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The crazy events of Silverstone are behind us and San Marino has arrived with Rossi mania all over the local streets, bars, restaurants and grand stands. The Gran Premio Octo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini will remain on the calendar until 2021 which is superb news for local enthusiasts and those who enjoy travelling across countries to the circuit that always puts on a quality show. The key moment in the press conference that has tongues wagging is when Marc Marquez put his hand out to Valentino Rossi and blank look was returned with a shake of the head. An intense moment! “We do not need to shake hands” were the words echoed by Rossi. With that said, the riders are super excited to get onboard their machines. The home race aspect applies to numerous riders including Rossi, Andrea Iannone, Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci. On one hand, Dovi feels stronger and Iannone is sad to leave Suzuki. “It is a bad moment for sure, we have a good relationship with the team and all the guys and management of Suzuki. In any case, it is not an easy situation. We try the best. Everybody.” He feels good coming to Misano and wants to do a good job. The weather is a topic again with reports of rain and thunderstorms due in amongst good weather. Pol Espargaro is fit to ride this weekend after suffering a neck and spine injury a few races ago. It will be good to see the Spanish rider back and ready to conquer the race circuit once again.

Marquez: “I am of course not racing Silverstone was disappointing but safety conditions were not ready to race. We are in Misano and leading the Championship. The target is to try and increase the advantage. In the beginning we can start a bit further back but with passion we work hard towards Sunday.” In comparison, Rossi: “I am very happy to be back in Misano because it is the most important race of the season together with Mugello. Most special for the fans. This race is very close to my house. Last year was a shame and not easy to follow the race from home. I am very happy to be here. The test at Aragon, it was an important test and a difficult track for me and Yamaha but we have to see in the real weekend together with the other fast guys to understand our level”. ‘ 

The World Championship will require a mistake from Marquez in order to bring the other competitors closer. As it stands, the ask to beat Marc is enormous. Jorge Lorenzo is up for the challenge though is more focused on hitting goals as a team. Lorenzo: “Misano is one of my favourite tracks. I have been more or less on the podium since 2008. We arrive here in a good state of shape, very strong and quite good experience with the bike. The test in Misano one month ago, I have been very good and competitive. We hope for a sunny Sunday and make a good result. I think Silverstone with the conditions if the race was on we could compete. In those conditions, anything could happen, crash easily, lose points or maybe Marc was able to stay on the bike and win the race too. I think we made the right decision altogether with race direction and the riders. That race was risky and dangerous. Now we have one race less. We are thinking about the momentum and improving, going faster and faster. Win as many races as possible.

His fellow Ducati teammate DesmoDovi is smiling again which is a good sign for the Italian factory. Dovizioso: “I think it is not my best track. We are in a different situation especially after the test we did here. I feel so good. The condition was good with the grip though very hot. Speed was really good. The test in Aragon was good. I think we confirm our speed is a bit better than the beginning of the season. We are better than last year. I expect to have good speed though we have to work in the conditions. There was a lot of rubber and grip at the test but hotter. Let’s see the conditions and weather. We can be very competitive”. In regard to learning, Dovi amongst others are growing and learning every weekend. Improving yourself and the bike constantly is key. This is a target for most. Ducati is doing a very good job at this as is Repsol Honda. However, Yamaha is still struggling to make those gains to catch their fellow rivals.

There was talk about Christophe Ponsson replacing the injured Tito Rabat. Ponsson has never raced in MotoGP, is unfamiliar with the Michelin tyre, not used to racing with carbon brakes and could potentially be up to eight seconds slower than the rest of the grid. The key element of question here is safety and both Marquez and Rossi agreed that it is not a good idea, in actual fact, they did not know who the rider was either. Ponsson rides in the RFME CEV Superbike Championship. Ponsson: “I know it’ll be difficult and I will have to learn many things in a very short time; the bike, the carbon brakes, the Michelin tyres, but I am willing to enjoy and learn. I’ll try to give my best on the bike and I hope to reward the team and all those who have helped me to fulfil my dream.”  

What are your thoughts on this rider taking part in the Misano Grand Prix?

Fans are geared up ready for action, photographers waiting for their scoop and enjoying the adventures behind the lens as others work hard on race strategy and set up. Misano is a magical circuit and no doubt the race will be entertaining. Lorenzo: “Looking in to the next corner is my key focus.” As Marquez says perfectly – your teammate is the first opponent. The battle between Lorenzo and Dovi is one of the main reasons they are fast on the Ducati. Marquez believes that the challenge between the two Ducati riders is actually benefiting the team rather than impacting them negatively. All eyes were on Lorenzo when he was asked about fighting with Dovi. Lorenzo: “Second place is most logical. We want to finish as far front as possible. Like last year, Dovi was fighting with Marc and I was fighting for nothing in the Championship. My mentality then was to help Dovi and my factory to win the World Title. I will do whatever I can to help my teammate to win the World Title. I will do this with Dovi. I will do this with whichever rider I am with in the future. My mentality is to support my factory”. Talk about respect and boy did Marquez have a big smile on his face.

Credit: www.motogp.com

Credit: www.motogp.com

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.