Wednesday 12th & Thursday 13th December: Tracks closed. The rain up here in the hills keeps coming.

Mugello Preview

MotoGP 2013

maddix park mx

www.motorcycle-usa.com By Byron Wilson 

The 2013 MotoGP World Championship heads to Italy for Round 5 at Mugello with Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez holding first and second, respectively, in the points standings. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo, on the other hand, is off the championship-winning pace he set in 2012, leaving the previous round at Le Mans with a seventh-place finish. His teammate, Valentino Rossi, continues to struggle for a spot among the front-runners while satellite rider Cal Crutchlow of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 will look to maintain the momentum he picked up in France, where outpaced all but one of the full factory-backed bikes with an impressive podium finish.

Pedrosa opened the current season stronger than any other in his career and enjoys a six-point advantage over his teammate, Marquez. His last victory at Mugello came in 2010, where he beat out Lorenzo by over four seconds. 

“After the race in Le Mans, I've managed to relax this week and I feel good physically,” said Pedrosa. “ I am leading the Championship which is very special so I hope we can arrive in Mugello and that the bike works well there too and we can do a good race.”

Rookie Marquez has exceeded expectations, taking podiums in every race of his young premier-class career, including a Round 2 win at CoTA. The GP rookie staged a remarkable come-from-behind performance in his first wet race aboard the 1000cc machine at Le Mans, where he moved up from eighth to finish third. The Spaniard took fifth in Moto 2 at Mugello in 2012 but scored the win at the circuit in 2011.

Lorenzo enters the Italian round 17 points adrift of the leader. His seventh-place finish at Le Mans is an outlier in comparison to the majority of his GP races, and after the contest he cited bike issues and lack of grip as the primary reasons for his uncharacteristic performance. He’s also had to face an increasingly strong Repsol Honda duo that has bested him in three of the four rounds of 2013. Lorenzo beat Pedrosa at Mugello in 2012 and will look to replicate that performance in the coming race to avoid slipping down the points tally any further.

Rossi, too, will look for a change in fortune at the Italian circuit. The Doctor seemed to be back in business in the first round of 2013 at Losail, where he placed second, but has since failed to stand on the rostrum. The wet conditions and heavy pressure from the field got the best of Rossi at Le Mans, causing him to push a bit too hard late in the race and lose traction. He remounted after his fall but finished outside the top-10. Prior to his incident, though, Rossi was battling for podium position. He’ll have plenty of home crowd support at Mugello.

Crutchlow is looking more and more likely to complicate battles in the lead pack, especially after his career-best second-place finish at Le Mans. The British rider sits fourth overall, 11 points behind Lorenzo. His teammate and GP rookie, Bradley Smith, has improved with every round, finally breaking the top-10 at Le Mans.

Andrea Dovizioso provided a rare sight at Le Mans, the Ducati leading the race for a number of laps in the first half of competition. He made the front row in qualifying and ended the race in fourth, marking Ducati’s best race weekend of the current season so far. His teammate, Nicky Hayden, was also strong in the contest, finishing fifth. The two will be joined once again by wildcard rider, Michele Pirro, and the three will have loads of home-town support as Mugello serves as the Italian marque’s home race.

GO & FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista continues to seek the edge that will help him break the top-five for the first time in 2013. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl has been the victim of bad luck through the opening rounds, failing to finish two races and falling in the wet at Le Mans while running inside the top-10.

Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone is expected to be joined by teammate, Ben Spies, of Ignite Pramac Racing at Mugello. Spies stayed in Texas following Round 2 at CoTA to undergo extended rehabilitation following his shoulder surgery and to address issues with his pectoral muscle.

Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro leads the CRT championship and came through as the fastest Claiming Rules rider at Le Mans with his 13th-place result. His teammate, Randy de Puniet, didn’t make any headlines after crashing out at Le Mans, but immediately following the round he jetted off to Japan to test a 1000cc prototype with Suzuki at Twin Ring Motegi. Additional sessions are planned for later this season.

 
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