MotoGP Preview: Mugello

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The MotoGP circus moves to Italy this weekend for the Gran Premio d'Italia TIM, only a week after the Assen TT which saw Yamaha‘s Ben Spies claim his first top class win in dominant fashion. He will be hoping to carry over the confidence and momentum over from Holland to beat current championship leader Casey Stoner.

The Repsol Honda rider is currently sat 28 points clear at the top of the table, and will be aiming to carry on after his 2nd place in Assen, and claim his 50th top class podium, a feat only 11 riders have managed before him. Stoner’s main rival continues to be Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo. After an incident between him and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Marco Simoncelli, Lorenzo rode a champions ride to recover to 6th place, and a win in Mugello wouldn’t go a miss.

One of the main focuses for this weekend is Ducati, both theirs and Valentino Rossi‘s home grand prix. Rossi will be hoping that the GP11.1 will give a better performance in front of his home crowd than at Assen where he finished 30s behind race winner Spies. Spies’ compatriot Nicky Hayden will aim to impress for Ducati aswell.

Another big talking point for this weekend is the return of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa. The petite Spaniard is returning after missing the past three races due to his broken collarbone sustained back in Le Mans. Pedrosa rejoins team mate Andrea Dovizioso, whilst Hiroshi Aoyama returns to the second San Carlo seat, alongside Marco Simoncelli.

Simoncelli is desperate for his first top class podium in front of his home crowd after failing to finish in the past two races, even after starting on pole for both of them. The past five races have seen the controversial Italian start on the front row, so Simoncelli is definitely a man with something to prove.

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair of Colin Edwards and Cal Crutchlow continue to recover from both their respective injuries, with Edwards still struggling with his damaged ribs and Crutchlow with his collarbone. After being denied a double top six finish last time around due to tyre issues, the pair will be hoping that the fast flowing circuit does not pose too much of an issue.

At the back of the grid Álvaro Bautista on the Rizla Suzuki, Toni Elias on the LCR Honda, Hector Barbera for Mapfre Aspar Ducati and Karel Abraham on the Cardion AB Motoracing Ducati will all be looking to grab a points finish, scrapping with just the one Pramac Ducati of Randy De Puniet, after Loris Capirossi will not be riding in his home grand prix due to injuries sustained in qualifying at Assen.

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