First and second in the world championship it is no coincidence: Pecco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi dominate the free practice Friday of the Italian Grand Prix. Fourth in the morning and second in the afternoon, the Mooney VR46 rider concluded the first day at Mugello only behind the reigning champion, 63 thousandths behind. He likes the Tuscan track and it shows, Bez is a candidate as the first opponent of his brand mate and the objectives are clear.
The start is decidedly good for Marco, who arrives at his home track strong from the Le Mans success and is enthusiastic about what can come out of the Mugello weekend: “It was a very good first day. In previous races I struggled more, so I’m happy to have started well. This track is very different from Le Mans, I like them both. Honestly, since I won here, I really like Le Mans, but this track is much nicer. It was a lot of fun going out on track this morning, enjoying the corners and the speed it was fantastic. Initially it was a different Friday, but then it became a Friday like any other, because if you consider it different maybe you’ll go worse. So it’s just the track that’s very nice, but it’s a very normal Friday.”
For Bez it is the second year on the Ducati of the Mooney VR46 team, and this time he faces the weekend with a different awareness, with experience behind him that allows him to manage everything in the best possible way: “I felt much stronger with the my body, because last year I was at the beginning and I was still sorting out my physical preparation for the MotoGP. I was fine, but now I feel even better, I feel the bike more in my hands, I can ride better and manage some situations better. But already last year I felt good, as well as this year, so I can’t complain.”
Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“For me, this track is too good to be old school!” explains the second in the championship, who doesn’t hide his happiness at racing on his home track. “It might be like that, but for me it’s also new school every year. Because in the end it’s a complete track, with sudden braking, fast corners, changes of direction, long corners. This track has it all, ups and downs, banked corners… for me it’s fantastic and I think with the bike we’re riding now it’s even more beautiful, because we can go very fast and the faster you go, the more fun you have”.
Once again today Bezzecchi proved to be the only one capable of countering Bagnaia’s overwhelming power, however he remains cautious and analyzes the strength of his brand mate and first rival. It won’t be easy to beat him and he realizes it after doing a few sections of the track behind him: “I crossed him twice today…he was fast, especially in some parts of the track he was much faster than me, so I’ll try to copy him. It seemed to me that I recovered a little bit in T3, but what he earned I didn’t recover all of it, so maybe he earned more. Today is only Friday, so winning in armwrestling counts for little. Sure, Friday now counts enough, because with this new format tomorrow FP3s are no longer valid for the combined. So it was important to set a decent time today, luckily I managed to do it, so it’s ok ”.
As always, the choice of tire will be crucial: “We’re doing quite well in terms of pace, I still have to fix something, but I can’t complain. There’s still something to see, because we still don’t know which tire to choose for the Sprint. The soft is better, it’s a little easier to ride because the grip is better and the bike works a little better. But obviously doing the whole race with that is very tough. Last year Bastianini tried, I think. He didn’t finish the race, but he was coming up strong… the soft can also be used for the long race, but it depends on how much you want to risk. In case of rain…we get wet! Then in the wet it’s very different, on each track it’s different, but I prefer the dry because this track is too much fun in the dry. But here the weather is also an unknown factor, so we’ll see”.
Finally, Bez smiles when asked about Valentino Rossi’s historic result, who triumphed today in the Road to Le Mans: “Unfortunately I couldn’t follow, but I knew this moment would come and I’m happy for him, now the I send a message. Among other things, perhaps it will come”.