There are just so many reasons why it is so easy to fall in love with Mugello.
It could be the weather – warm sunshine, when there are no dark clouds heavy with rain, of course.
It could be Valentino Rossi’s helmet, a truly spectacular unveiling.
It could be the ‘sea of yellow’, the sound of air horns, and the Vale song fans sing.
It could just be the way the circuit envelops you in a hug – so warm and friendly you wish race weekend wouldn’t get over.
Of course, it is also the promise that we could – if Marc Marquez slowed down enough for it — see some exciting dicing during the race.
Though it was proving to be a day of records. There we were celebrating a new lap record at the fearsome, breathtaking and ruthless Isle of Man TT – Bruce Antsey with 132.298mph (By the way, Michael Dunlop won the superbike race at the TT today). Then, along came Andrea Iannone flying through the speed trap clocked in a jaw-dropping 349.6kph and was anointed fastest man in MotoGP.
His pace during Qualifying was just as impressive with Iannone taking 2nd place on the grid. His teammate Yonny Hernandez showed great pace as well, taking 13th place on the grid. He also came within inches of moving into Qualifying 2, before losing by less than two tenths, and being upstaged by Alvaro Bautista.
Iannone later said in a team press release, “I am very happy to have gained the first row for the first time in MotoGP. I like this track a lot, in this circuit, I feel at home. I know I can do well, and be able to maintain a good pace because in the past I had good results on this track.”
Meanwhile, everyone looked on with great eagerness as Valentino Rossi took to the track in his sassy pasta helmet. The Vale pasta does not overcook, ever, the helmet said. Unfortunately, Vale’s qualifying wasn’t quite al dente, finishing at 10th place on the grid thanks to a wrong decision on the tyres. It was not a happy moment. Rossi later said in a team press release, “Tomorrow from the fourth row everything will be harder and more difficult. We have good pace, we need to fix some small problems and try to make the maximum. I want to try and make a good race because it’s my 300th Grand Prix and also we are in Mugello! I’m quite desperate for the 10th position but nothing is lost yet. It will be hard but we can do a good race.”
Even though Rossi tried to sound upbeat, his teammate was perhaps celebrating a good turn in Qualifying as a first flying lap left him at the top, dropping down to 3rd place after Marquez and Iannone took charge.
Speaking of Marc Marquez, the Spaniard dominated yet again and will be starting from pole position. No, we aren’t tired of him as yet. But yes, some competition would be good. Are the teams listening?
Grid As We Know It (top 10):
1 Marc Marquez; 2 Andrea Iannone; 3 Jorge Lorenzo; 4 Dani Pedrosa; 5 Pol Espargaro; 6 Cal Crutchlow; 7 Bradley Smith; 8 Andrea Dovizioso; 9 Stefan Bradl; 10 Valentino Rossi
Picture of the Day: A Touch of TT
We may be celebrating glorious racing with MotoGP, but it is important too to celebrate these mad, crazy, sinfully talented and gutsy men over at the Isle of Man TT. They are true rockstars!