After the Le Mans scandal, will Mugello madness follow?
We were too irritated by the events surrounding the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Bugatti to consider a review of the Le Mans weekend. On the one hand we still had to think about the questionable punishment of Fabio Quartararo at the Spanish GP and on the other hand we were very angry at how the sport is increasingly being pushed into the background by the misconduct of the FIM commissioners. Unfortunately, what happened at Le Mans after the race will go down in history as the all-time low of motorcycle racing and once again the FIM bears the brunt of the blame. With all due respect to the reigning World Champion’s achievements, if “Pecco” Bagnaia (Ducati) behaves like a yob in the gravel bed and lashes out at Aprilia ace Maverick Viñales, the Italian deserves to be punished badly. Especially after a self-inflicted fall, in which he also brought down the Catalans.
The unequal handling of sanctions by the FIM is poison for the sport
From the point of view of most of the other drivers, Fabio Quartararo was also thrown into the gravel bed after his crash in Jerez de la Frontera. From the point of view of practically all experts, this was a clear racing accident. Everyone may see Bagnaia’s crash at Le Mans as he pleases, but his reaction afterwards clearly deserves punishment. If the Ducati works rider were still an unnamed Moto3 rider, he would certainly have received a drastic penalty from the FIM commissioners. But like Marc Marquez after he shot down Oliveira in his home race, from whose consequences the Portuguese is still suffering today, Bagnaia escaped punishment despite outrageous unsportsmanlike conduct in France. It will be interesting to see if further chaos is to be feared in Mugello. It would be incredibly nice if it were finally all about sporting events again. Far too many events have been overshadowed by the questionable decisions of high-handed officials lately, which unfortunately is even more the case in WorldSBK.
Autodromo Internazionale di Mugello
Located in the southern foothills of the Apennines, this permanent circuit opened on June 23, 1974. Owned by Ferrari, it offers visitors a great overview from many locations. The course is at the start of the race, which was held on public roads from 1914, in the town of Scarperia. Due to the proud prices since the Rossi era, the natural grandstands are recommended, also because you usually have at least as good a view there as from the completely overpriced seats. With a length of 5,245 kilometers, the track is one of the longest on the MotoGP calendar. Only Silverstone, Sepang, Austin, Brno and Losail are longer than Mugello. With 6 left-hand and 9 right-hand corners in a very fluid form and a width of 14 meters, the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello is a very fast circuit. Due to the 1.141 km long start-finish straight, impressive top speeds are measured in MotoGP. The speed record set by Jorge Martin in 2022 with his Pramac Ducati is a whopping 363.6 km/h. As of 2021, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) holds the absolute lap record in 1:45.187 minutes.
Valentino Rossi and its impact on attendance
When he switched to Ducati in 2011, he managed a single podium in his first year. The following year, the Mugello GP saw a drastic slump of around a third in visitor numbers compared to the previous year. After the crowd favorite arrived at the Mugello GP in 2015 as the world championship leader, the number of spectators increased significantly. From 111,309 to 139,452 there was a significant increase in cumulative attendance over the three days of the MotoGP weekend. During Rossi’s playing days, walking around in Mugello wearing a red number 93 shirt was not advisable, nor was it advisable for Misano. But after the pandemic, the situation in this regard has eased. Marc Marquez went from being the dominator to being a very sparsely represented person on the podium. He has not been involved in the fight for the title decision since 2019.
Entry prices 2019 – Mugello the most expensive GP in comparison
The World Championship status in all classes before the 6th round in Mugello
Review of the Italian GP 2022
With Francesco Bagnaia, the future world champion won last year, less than a second ahead of his strongest opponent at the time, Fabio Quartararo. They were followed by Aprilia Hoffnung Aleix Espargaró and on the Pramac Ducati Johann Zarco as the strongest private pilot. A podium for Yamaha ace Quartararo is unlikely this season. At least it doesn’t look as if the Japanese manufacturer will get its problems with this year’s M1 under control anytime soon. In terms of pace, it could in principle be enough for the top 5, but with the current difficulties with a fast lap, the fast man from Nice cannot be expected to have a good starting position. As in the first five rounds of the season, Fabio will have to complain about a handicap that can hardly be made up for, which makes it impossible for him to achieve top positions. In this respect, the winner of 2021 for the Italian GP is automatically considered an outsider.
The many favorites for one of the two race wins
It’s a long list of riders who could potentially win sprint races and Grands Prix at Mugello. Starting with the two world championship leaders Marco Bezzecchi and Francesco Bagnaia (both Ducati) through their brand colleagues Jorge Martin, Johann Zarco, Luca Marini and Enea Bastianini to the two KTM hopes Brad Binder and Jack Miller. While Miguel Oliveira is still feeling the effects of his injuries in Portugal and Jerez, his Aprilia colleagues Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales are also among the contenders. Even Marc Marquez on the Honda shouldn’t be written off too early if the 6-time MotoGP World Champion stays on his Honda. With Danilo Petrucci on the factory Ducati, a surprise man even won in the last season before the Covid pandemic in 2019, which is also conceivable this year. Pol Espargaró on the Gas-Gas, pardon KTM, as we explained after his crash at the season opener in Portugal, it definitely won’t be. The brother of Aprilia works rider Aleix will have to be patient for his return for some time.
Mugello Grand Prix schedule
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