10 MotoGP Quotes: Mugello Pre-Race Press Conference

Le Mans winner Maverick Vinales was joined on Thursday in Italy by Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco, Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso, and Moto2 points leader Franco Morbidelli.

Maverick Vinales at Mugello 2017
At the French Grand Prix, Maverick Viñales, shown here in practice at Mugello, became only the ninth rider to win a MotoGP race from pole and in the process set a new lap record.Photo: Yamaha Racing

Autodromo del Mugello is one of the most beautiful and challenging tracks on the 18-race MotoGP schedule. Set in Italy's breathtaking Tuscan valley, the 15-turn, 3.26-mile circuit staged its first Grand Prix in 1976 and has been a permanent series stop since '91. Without question, this is one of the most highly anticipated and well-attended races of the year.

Valentino Rossi gave everyone a scare this past week when he crashed his motocross bike and spent a night in a nearby hospital with internal bruising. On Thursday, the Movistar Yamaha rider underwent an official medical check and was declared “fit” to take part in this weekend’s racing, beginning with opening practice on Friday morning.

Nicky Hayden honored at Mugello.
The MotoGP paddock honors Nicky Hayden with this tribute featuring his bikes.Photo: MotoGP

Along with the rest of the motorcycling world, the paddock is mourning the tragic death of 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, who was buried on Monday in his hometown of Owensboro, Kentucky. In remembrance of the popular American, organizers will hold 69 seconds of silence—reflecting Hayden’s race number—on the starting grid this Sunday.

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Maverick Vinales, Movistar YamahaPhoto: MotoGP
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Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda (left) and Maverick Vinales.Photo: MotoGP

Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha: "It's never easy here; there are so many Valentino [Rossi] fans. We are in a good moment. We know our bike can be really strong. After Le Mans, we improved the bike a little bit. We still have many things to learn and I have to improve my riding style but we are ready to fight."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: "This is quite an important race, and we are happy to be here with this weather. This temperature is much better, so we can have a good feeling from the beginning. To ride here is amazing—up and down, fast corners, so many people. With good weather, we can start well and do more laps."

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Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati TeamPhoto: Ducati Team

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team: "As everybody knows, this race is special for us. There is huge support—everything is nice here. For Italian riders, Mugello is something really special. And for Ducati, it is really important for us to make a good result here. Last year, the gap was quite small from the lead."

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: "We did a test in Barcelona and made some improvements, so it's important to get to this track and confirm. We are working well, little by little, getting the feeling that we like. In the last GP, we didn't put ourselves in a good position for the race. We look forward to doing a better job this time in qualifying."

Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha: "I have to copy Jorge [Lorenzo's] riding style because he was really fast here. I checked many races, and he was always in the front. We have good data from him. We just have to learn and try to make his lines. It's really important this weekend to be strong in all conditions, make a good qualifying, and push on the first lap."

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Andrea Iannone, Team Suzuki ECSTAR (right)Photo: MotoGP
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Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3Photo: MotoGP
Moto2 Franco Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli, EG0,0 Marc VDSPhoto: MotoGP
Moto2 Morbidelli
Franco Morbidelli won his fourth race on the five opening rounds of the season, the first rider to do so in the Intermediate-class since Jorge Lorenzo in 2007.Photo: MotoGP

Andrea Iannone, Team Suzuki ECSTAR: "For sure, in this track, I have very good memories. Last year, I was on the podium—also in 2015. I won two races in Moto2, 2010 and 2012. For me, this is a very special track. But this year, I arrive here with more difficulty. I am not 100 percent with the bike, and in MotoGP this is a big problem."

Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3: "It's going to be interesting to try this bike at Mugello. I got good results here in the past. I think I can confirm if I understood something in the race at Le Mans. Since Saturday afternoon, the feeling was good on the bike. I will see tomorrow. If it's working well, I can dream again about a great result."

Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso (left) and Dani Pedrosa.Photo: MotoGP

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team: "We fight with some limit of the bike, and we still didn't fix it. This is the reality. We have positive things and negative things. The competitors are really strong, with really good bikes, and the riders are really fast. In MotoGP, it is very important to start on the front row. This is the first target of the weekend."

Franco Morbidelli, EG0,0 Marc VDS: "It was a really good feeling to win at Le Mans. I wasn't expecting that. I wasn't fast in the warm-up. For the race, I was just looking to finish and get some points. But as soon as I started, I had a good feeling. I had a good rhythm, so I said, 'Why not go for the win?' It was a great moment."

Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3: "From the six laps in Qatar, then I was always going up—Argentina, Texas, Jerez, then Le Mans. I could not expect the podium and second place in France. I was happy with third position. Finally, Valentino crashed and I got second. The target is to be in the top position. I want to keep pushing to stay at this level."