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MotoGP Preview: Italian Grand Prix

Written by Andrew Lwanga, Edited by Debargha Banerjee

After a month of inactivity in spring, MotoGP returns to action in the heat of summer for the Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio D’italia). A historical event at one of the most storied race tracks in the world, the famed Autodromo Internazionale Del Mugello.

The 5.1 Km (3.16 mile) long circuit owes its elevation changes to the Tuscan hills upon which it lays. Fifteen corners bend the track before it arrives at its most iconic part, the start/finish straight stretching over a kilometre.

The 2023 iteration of the Italian Grand Prix, similar to every other race in this season, will have two Italian riders at the head of the standings. Defending champion Francesco Bagnaia heads the field with 94 points, just one ahead of Ducati and VR46 stablemate Marco Bezzechi who has been the greatest benefitter of his rival's misfortunes.

Credit - Alessio Marini/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The defending champion enters his home race in conflicting form having stood at the top step of the podium in every race he has finished. Two DNFs in Texas and France and a non-score in Argentina have all cost Bagnaia valuable points and have kept the competition that much closer.

The competition comes in the shape of sophomores Marco Bezzechi and Brad Binder. Removed from the inexperience of his rookie campaign, Bezzechi in the early part of the season has morphed into a bona fide contender. Taking three podiums, two of them being wins. Bezzechi has shown his metal on the VR46 Ducati. Just over a dozen points behind the pair of Italians is KTM's Brad Binder. The South African "Sunday man" has snatched a podium in the early part of the season with his sprint race heroics keeping him within arms reach of the championship leaders.

Credit: Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images

The Italian Grand Prix will also be a literal homecoming to Italy and Grand Prix racing for Enea Bastianini. Having made the jump to the factory squad for the 2023 season much was expected from "The Beast" however, due to a shoulder injury suffered at the opening weekend, Bastianini has been unable to showcase his capabilities on factory machinery.

The Italian Grand Prix is set to be the first race since the opening weekend to feature the original class of 2023 without stand-ins or substitutes and may seem to be just another step in the marathon that is the 2023 MotoGP calendar being a leap that some may need.


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