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Valention was in top form in front of his home crowd

MotoGP World Championship, Mugello, Round 6 of 18

Gran Premio d'Italia Alice
Rossi Victorious at Home Italian MotoGP

Italian Grand Prix at Mugello Sunday June 3, 2007 - Valentino Rossi took his sixth consecutive home victory at the Gran Premio d’Italia Alice, sending a message out to the rest of the MotoGP field that they should doubt ‘The Doctor’ at their own peril. After a poor start, the five-time MotoGP World Champion moved up into first position on lap eight and never looked back, to take the win and cut the gap between himself and championship leader Casey Stoner to just nine points.

One rider who took off well from the line was Dani Pedrosa, who led the race early on and looked as if he was set to spoil the party atmosphere with three Spanish victories in the day’s trio of races. Although he threatened Rossi at the midway point of the race, a series of quick laps from the former champion –coupled with Pedrosa’s running slightly wide when attempting to overtake, left him unable to challenge for the lead in the final stages.

Returning to the MotoGP podium for the first time since the 2005 British Grand Prix, Alex Barros rounded off the rostrum positions with a tremendous ride. The Brazilian had the fastest top speed of any rider onboard his satellite Desmosedici GP7, and finally moved up to third ahead of factory rider Casey Stoner on lap 20. Holding on as the young pretender attempted his comeback, Barros gave the Pramac d’Antin Ducati team their first top three finish of the 800cc era and denied the factory team of a home podium.

Stoner holds onto his championship lead after finishing fourth, with Toni Elias almost nicking fifth from John Hopkins in the final moments but just missing out. Outside the top six, Loris Capirossi had a disappointing closing third after having led the race early on. He had beaten Stoner in the first Ducati factory head-to-head on the Mugello straight, but slipped down the order after relinquishing his grip on the top spot. Chris Vermeulen, Marco Melandri and MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden completed the top ten.

In a tribute to the little "Chihuahua", Valentino had AGV paint him a commerative helmet for the Italian GP.

Rossi Comes From Behind

With a capacity crowd of 85,000 enjoying sunshine after rain threatened to appear but held off, the field left the line in a blur of noise and colour to begin one of the more celebrated events on the 18-race calendar.

The the first half of the race started off as a a barnstormer with with 7 riders battling for the lead of this 23-lap race, but once race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) worked his way to the frontby the midway point from a lackluster 7th place start, it proved to be ultimately less tight than imagined as Rossi (Yamaha) led Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) to the flag with Alex Barros (Ducati) third.

Casey Stoner (Ducati) had ititially led from pole position into turn one with Chris Vermeulen (Suzuki) on his tail and Alex Barros in the mix with Stoner’s team-mate Loris Capirossi holding an early fourth place before he shot past Barros. Marco Melandri (Gresini Honda RC212V) then took Capirossi for fourth.

On lap two Melandri sped to third and Pedrosa began his charge by relieving Vermeulen of fourth. Rossi meanwhile was seventh with John Hopkins (Suzuki) behind him and reigning World Champion Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda RC212V) tracking the American Suzuki man.

Capirossi took a short lived lead on lap 5 over team mate Stoner, Melandri and Pedrosa.

By lap five Capirossi had edged past teammate Stoner for the lead and the home team duo led Melandri and Pedrosa over the line at the end of that lap. But Dani then took them both on lap six to lead the race, disposing of Stoner at Arrabiatta 2. Rossi, ominously, was now third.

Rossi moved up to second at turn four and as he closed on Dani, the young Spaniard was clearly riding right on the edge as he hovered his left foot over the tarmac under braking. On lap nine Rossi made his bid for the lead at the downhill right Scarperia turn.There were now two sets of three riders at the front: Rossi, Pedrosa and Stoner, one, two and three, Hopkins, Barros and Capirossi lying fourth, fifth and sixth. Carlos Checa (LCR Honda RC212V) slid off (unhurt) and out the reckoning while trying to break into the top ten.

Rossi was now riding clear of the determined Dani who has rarely looked as ragged as the bike moved around under him, so hard was he trying. By lap 14 Rossi’s advantage was 1.9 seconds and Capirossi was dropping away from Barros in fourth. The Italian trailed the Brazilian by four seconds at the end of the lap.

Nothing then changed except Barros overhauling Stoner for third place on lap 21, the Australian trying gamely to stick with him to no avail. Toni Elias (Gresini Honda RC212V) rode to a dogged sixth place from his 15th place on the starting grid, while Melandri slipped to ninth at the flag, and Nicky came in tenth.

