by Amy Dargan, MotoGP Paddock Reporter
The magic of Mugello strikes again. This has not been said for the first time but if you are a MotoGP fan, the Italian GP has to be number one on your bucket list. It's every bit the spectacle from the moment you walk in. You’ll see numerous posts from paddock folk of the infamous ‘stairs shot’ as you walk in from the parking area while the hospitality areas, trucks and team offices glistening in the sunlight.
Then there’s the circuit itself that weaves and curves among the hills that, come Sunday, are a sea of roaring fans. The smell of the yellow smoke bombs hit the back of your throat; it truly is a party for your senses. However, if you do fancy booking your seat for 2018 then avoid the classic over-ambitious mistake, don’t book your return flight on a Sunday.I’ve never felt so uplifted by three incredible races. If you didn’t tune in for the Moto3 & Moto2 races you missed out. The slipstream at Mugello makes Moto3 a complete lottery. You don’t even have time to blink.
The winner of Moto3, Andrea Migno, is one of VR46’s Academy crew, it was his debut win and you can imagine the home fans reaction to see one of Valentino’s protégés take first blood. I won’t lie by the end of Moto2 when we saw Italian win number two with Mattia Passini, everyone was so revved up for the main event that there was a bit of pressure for it to deliver a finale worthy of Italian GP legend.
No one need to have worried. Rossi, Vinales and Lorenzo sent the crowd into a frenzy on the opening laps. It flashed into my mind about what would happen if Lorenzo took the win, the crowds had both booed and roared when he appeared on the big screens like he was some pantomime villain despite riding for their own (Ducati) this season.
I really like Jorge so I always feel like I should defend him. He dropped off from the front pack so that tale will wait for another day but as the battle rolled on and forward came the Ducati's of Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci I physically couldn’t sit on my seat properly. We have those twirly office chairs in the TV compound and I had my legs up around my chin, almost falling off the side twice!By now you’ll be aware of the result, hats off to Vale. I saw one of his crew later on in the evening and he verified what we all had thought, he just didn’t have enough for the remaining part of the race. Getting yourself through practice and quali sessions when you’re feeling a little beaten up is one thing but racing a full distance which is so physically demanding, and hot, is a whole other story. To be totally British about it – what a lad!
I’ve told you before how much I love the Top 3 interview room when the guys are fresh off the podium and Sunday was no exception. Dovi, having just cemented himself in Ducati’s history books; an Italian rider, on an Italian machine, on top of the podium at the Italian Grand Prix, had just got himself together again but within seconds of being asked about what had just happened his eyes welled up. He looked completely drained, you know when someone says they’re sick but they look pretty normal, he looked like a Duracell battery that had about a minutes worth of power left.
I know I say this all the time too but honestly he is the nicest guy and he’s totally engaging, whenever he explains anything to me I find myself hanging on to every word even if it’s an 'around the houses' answer to avoid your question.
For some reason I expected Maverick to be disappointed but he was quite the opposite and when I asked him whether he had started to run into trouble when we saw the couple of mistakes coming in towards the end, he chuckled “not at all, I was really pushing, really pushing.”
When Danilo came over to my side of the pen I had to remind him about the previous day when I’d gone to see him after qualifying and he was so understandably disappointed that he’d missed out on his first ever front row start by having his lap time cancelled, he was gutted. What a difference a day made, racing is nuts, as Danilo and all the other riders know it can leave you on the floor in despair or it can rocket you sky high to a day like Danilo’s which he described as “the best day of his life so far”.
See you in Catalunya this weekend!
Who is Amy?
Amy is one of MotoGP’s official roving reporters hunting down the riders, their managers, crew chiefs and paddock personalities at every Grand Prix. This season she'll be filling BikeSocial readers in on the story lines in between the racing lines.
Amy is all about two wheels coming from three years covering the MXGP championship before embarking on her third season in MotoGP, she'll also be the pit lane reporter at selected Speedway Grand Prix this year.