MotoGP Preview: Gran Premio D'Italia
Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Alessandra Erazo
Grand Prix motorcycle racing (MotoGP) is back on Italian soil for the first time this year and it's at the magical Mugello Circuit (Autodromo Internazionale Del Mugello if you're cool, or Italian). Nestled in the Tuscan hills, the birthplace of Italian renaissance, the Mugello Circuit will have a different kind of art this weekend. Also characterising the circuit is the famed one kilometre start/finish straight.
A fast flowing embodiment of history, the Mugello Circuit is one of the longest tracks on the calendar at 5.1 kilometres. Its unusual length is a product of the fact that since its debut nearly 40 years ago it's had very little change. 15 turns characterize the circuit and the main character they give it is put simply, fast.
Most of the corners on the track, even the chicanes are taken at high speed, with the sharper curves having wide lines allowing for more speed and multiple lines for the riders. Also allowing for more speed will be the one kilometre long front straight at the end of which north of 320km/h is customary.
This week's Italian Grand Prix will also be the first time in nearly three decades that the legendary Valentino Rossi will not participate. However, the Italian public are in no short supply of heroes.
After a short hiatus from the top step of the podium, Enea Bastianini was back in France to claim his third win of the season. The only repeated winner of the season seemingly stalled in his title charge but after storming through the field in Le Mans, "The Beast" reaffirmed his intent to become champion. With that win, Enea cut his deficit to just eight points and is right back in it.
Whilst it was thrill for The Beast it was agony for one Francesco Bagnaia. Pecco crashed out of second place in France in what had turned into a race of attrition turning a pole position and possible podium place into a none score. Mugello will be a homecoming for the Italian rider on an Italian bike and if he is to launch a late title challenge, a great result in Tuscany hinges on it.
It was not a dream weekend for Fabio Quartararo in France. Despite what some would call a decent result all of the defending world champion's immediate title challengers finished ahead of him at his home race. The Frenchman however does still maintain a title lead of four points over the Aprilia of Aleix Espargaró but it's a lead that took a hit at his home race. "El Diablo" will be looking to repay the favour going into Italy.
Whilst it wasn't a dream for Quartararo, it has definitely been a nightmare season for Jorge Martin. After a very promising rookie campaign "The Martinator's" sophomore year has failed to deliver on what was expected of him. With seven rounds gone, the Spaniard has only scored twice and retired from four of those seven races. The good news for Martin however is that there's still 13 races to go and being no stranger to comebacks it is well within the realms of possibility that the Spaniard can turn his year around.
The Italian Grand Prix will also be a memorable occasion for one not on the grid. Valentino Rossi's iconic number 46 is set to be retired from competition in the MotoGP class, a signification of the widely accepted truth that there will never be another like The Doctor.