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MotoGP, Di Giannantonio: "Rossi on the grid? When the boss is there you have to make a good impression"

"Starting from behind was an opportunity to show that we are the real thing." Bezzecchi: "it will be difficult to fight for the podium. Marquez on the GP23? He is strong on corner entry and left turns."

MotoGP: Di Giannantonio:

Saturday at Mugello got off to a complicated start for the two VR46 team riders. Both excluded from Q2, they faced an uphill race on every Italian rider's favorite circuit. Fabio and Marco, respectively 14th and 16th on the grid, thus had to scramble right from the very first laps to impose themselves in the group. Di Giannantonio was luckier at the start and showed good pace, but in the short race he had to struggle to finish 7th.

"It was a shame today in qualifying - explains Fabio Di Giannantonio - On my good lap I caught a yellow flag while I was in line with Pecco's times and it would have given me access to Q2. Starting so far behind it was a problem, but I had a very good first lap, I was sliding a little bit everywhere. I actually had a better pace than the group I was in, in front of me I had Binder and Vinales but I couldn't pass them because of too high a front tire temperature. Tomorrow it would be optimal to be able to get free right away and put yourself in the first positions, when you have a good pace it also comes easier to manage the tires. So the goal tomorrow is to get a good start and work from there."

Has qualifying become a watershed in MotoGP?
"Yes, you have to be perfect right from Friday which is the biggest difficulty but also the beauty of this format. It's like that for everyone."

Did the front end problems then make a difference?
"I think that will be the main issue tonight for the engineers to try to improve the situation ahead of tomorrow's race. The start was good though, I had a great braking and then it was a bit of paint swapping here and there, a very good first lap."

Was this Sprint here at Mugello a dress rehearsal ahead of tomorrow?
"Racing here is great, it's nice to see the passion of the fans, also the many people who follow us, the new fans. It gives you crazy energy as does racing on this track."

How much does it help mentally to know you have the bike in hand compared to last year?
"Today we were starting behind and it was an opportunity for us to show that we are like the real thing. We made a good comeback but I would have liked to make a few more overtakes. Maybe tomorrow with more laps we can make an even better comeback, like the real ones!"

There was also Valentino Rossi on the grid.
"Vale is always an incredible help, he is a crazy stimulus. Then when the boss is there you always have to try to make a good impression!" joked Fabio.

Bezzecchi: "Marquez on the GP23? He makes a difference in corner entry."

Marco Bezzecchi, who has been struggling with his GP23 since the beginning of the year, after a great start risked a contact with Alex Rins and finished the Sprint in 11th. The Ducatis, however, have an advantage at Mugello, the long distance race could change the outcome, and the uncertain weather will also be an unknown on Sunday at Mugello.

"Qualifying was difficult, I still struggled with the new tires compared to the used tires ," says Marco Bezzecchi, "but the sprint was quite positive. I had a great start, but Rins pulled away early and I risked contact, so unfortunately I lost all the positions I had gained. The pace though wasn't bad considering I had to move up the leaderboard and I also managed to make some overtakes, so I'm positive for tomorrow's race."

Is there margin, then?
"Yes, although I know it will be difficult to fight for the podium, I don't expect to be able to do it but I'm sure I can still have a decent race. Now we will have to analyze the data and formulate a strategy for the first corner tomorrow, today went well but it's those things you have no control over. The feeling though is better than in the beginning of the weekend."

Does the Mugello crowd give you an extra boost?
"Absolutely."

Could the weather shuffle the cards though?
"Honestly I hope for sunshine. It would be a shame especially for the fans but also for us, who have been working on the bike with completely different conditions. Racing in the wet is always more complicated."

This year the GP23s are having difficulties, all except Marc Marquez's. Data in hand where is he making a difference?
"He's very strong in the left-hand corners and in braking he's strong, but not the strongest of the Ducatis. He also has great corner entry, that's the aspect where I'm having the most difficulty instead."

Has the new Michelin also changed the feeling on the track?
"As far as I am concerned, I have found a lot of difficulties in these first races."

 

Translated by Julian Thomas

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