The mid point of the race and Rossi (46) is closing up on Pedrosi (26) for the lead, ahead of Stoner (27) and Hopkins.

Valentino Rossi, Position: 1st, Time: 42'42.385 - "To win in Mugello once again is an incredible emotion for me and I am very happy at this moment. Racing in front of the fans here is always something unbelievable and they give me an extra motivation. It's an incredible feeling to see so much yellow around the track, the fans were 'coming crazy' today and it was a wonderful race! As we had hoped it stayed dry, the sun came out and everything went to plan! My team have worked brilliantly, my bike was perfect and I could ride it exactly how I wanted, I need to say a huge thank you to them and also to Michelin. I didn't get a very good start but once my tyres had warmed up my M1 really flew and I was able to fight back to the front. From the very beginning everyone was pushing at 100% and it was great fun in those first few laps! It was really a perfect race for me today and I felt like I had everyone on my side; Mugello is a magical track for me and this victory gives us a lot of power and confidence for the next races. I had a special helmet for this race with a big heart on it and today I think we showed that we really have a lot of heart at Yamaha. This is a great, great moment for me."

Dani said: “My start was very good and I was able to pass many riders. Then in the first corner when I touched the throttle I had a very big slide and they came past again. My performance was really strong from the beginning of the race until the middle and I was able to recover and take the lead. Then I started to have the same issues as in some of the other races this year. I could see that Valentino was getting away slowly but as I tried to speed up I was getting slides from both wheels, so I couldn’t push the tyres any harder and I had to close the throttle a little bit and settle for second.”

Toni Elias was pleased enough with sixth and said: “Sixth place at Mugello is a good result, especially having started from 15th. The team did a great job and in the warm-up we took a big step forward with the set-up. I got a good start and tried to make up position but unfortunately the front tyre choice was a little too soft for today’s track conditions and after a few laps I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. I’m happy though and I’m looking forward to racing in front of my home fans in Barcelona next Sunday.”

Marco Melandri said: “I got a good start and I was flying over the first few laps but then I started to struggle. The bike was skipping around and from being in third place I dropped back to ninth. I'm disappointed because this is a special race for me. We've had this problem to a varying degree since the start of the season and at the moment we can't come up with a solution.”

A disappointed Nicky commented, “You put yourself in a hole when you qualify in 13th and that really didn’t help me out much today. It was a tough race. I got a decent start and on the first lap I picked off a few riders but really I just didn’t have the race pace to go with the lead guys. In the last couple of laps I had a pretty good scrap with Vermeulen and Melandri but I was a lot further back than I would have liked to have been. It definitely wasn’t a great day for us. Basically I had an issue with the set-up today and the machine just didn’t feel planted in a lot of the fast corners here.”

Right: With the lack of competitiveness and then collapse of their Team No Sponsor with Doug Chandler in AMA Superbike , Kenny Roberts Sr. brought son Kurtis over to the KR Honda MotoGP team to help brother Kenny Jr, with the developemnt of the team's bikes Kurtis was running last at Mugello when he decided to retire.

Results MotoGP
Race Classification MotoGP : (23 laps = 120.635 km)
Pos/ Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time/ KM/H / Gap
1 / Valentino ROSSI / ITA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 42'42.385 / 169.485 /
2 / Dani PEDROSA / SPA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 42'45.459 / 169.281 / 3.074
3 / Alex BARROS / BRA / Pramac d'Antin / DUCATI / 42'48.341 / 169.092 / 5.956
4 / Casey STONER / AUS / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 42'48.397 / 169.088 / 6.012
5 / John HOPKINS / USA / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 42'55.629 / 168.613 / 13.244
6 / Toni ELIAS / SPA / Honda Gresini / HONDA / 43'01.640 / 168.22 / 19.255
7 / Loris CAPIROSSI / ITA / Ducati Marlboro Team / DUCATI / 43'02.031 / 168.195 / 19.646
8 / Chris VERMEULEN / AUS / Rizla Suzuki MotoGP / SUZUKI / 43'05.195 / 167.989 / 22.81
9 / Marco MELANDRI / ITA / Honda Gresini / HONDA / 43'05.222 / 167.987 / 22.837
10 / Nicky HAYDEN / USA / Repsol Honda Team / HONDA / 43'06.798 / 167.885 / 24.413
11 / Alex HOFMANN / GER / Pramac d'Antin / DUCATI / 43'07.166 / 167.861 / 24.781
12 / Colin EDWARDS / USA / Fiat Yamaha Team / YAMAHA / 43'10.386 / 167.653 / 28.001
13 / Shinya NAKANO / JPN / Konica Minolta Honda / HONDA / 43'19.118 / 167.089 / 36.733
14 / Sylvain GUINTOLI / FRA / Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 43'27.483 / 166.553 / 45.098
15 / Makoto TAMADA / JPN / Dunlop Yamaha Tech 3 / YAMAHA / 43'27.530 / 166.55 / 45.145

