“A lot has happened in five races”: On your marks, get set … Misano!
The press conference before the event gives us strength for the races on the Riviera di Rimini
Thursday September 10, 2020
It’s that time again… time for the press conference! Ahead of the Gran Premio Lenovo di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Championship leader Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was joined by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), nine-time World Champion and homeland hero Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) and runner-up MotoGP) , last-time winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), returning Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) and Moto2™ Championship leader Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) to discuss deals ahead of next weekend.
Here are the main quotes from those present, with Quartararo leading the way:
FABIO QUARTARARO: “Honestly it’s still hard to believe that after three bad races we’re still leading the championship. It’s crazy. But I’m really happy to be here in Misano, last year was really positive, we tested 2019 two days before. Last year everything was really good, the pace was good and we were fighting for the win until the last lap, but let’s see this year. I’m confident because it’s a track I like, I’m comfortable, we’ll see. But for sure I will give everything to fight for victory and the podium.
“[We had] many problems in Austria. We fought a lot, but let’s see. We will have these problems, but this circuit suits the bike better than Austria. So we have to adapt quickly and see how best we can ride without these problems. We need to make changes to the electronics, but let’s see what we can do. I’m confident because it’s a track I like and last year was really positive for us.”
And what about the upcoming nine races in eleven weeks?
“To be honest, I like it. Two weeks at home, the second week I was a bit bored not being on the bike. It’s going to be tough, 9 races in 11 weeks, I think it’s the first time we’ve done it but yeah I’m looking forward to it. Try not to hurt yourself because it will be a short time!”
The next man to speak agrees…
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO: “It’s fine for me, it’s not a big problem. Four days between races is enough to recover for the next round, so it’s different.”
And what about Misano?
“Everyone is working on it, but no one can be consistent yet. A lot has happened in five races. There is new asphalt, that will create completely different situations with the new tyres, so I don’t know how I think it will be better for us than last year. Last year we had problems from the first lap of the test when we realized that our speed was very low. I expect it will be more competitive but as you know this year is different every time. I’m really happy to be close to the first practice session to know how it’s going to be.”
The same first question – about the schedule – was then put to Rossi.
VALENTINO ROSSI: “There will definitely be a lot going on. But first we will always race in Europe, so you can go home for a few days, you don’t have to fight the long flight and the jet lag, so it’s easier. In a lot of races like this you need a lot of attention, you also have to be lucky because you have a lot of races in a row. But not much changes. It’s strange doing two races at the same track, but the rest, nine or seven races in eleven weeks, is more or less the same.”
This weekend is also the first of two home games for number 46…
“It’s always special to race at Misano because for many riders and for me it’s the home GP, I live 10km from here and grew up at this track. The track has changed a lot, but it will be special because it will be the first race with fans. I think it’s a small step, but in a positive way, let’s hope things get back to normal as soon as possible. We come from Austria, it’s not our best track. On paper we can be more competitive at Misano because the Yamahas were strong last year so we can be fast and we have to fight for the podium and for the top positions.”
Next up was Oliveira. So how does it feel to arrive as the premier class winner?
MIGUEL OLIVEIRA: “It definitely feels good, I think it’s more of a mental step or click that you get from a win, the motivation is definitely very high. It took a load off the team’s shoulders. Everyone was a bit tense because we had shown a lot of potential a couple of races ago but never made it to the end with the result we thought we could achieve and winning, not even that Podium to do was fantastic .
They also arrive armed with some knowledge from tests…
“I wouldn’t say it’s a huge advantage, but we’ve done our homework. We used the tools we have to work here that were tested in June and also two weeks ago. The work is done, now we have to start the weekend. The tarmac will feel a bit different than three months ago and we need to start the weekend prepared for the challenges.”
Bagnaia then took over the mic as he returns to action from injury. Still with a crutch, but racing and bike ready.
FRANCESCO BAGNAIA: “I was very nervous every day, angry… and it was very difficult to see the other riders racing, but I took a lot of time to go to the gym, prepare, go to the physio to make it happen , here to be good potential. I’m not 100% but I’m pretty good. Tomorrow morning will be very important to understand my condition. I think it can be a positive weekend, it’s a good track for our bike, also the conditions are better because the new asphalt is much better than the old one, so let’s see what happens, but I think we can lay down really good weekend. ”
The Italian also spoke about the future as he wants to stay at Ducati but the team is yet to be determined…
“I am very happy to stay with Ducati for two more years. But let’s see which team. Pramac is a very good team for sure, I have the maximum of Ducati, so my bike is the same as the factory bike, so I’m definitely with the best bike I can have, so I’m happy. But my ambition and the ambition for every driver is definitely to come to a works team. If I have the chance I will be very happy because it is my ambition, but let’s wait for Ducati’s decision!”
It was finally time to hear the intermediate class points leader – Marini. Does that change the feeling on the way in?
LUCA MARINI: “The feeling is the same when you arrive at the circuit. I’m very focused, today was a good day to work with the data and the crew. I think we have prepared the bike very well for tomorrow. I hope to be fast from the start of FP1. This year you have to choose the right tires at the front right from the start. You make a plan for the next few days. We’ll see in the morning and I don’t think first place in the championship changes my approach.”
He also spoke about the news that one of his key rivals – Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – will miss the weekend after testing positive for Covid-19.
“In Moto2 it’s the same every year; A lot of drivers are so fast and the level is very high and the gap between them is very small. I’m really sorry for him, it’s a shame because I think he’s been really fast in that time, he’s one of the fastest in Moto2 and it’s great to fight with him. I hope to beat him on track and not like this. I hope he comes back soon to fight with him at the next race in Misano or Barcelona, wherever it will be!”
That wraps up Thursday’s San Marino GP! Tune in for FP1 on Friday at 9:55am (GMT +2) ahead of Sunday’s race at 2:00pm. With some fans in the stands and the sun shining!