Bautista highly focused for Mugello “to make sure that we bury the memory of a bad weekend last year”
After a difficult race at Le Mans that took place in variable weather, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini this week heads to its home Grand Prix at Mugello. It’s always an important round for Fausto Gresini’s team, which has its headquarters close to the circuit, but for Alvaro Bautista it also represents a big opportunity to score a top result on the back of a positive performance in France.
Recent technical progress and constant set-up improvements have given Alvaro more confidence with the bike and thanks to the tireless work from Showa’s suspension staff there is plenty of optimism within the team going into an important run of races before the summer break. Bautista came through to sixth place at Le Mans, his third such finish in a perfect top-ten tally so far. He lies seventh overall. The Spanish former 125 World Champion combines his racing role with that of suspension development: the only rider in the class to use Showa suspension.
The Italian GP is the fifth round, and third in the European season. The venue is spectacular, set in a narrowing valley packed with passionate fans. The Mugello circuit is a magnificent venue for grand prix racing, with sweeping curves and chicanes using both sides of the valley in a lap of 5.245 km (3.259 miles). Running clockwise it has nine right-hand and six left-hand corners, forming a series of loops and high-speed chicanes. It is most famous for its 1.1-km “straight”, undulating past the pits to finish over a blind brow at more than 350 km/h, followed directly by a looping 120-km/h corner.
Used fitfully in the 1970s and 1980s, the track outside Florence underwent a major refit for new owner Ferrari, and joined the calendar full time in 1991. In 22 years Honda has taken 12 wins in the Tuscan foothills.
Alvaro Bautista “We had a really good feeling for the bike at Le Mans, even though the conditions were particularly difficult in the race. We found a good wet setting and in general the team did a very good job, especially considering the fact that we were working of data from a less than perfect weekend last year there. This year we found a good feeling and were setting lap times in line with the guys who finished on the podium and even though I am still having some problems getting the bike out of the corners we are making good progress with the bike in general. I have stepped up my physical training programme this week and enjoyed a really good weekend for my riders in the Spanish Championship – Maria Herrera, Dani Saiz and Juanjo Nunez – with Maria scoring her first win.
Mugello is a completely different circuit to Le Mans. It is technical, fast, with various changes in direction and elevation. It will be important to stay focused and do a good job from the first minute to the last to make sure that we bury the memory of a bad weekend last year. I am determined to get a good result and and I know this is a special Grand Prix for the team, because it is their home race.”
Fausto Gresini “After a positive race for Alvaro at Le Mans we go to the home race for Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini, where it will be important for us to confirm our recent form with another determined and hard-working weekend. The feeling with the Showa suspension is improving from race to race and this excellent technical relationship we have with them is improving the bike and giving Alvaro more and more confidence. Our home Grand Prix is always a special occasion for the team and it will be important for our riders to perform in front of an Italian crowd. Alvaro is Spanish of course, but he loves the Italian fans and I am sure he will do everything he can to give them something to shout about.”
Sources: Gresini Racing, HRC