Pole Position: Casey STONER 2'00.359 156.880 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1'50.357 171.099 Km/h Lap 3
Circuit Record Lap: Max BIAGGI 1'50.117 171.472 Km/h 2005
Circuit Best Lap: Sete GIBERNAU 1'48.969 173.278 Km/h 2006

World Championship Positions:
1 STONER 115, 2 ROSSI 106, 3 PEDROSA 82, 4 MELANDRI 68, 5 VERMEULEN 63,
6 HOPKINS 59, 7 CAPIROSSI 47, 8 ELIAS 45, 9 BARROS 43, 10 EDWARDS 39,
11 HAYDEN 36, 12 HOFMANN 35, 13 CHECA 20, 14 DE PUNIET 19, 15 NAKANO 18.

Bautista and Aprilia Take 250cc GP
Alvaro Bautista followed up his first 250cc pole position with a maiden victory in the class, in the dying moments of a race which had everything that the thousands of fans gathered at Mugello could have expected and more. The Spaniard had a ride that was assured and risky in equal measures, and a last lap manoeuvre on Jorge Lorenzo may mean that the likeable 22 year old has made himself his first enemy in the quarter litre category. Ducking inside the reigning 250cc World Champion, Bautista forced Lorenzo wide onto the slippery artificial grass; something on which not even a rider the calibre of the Spain’s No1 Aprilia rider could successfully stay upright. The 125cc title holder then put the pressure on team-mate Alex de Angelis before pulling away for a win by less than a tenth of a second.

A protest against the overtaking move was put in by Lorenzo's team, however whilst Race Direction decided the protest was acceptable, it was dismissed as 'unfounded' by officials.

The rostrum places were rounded off by Hector Barbera, who showed both sides of his riding at Mugello. Taking the lead on lap eight, the Spaniard’s aggressive style was close to the limit on a number of occasions as he tried to pull away, and he eventually ran wide to all but end his chances of victory. Pushing back up after dropping out of the podium places, Barbera took advantage of Lorenzo’s late tumble to equal his best result of the year.

250cc Race Classification (21 laps = 110.145 km)
Pos / Rider / Nat / Team / Motorcycle / Time / KM/H / Gap
1 / Alvaro BAUTISTA / SPA / Master - Mapfre Aspar / APRILIA / 40'18.605 / 163.946 /
2 / Alex DE ANGELIS / RSM / Master - Mapfre Aspar / APRILIA / 40'18.692 / 163.94 / 0.087
3 / Hector BARBERA / SPA / Team Toth Aprilia / APRILIA / 40'26.270 / 163.428 / 7.665
4 / Andrea DOVIZIOSO / ITA / Kopron Team Scot / HONDA / 40'26.356 / 163.422 / 7.751
5 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Emmi - Caffe Latte Aprilia / APRILIA / 40'45.872 / 162.118 / 27.267
6 / Shuhei AOYAMA / JPN / Repsol Honda 250cc / HONDA / 40'46.127 / 162.101 / 27.522
7 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Repsol Honda 250cc / HONDA / 40'46.379 / 162.085 / 27.774
8 / Jorge LORENZO / SPA / Fortuna Aprilia / APRILIA / 40'50.843 / 161.79 / 32.238
9 / Marco SIMONCELLI / ITA / Metis Gilera / GILERA / 41'10.060 / 160.531 / 51.455
10 / Anthony WEST / AUS / Team Sicilia / APRILIA / 41'22.913 / 159.7 / 1'04.308
11 / Yuki TAKAHASHI / JPN / Kopron Team Scot / HONDA / 41'22.923 / 159.699 / 1'04.318
12 / Aleix ESPARGARO / SPA / Blusens Aprilia / APRILIA / 41'23.067 / 159.69 / 1'04.462
13 / Fabrizio LAI / ITA / Campetella Racing / APRILIA / 41'23.161 / 159.684 / 1'04.556
14 / Alex BALDOLINI / ITA / Kiefer - Bos - Sotin Racing / APRILIA / 41'23.175 / 159.683 / 1'04.570
15 / Taro SEKIGUCHI / JPN / Campetella Racing / APRILIA / 41'23.767 / 159.645 / 1'05.162

