point lead in the Championship after five rounds from his team-mate and man in form Jorge Lorenzo, who had his second successive victory at the previous round in France.

Just over two weeks ago Ducati had a private two days test at Mugello and return with vital set-up information after a fantastic start to the season with the new GP 15 machine. Four podium finishes in those first five races puts Andrea Dovizioso in third place just four points behind Lorenzo with his team-mate Andrea Iannone fifth just eight points behind world champion and last year’s winner Marc Marquez in fourth place. The pair fought a ferocious battle in Le Mans for fourth and Iannone should be fitter this time after dislocating his shoulder in a testing crash before Le Mans. Dani Pedrosa, Marquez’s Repsol Honda team-mate, successfully completed the Le Mans race despite an early crash to complete only his second grand prix of the season following an arm pump operation.

The British pair of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith are separated by a single point in their fight for sixth while the Espargaro brothers arrive after separate operations following Le Mans. Younger brother Pol, who is team-mate to Bradley Smith at Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, went under the knife to alleviate arm pump problems. Aleix who crashed heavily from the Ecstar Suzuki in Le Mans practice had an operation to mend a badly damaged hand.

Fresh from his third place at his home grand prix Frenchman Johann Zarco has opened up an impressive 21 point lead in the Moto2™ World Championship. He was seventh at Mugello last year, in the race won by world champion Tito Rabat who has a lot of catching up to do. Despite podiums at the last two races he trails Zarco by 36 points with former 125cc World Champion Tom Luthi moving into second place after an impressive Le Mans win. German Jonas Folger has won twice this year but slipped to third after crashing in France. Twenty-one year old Italian Franco Morbidelli could be the dark horse in the 21 lap race, with top six finishes in every race this year.

Twenty-one year old British star Danny Kent continues to dominate the Moto3™ Championship. The Leopard Racing Honda rider chases his fourth win of the season to increase that 37 point lead but the Italian youngsters fuelled by the crowd will be at him from the start. Heading the charge will be Roman Fenati riding the Sky VR46 KTM.  He won the race last year and won the previous round in France although he’s still a massive 53 points behind Kent in fifth place. Enea Bastianini chases that first win but moved into second place in the Championship after finishing second at Le Mans on the Gresini Honda, with another Italian Francesco Bagnaia third on the Mapfre Mahindra.

The Mugello Missive
This is the 30th occasion that a GP has been held at the Mugello circuit, including twenty five times in the consecutive years starting with 1991. Below are some facts and stats about grand prix racing at Mugello:

• The first time that Mugello hosted a grand prix event was in 1976. The 500cc race was won by Barry Sheene by the narrow margin of 0.1 sec from Phil Read, in a race lasting over 62 minutes. This was at a time when Suzuki riders dominated the premier-class; the first non-Suzuki rider home was Waerum Borge Nielsen in tenth place riding a Yamaha.

• The layout of the Mugello circuit has remained basically the same since 1976 with the official track length of 5.245km remaining unchanged.

• Yamaha have been the most successful manufacturer in the four-stroke MotoGP era at Mugello with a total of eight wins; five successive victories with Valentino Rossi in the years 2004 through to 2008, in addition to the wins with Lorenzo in 2011, 2012 & 2013.

• The win by Marc Marquez last year was the fourth for Honda in the MotoGP class at Mugello, and the first since 2010.

• Ducati’s single win at Mugello was with Stoner in 2009, which is the last time that a Ducati rider has finished on the podium at the circuit.

• The best results for Suzuki in the MotoGP era is 5th, which was achieved by John Hopkins in 2007 and Loris Capirossi in 2009.

• Honda riders have taken pole at Mugello for the last five years. The last non-Honda pole was Jorge Lorenzo in 2009 on a Yamaha.

• Ducati riders have twice started from pole at Mugello; Sete Gibernau in 2006 and Casey Stoner in 2007.

• Valentino Rossi is the most successful rider across all the classes at Mugello, with a total of nine victories; one each in 125cc and 250cc classes to add to his seven successive MotoGP wins, the last of which came in 2008.

• In the MotoGP era the only Italian to start from pole in the premier-class is Valentino Rossi, who has done so on four occasions; 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2008.  Rossi also started from pole for the final 500cc GP race to be held at Mugello in 2001.

• Loris Capirossi is the only Italian rider other than Rossi to win in the premier-class at Mugello, the 500cc race in 2000 after a race long battle with his countrymen Biaggi and Rossi, both of whom crashed in the closing stages.

• The MotoGP race at Mugello in 2004 is the shortest ever premier-class grand prix race. The race lasted just six laps, after the first attempt to run the race was stopped due to rain and then restarted for the remaining laps under the rain rules as they stood at that time.

• Italy, The Netherlands and Great Britain are the only three countries that have hosted a motorcycle grand prix event in each year since the motorcycling world championship series started in 1949.

Television Times
BT Sport2
Friday May 29  8.00am – 3.30 pm (practise)
Saturday May 30  8.00am – 3.30pm (practice and qualifying)
Sunday May 31  7.30am – 9.15am (warm –up)  9.30am – 3.00pm (race)

ITV 4 Highlights
Monday June 1  8.00 - 9.00pm

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