Darryn Binder Takes P1 today, as Pedro Acosta sits in 16th.
There’s always an air of excitement when the MotoGP paddock arrives in Mugello, and rightly so. This is arguably the best circuit on the calendar. Set in the Tuscan Hills of Italy with it’s winding, flowing and fast corners, there’s always great races at Mugello.
The first turn San Donato is always a fantastic spectacle, as the field drops down off the crest after a very long straight. They plunge down the hill at Casanova Savelli, which is the most spectacular set of corners on the calendar. The Arribbiata (translates simply as angry) corners are always incredible to watch, as the riders climb uphill, and there’s always the question of whether you want to be leading onto the front straight on the last lap, because the leader is almost guaranteed to be beaten to the line. It was sorely missed by all MotoGP fans last year, but we return in 2021 with a very competitive Moto3 field.
In 2019, Tony Arbolino was the winner, in an incredibly tight race from 2019 Moto3 World Champion Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Jaume Masia and Niccolo Antonelli. The Italian riders traditionally go well here, but without the huge, passionate crowd in attendance, it further levels the playing field in 2021.
With Arbolino and Dalla Porta in Moto2 these days, the highest placed riders from 2019’s race in Moto3 are Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Jaume Masia and Esponsorama Avintia rider Niccolo Antonelli. Masia struggled to get a decent lap today in FP1, but managed to put it in 3rd place right at the end of the first session.
Flying the flag for Italy today were Andrea Migno – who finished FP1 top of the pile, but dropped to 8th overall – and Romano Fenati who was 2nd, but dropped to 4th at the end of Day 1. Both of the former VR46 Racing Team riders seem to be in good form this weekend, so will definitely be ones to look out for come Sunday. But the highest placed Italian at the end of the day was Leopard Racing’s Dennis Foggia. Another ex VR46 Racing Team rider was 2nd at the end of the day after a brilliant FP2 performance. He’s been very inconsistent this year, but is looking to turn that around at home this weekend.
Turkish rider Deniz Oncu has made big steps over the past couple of rounds, and his brilliant performances continued today with his FP1 time putting him up the sharp end in 6th. He dropped only to 7th in FP2 and overall.
South African Darryn Binder finished top at the end of Day 1 with a good lap in FP2. The master of qualifying game-playing will be wanting to put it near the front on Saturday, to stand a strong chance of good points on Sunday, after falling out of the race in Le Mans last time out.
Championship leading rookie, Pedro Acosta had a very mediocre day, and is sat in 16th. He has been pretty absent so far this weekend, but judging by recent form, he’s in with a shout almost every weekend… even when he falls off!
Petronas Sprinta Racing rider John McPhee is 3rd at the end of Day 1, after a stronger looking performance than in Le Mans. So, he’ll be looking for at least a podium-paying spot in the race.
Valentino Rossi has entered a couple of wildcards this weekend seeing as it’s an Italian race. They are in the form of Elia Bartolini and Alberto Sulla on board the Team Bardahl VR46 Riders Academy KTMs, and finished the day in 19th and 23rd, respectively. Very impressive from the youngsters, who will not care about who they are barging out of the way on Sunday.
Other strong performers today were Gabri Rodrigo, who finished the day in 5th, and Tatsuki Suzuki who was in 6th. Both riders look up for the fight this weekend.
Tomorrow will be a very interesting day, with all riders going faster tomorrow morning in FP3 and then going all-out in qualifying. There’s a possibility of rain on Sunday, so tomorrow will be very important to get themselves into a good position on the grid. If Le Mans is anything to go by, wet conditions make the race very unpredictable. Looks like it’s going to be a good one!
Moto3 Free Practice 3 begins tomorrow at 09:00 Local Time (GMT +2).
Feature Image: MotoGP.com