Pole Position: Alvaro BAUTISTA 1'57.435 160.786 Km/h
Fastest Lap: (New record) Hector BARBERA 1'54.061 165.542 Km/h Lap 6
Circuit Record Lap: Alex DE ANGELIS 1'54.332 165.150 Km/h 2005
Circuit Best Lap: Jorge LORENZO 1'53.457 166.424 Km/h 2005

World Championship Positions:
6 SIMON 46, 7 LUTHI 43, 8 AOYAMA 32, 9 SIMONCELLI 31, 10 KALLIO 30, 11 LAI 28,
12 WEST 25, 13 TAKAHASHI 22, 14 ESPARGARO 19, 15 AOYAMA 17.

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The sam old story as Yoshimura team mates Mladin (66) and Spies (1) out front trading the wins as everyone else tries to keep up.

AMA Superbike Championship , Round 5 of 11

The Mladin and Spies Show Sweeps Road America
Elkhart Llake, WI, June 3ed, Saturday Race One - Yoshimura Suzuki dominated the first of two AMA Superbike races in the double-header weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Saturday. Six-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin won the 16-lap race and moved into the championship points lead while team mates Ben Spies and Tommy Hayden finished second and third, respectively. This victory is Mladin's sixth win of the year, his seventh Road America victory and his 57th career AMA Superbike win.

“I'd like to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki crew and Suzuki for delivering such a great motorbike in the GSX-R1000,” said Mladin. “The bike allowed Yoshimura Suzuki to sweep the podium today and hopefully we'll come back and do it again tomorrow.”

With intermittent rain in the morning, the day's earlier qualifying session was more reminiscent of Superbike practice. As a result, Mladin's provisional lap time of 2:11.541 from Friday remained the fastest time and he picked up his 51st career pole position. This is Mladin's first pole position of the 2007 season and his sixth pole at Road America. The 35-year-old Australian has more AMA Superbike pole positions than any other rider.
“It was certainly important to get something done (on Friday),” said Mladin. “We don't have special tyres for qualifying anymore, just race tyres. So we got a pretty decent lap on fresh race tyres... and if you can get the bike set-up right, you can break away.”

Defending AMA Superbike Champion Spies was right behind Mladin in the second spot on the grid, thanks to a lap time of 2:12.330, while Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates rounded out the front row with a best time of 2:13.166. Yoshimura Suzuki rider Hayden qualified close behind on the second row with a fast 2:13.268 lap time.

With rainy weather threatening, Mladin started the race from the pole but didn't get the perfect start. Even so, he moved quickly into the lead and held on until the race's end.
“Wet or dry, you have to stay focused and be prepared,” said Mladin of the potentially sketchy weather. “We had one bike set up for rain and one bike set up for dry. Fortunately, it was a dry race; the spectators want to see a good race and not a bunch of guys splashing around. Hopefully, we gave them a good show and they got their money's worth.”

Spies, meanwhile, got a great start and holeshot the race in spite of having taken a nasty spill on the pre-race warm-up lap. Even with the get-off, the young Texan put his head down and rode a great race - leading the first few laps before bringing home second position.
“It wasn't our day to win today,” said Spies. “I did everything I could but it just wasn't enough. We learned some things that we can use tomorrow but after the day I've had, I'm content with second place. (Because of the crash on the warm-up lap) my crew will have to rebuild a whole motorcycle tonight and this is two weekends in a row that I've done this to them. But it's great to get one-two-three for Yoshimura Suzuki, I'm really happy for Tommy to get on the podium and congratulations to Mat on a great race.”

Two-time AMA Supersport Champion Hayden celebrated his second AMA Superbike podium -- and his first with the Yoshimura Suzuki team. Hayden got a decent start on his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and methodically picked off the competition to move into fourth place. With a few laps to go, he took over third position only to get passed on the penultimate lap. Undaunted, Hayden fought back and made the pass for the podium spot at the start-finish line.

