After two race-free weekends, the MotoGP World Championship returns to Italy for the thirteenth round of the season – the San Marino Grand Prix – at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli circuit just an hour’s drive away from Ducati headquarters in Borgo Panigale.
Although the last race at Silverstone for Andrea Dovizioso ended with a nasty crash at the first corner, morale in the Ducati Team is high and the two factory riders are ready to tackle the last three months of the championship with optimism. After reabsorbing the physical scars suffered in the British GP, Dovizioso will this weekend try and repeat the results of the last two years at Misano: in 2018 he dominated the race right from the early stages to score one of the finest wins of his career, while in 2017, in pouring rain, he crossed the line in third place.
Danilo Petrucci has also already been on the podium at Misano. The rider from Terni in central Italy finished second in 2017 aboard the Pramac Racing Team Desmosedici GP and this year is determined to improve on the results of the last few races at the Romagna circuit. During the two days of testing held just over one week ago at the same circuit, Petrucci lapped with a good feeling and finished with the second quickest time.
Misano will also see another appearance by Michele Pirro, who is entered in the race as a wild card with a third Desmosedici GP of the Ducati Test Team. It will be the second GP of the season for Pirro, after the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello where he finished seventh.
In the Riders’ standings, despite his DNF at Silverstone, Dovizioso remains in second place with 172 points (78 behind leader Márquez) while Petrucci is now fourth with 145 points, 4 behind Álex Rins. In the Teams’ classification the Ducati Team is still in the lead with 317 points, 36 points clear, and Ducati still lies second in the Constructors’ standings behind Honda.
Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 2nd (172 points)
“After the incident in England I’m lucky to be able to take part in the San Marino GP without any physical problems, because my Silverstone crash was a really big one and the consequences could have been much worse. During the two days of testing I was still not 100% fit, but now I’m fine, I feel in shape and am really anxious to race at this circuit, which for me is special, close to my home and where I’m sure that the support of the fans will be fantastic. The aim is to repeat the results of the last two seasons when we got onto the podium and we were competitive all through the weekend”.
Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 4th (145 points)
“Racing in Italy is something unique and if you do it with an Italian bike like Ducati it’s even more special. In the last few races we’ve been some way off the podium but after the good feeling I had in the test a few days ago here at Misano I can say that I’m ready to do a weekend at the top. It won’t be easy because also our rivals did a couple of days of testing and they will surely be ready, but I was really satisfied with the feeling I found with the bike and so I’m very confident. Let’s see if the track conditions are similar to the ones we had in the test, because it’ll be vitally important to be able to interpret them in the best possible way and also the tyre wear”.
Michele Pirro (#51 Ducati Team) – 22nd (9 points)
“Finally Misano is here and I’ve got an opportunity to do another race in MotoGP. At Mugello I was quite satisfied with my result even though I think that I could have finished a bit higher up. My aim is to help the team, but I also want to prove to myself that I can always be competitive in the races. After two days of testing we know that the track temperature and tyre management will be key factors to get a good result this weekend, and we’re confident we can do a good race on Sunday”.
The Ducati Team riders will be out on track at Misano on Friday 13th September at 09.55 for the first free practice session. The race is scheduled for Sunday 15th September at 14.00 CET, over a distance of 27 laps.