“It feels good to finally get on the podium this year,” said Hayden. “It's been a long season and I'd like to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki crew for being patient with me. I feel like we've been making good progress this season, though it's taken a little longer than I would have liked. At a few races, I felt like I was on the pace but I just didn't have what it took. This weekend, I felt good and I thought I had a good chance. It was a good race and the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is obviously running good to make that pass on the straight-away.”

AMA Superbike Saturday
1 Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2 Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
3 Tommy Hayden (Yoshimura Suzuki)
4 Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
5 Jake Zemke (Honda)
6 Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
7 Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)
8 Jason Disalvo (Yamaha)
9 Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
10 Jake Holden, (Jordan Suzuki)

Madin and Spies share the victory champaign.

It's Ben's Turn n the Wet on Sunday
June 4th, Sunday Race Two - Despite inclement weather, Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies won his first-ever Road America AMA Superbike race in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon. This victory is Spies' third win of the season and moves the defending AMA Superbike Champion into the lead in the AMA Superbike Championship points chase. Team mate Mat Mladin finished an impressive third in the wet race, while Tommy Hayden, unfortunately, crashed and was unable to finish.

"I have to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki team for doing such a great job, staying up until 1:00 in the morning to rebuild the bike I crashed in practice yesterday," said Spies. "My Suzuki GSX-R1000 was so good in the rain today. I was afraid the track was going to dry out. We needed this win, for sure."

The 16-lap race went off as scheduled in spite of the rain and Spies got the holeshot. By lap two, Hayden was running in third and Mladin was in seventh. As the storm grew worse, however, the race was red flagged because of conditions. When the storm subsided into merely rain, the complete restart saw Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates get the holeshot but he was overtaken by Mladin and Spies on the first lap. Mladin, who started from pole position, led briefly before being passed by Spies. Spies took over the lead and created a gap and took the win.

"In the first start, I got a pretty good holeshot but I was still feeling it out and not going all out," said Spies. "Then we had the red flag and in the second start I followed Mat and then got around him. I just tried to put some decent laps together and get as big a gap as I could. Then, I just put it on cruise control… I've been riding hard all year and trying to not make mistakes. We know we have to win races to win the championship. Now, we just need to take it to a new level and not ride so conservatively."

Mladin, meanwhile, settled into second position before being passed midway through the race. The six-time AMA Superbike Champion played it safe, however, and rode his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to the third podium spot.

"I didn't get a good start in the first start," said Mladin. "There was so much water that I couldn't see where I was going. I'd already made the decision to not do anything crazy. The conditions in the second start were more sane. It was slippery, but visibility was ok. (As for Jamie and Ben), they just rode better than me. In the race, I saw some things I could improve on. I am lacking in the rain in some areas. But some of the things that hurt me in the rain help me in the dry. And fortunately, most races are on sunny days."

Former AMA Supersport Champion Hayden got off the line and was in third place in the first start. In the second start, he'd moved into position to battle for a podium spot when he went down and was unable to finish.

"I made a mistake in Turn One," said Hayden, who wasn't injured in the get-off. "Up until then, the race was going good and I felt really comfortable on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. I'd caught the battle for second place and then I locked up the front brake. I was down on the ground before I could do anything about it."

AMA Superbike Sunday
1 Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2 Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
3 Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
4 Aaron Yates (Jordan Suzuki)
5 James Ellison (Honda)
6 Jake Zemke, Honda
7 Jake Holden (Jordan Suzuki)
8 John Haner (Suzuki)
9 Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
10 Dominic Jones (Honda)

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Rossi Closes the Points Lead on Stoner
Thrilling home-race win for Rossi and FIAT Yamaha

Mugello, Italy, 3/06 -Valentino Rossi set yet another record in his extraordinary racing career today, becoming the first rider in the history of the sport to take six consecutive wins at his home circuit. The 85,480 adoring fans who had braved the threat of rain and turned the green hillsides of the Mugello valley bright yellow were rewarded in style as the Italian scored an emphatic and emotional victory, his fourth here for Yamaha and eighth in total from twelve years of racing.

Under miraculously dry skies, the Fiat Yamaha Team rider got a poor start from third on the grid and found himself down in eighth position at turn one. Once he had built up enough heat in his Michelin tyres however he set out in earnest, picking off riders one-by-one and moving up to second behind Dani Pedrosa by lap seven of 23. Two laps later Rossi made his move on the Spaniard and from then on the pair were racing just a few tenths of a second apart, with Rossi extending the advantage around the twistier parts of the circuit and Pedrosa closing it slightly down the long home straight. Little by little however Rossi began to pull away and he eventually crossed the line 3.074 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. A late pass by Alex Barros on series-leader Casey Stoner for third place helped Rossi's points deficit and he now lies just nine points behind Stoner in the standings, with some of his favourite races coming up in the next few weeks.

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Ducati's Casey Stoner Just Off the Podium, Capirossi from 1st to 7th
Ducati Marlboro Team riders Casey Stoner and Loris Capirossi finished today's Italian Grand Prix in a close fourth place and seventh place to retain their advantage in the riders', constructors' and teams' World Championships as the 2007 MotoGP series reached one-third distance

The pair enjoyed a brilliant start to the race, World Championship leader and pole-position man Stoner completing the opening lap in first place, just ahead of Capirossi. Stoner led the first three laps, Capirossi the next two, but then both men slipped back slightly. Stoner spent much of the remainder of the race in third place, ending up fourth after fellow Ducati rider Alex Barros went past in the closing stages. Capirossi, racing for the first time with a new engine spec in his GP7, battled long and hard for sixth place, crossing the line in seventh spot.

CASEY STONER, 4th place, World Championship leader on 115 points - "That was a very difficult race. After warm-up we knew we would struggle a bit but I thought maybe we could make the podium. We were really close to a top-three result but we didn't quite manage it. Anyway, I'd like to say thank you to the team because we tried everything we could this weekend but unfortunately the conditions weren't perfect for us, with so much rain during practice. We learned some more lessons that will make us come back stronger at Barcelona next weekend. The biggest difficulty we had today was turning in the long corners and we also lacked a bit of traction. But, as I said, we should be able to solve these problems before the next race and score a better result."

LORIS CAPIROSSI, 7th place, 7th in World Championship on 47 points - "I gave everything I had today and things were going well at the start. Then I had two big moments, first at Arrabbiata 1, then at Arrabbiata 2. I lost the front and risked falling, so that lost me some confidence in the front and I wasn't able to maintain such a fast pace, I had to slow my rhythm. Unfortunately, the strange weather conditions during the weekend didn't allow us to work the way we wanted to on my new engine spec. I used the new spec today because Ducati had done such a good job in giving me more rideability but we lacked some speed. Anyway, it was good to be up front again and we will work to improve some more during practice at Barcelona next weekend".

Hondar Rider
MotoGP Quotes

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd. "I am very happy to be back on the podium today and this is a good result for me, especially starting from eighth on the grid. My start was very good and I was able to pass many riders. Then in the first corner when I touched the throttle I had a very big slide and they came past again. My performance was really strong from the beginning of the race until the middle and I was able to recover and take the lead. Then I started to have the same issues as in some of the other races this year. I could see that Valentino was getting away slowly but as I tried to speed up I was getting slides from both wheels, so I couldn't push the tyres any harder and I had to close the throttle a little bit and settle for second. Still, this is a useful result for us and we were lucky it stayed dry today. The last race was also good and now we have some good momentum going into my home race at Barcelona next weekend."

Toni Elias, Gresini Honda: 6th.“Mugello is a good result, especially having started from fifteenth. The team did a great job and in the warm-up we took a big step forward with the set-up. I got a good start and tried to make up position but unfortunately the front tyre choice was a little too soft for today’s track conditions and after a few laps I couldn’t push as hard as I wanted to. I’m happy though and I’m looking forward to racing in front of my home fans in Barcelona next Sunday.”

Marco Melandri, Gresini Honda: 9th. “I got a good start and I was flying over the first few laps but then I started to struggle. The bike was skipping around and from being in third place I dropped back to ninth. I’m disappointed because this is a special race for me. We’ve had this problem to a varying degree since the start of the season and at the moment we can’t come up with a solution.”

Nicky Hayden, Repsol Honda: 10th."You put yourself in a hole when you qualify in 13th and that really didn't help me out much today. It was a tough race. I got a decent start and on the first lap I picked off a few riders but really I just didn't have the race pace to go with the lead guys. In the last couple of laps I had a pretty good scrap with Vermeulen and Melandri but I was a lot further back than I would have liked to have been. It definitely wasn't a great day for us. Basically I had an issue with the set-up today and the machine just didn't feel planted in a lot of the fast corners here. The balance wasn't right and every time I tried to push harder I was right on the limit and had a few moments. The team and me are going to be working hard to improve things for the next race in Catalunya."

Shinya Nakano, Konica Minolta Honda: 13th. “My start wasn’t too bad and from then until the middle of race my lap time was pretty good and I had a good feeling with the bike. I felt that the race setting we had on the bike was the best of the weekend, but then from the middle of the race we suffered from a chatter problem once more and I had to reduce my corner speed, which is when Colin Edwards overtook me. From there I was on my own with a gap behind me, so even though I couldn’t push any harder, I wanted to hang on for some points. We will now look at the data and hopefully improve in time for next week’s race.”

Kenny Roberts Jnr, KR212V: 17th.“It was a very quiet race for me. I never saw anybody after about the first or second turn. I rode as hard as I could, and ran a 1’53. 7. I’d done a 1’53. 5 the first day, and for the first half of the race I wasn’t trying to finish, just to match that time. We have all the switches on the bike to alter things, so I played with them all race. I turned the traction control pretty much off, and messed with the engine braking, and started getting back towards the 1’53s. Then on the second-last lap I pushed the front in the fast chicane, and pretty much tried to fall down. On the last lap I saw the track invasion, with people coming over the retaining wall, so after the last corner I didn’t even attempt to go down the straightaway with any speed. If I hadn’t seen them … well, you could hurt a lot of good people with this bike.”

Kurtis Roberts, KR212V: dnf – handling problems.“With the two hours we had in the dry, we took a gamble on some set-up stuff, and we made a plan not to waste mileage on the motor if it didn’t work. We need to save that stuff. I was behind Kenny going into the last corner and I about ran off the racetrack, not even going fast. After that I was having trouble holding the line, so I pulled in to save the motor. Hopefully Barcelona will be good weather all weekend. We have a feeling now what the bike does, and now we can move forwards.”

High five for Hopkins and Suzuki in Italy
Rizla Suzuki MotoGP racer John Hopkins powered his way through the MotoGP field during today’s Italian Grand Prix at Mugello to finish in a fantastic fifth place.

Hopkins started from ninth position on the grid and started his fight right from the beginning of the 23-lap race. By lap eight he had moved up into fourth place and was challenging for a podium. The Anglo-American was unable to match the top speed of the Ducatis of Casey Stoner and Alex Barros along Mugello’s front straight, and although he battled to the end he had to settle for a hard-earned fifth position.

Chris Vermeulen began the race from the front row and got off to a good start, before his inexperience at the Italian circuit caused him to drop back. He found his rhythm in the middle of the race as he got involved in tussle with World Champion Nicky Hayden. Vermeulen finally got the better of Hayden later on and finished strongly as he also passed Marco Melandri in the closing stages to finish eighth.

Today’s race was held in dry conditions with sporadic warm sunshine bathing over 80,000 frenzied Italian fans at trackside. They were treated to a sixth consecutive home GP victory by Valentino Rossi – the first rider ever to complete this feat at their home track.

Rizla Suzuki MotoGP stays in third place in the team’s championship and will be looking to consolidate that position as it moves on to Barcelona in Spain for round seven of the MotoGP World Championship next weekend.

John Hopkins: - “It was a busy race, but an enjoyable one to say the least! We would have liked to have kept the podium streak going for Rizla Suzuki, but it was not to be today. It was really hard going at the start and I got involved in a bit of a dogfight with Valentino, which was really enjoyable – it was close racing but fun! The group then sort of bunched up a bit and then suddenly Rossi, Pedrosa and Stoner started to make a break and I knew I had to stay with them. I busted my butt to keep up there and the Bridgestone tyres performed great. I think we chose the right tyres today considering the amount of dry track time we had in practice. The bike was awesome out there, especially on the brakes – the amount of stability it has under braking is amazing! The mechanics did a fantastic job this weekend considering the conditions they had to work in, so a big thanks to them. We are now ready to go to Catalunya – a track I really like – and see what we can do there!”

Chris Vermeulen: - “It was nice to start from the front row as it gave me a good opportunity. I got a decent start and followed Stoner early on, but I just couldn’t hang in there with the top group. I got passed by a couple of guys and to be truthful I was a bit inexperienced with the circuit. I went down the field and my times dropped off quicker than everyone else, although at the end they were quite similar. We got some good points and eighth is pretty good from a track that we knew was going to be hard work. Hopefully now we can go to some circuits that are a bit more familiar to us and get back up there challenging!”