Mugello was no strange track to me as I have ridden the Italian championship in the past. It’s a fantastic track. During the first free practice I quickly realized that the gear ratio was too short as this is a track where you are almost constantly in a slipstream on the long straight and then it’s certainly not convenient to have a short gear ratio. Still, it went quite well and I had a good feeling on the bike.
I used the second Free Practice to learn how to ride consistent lap times with the long gear ratio. That went quite well and therefore I went into Qualifying feeling strong. During Qualifying everyone is focussed to be able to make the right lap with a good slipstream on the straight. I managed to do that once and this put me in a 7th starting place. Honestly, I expected a little bit better position but from P7 everything is still possible.
Race 1 was a tricky race where rain started to drizzle down before the start and throughout the race. It wasn't nearly enough for rain tires because the track almost didn't get wet. I had a good start and went into the first corner fourth. I was obviously careful given the conditions but I felt good and as I felt it was possible I decided to ride offensively.
I was able to lead the race a couple of times and could remain up front for a while. I know in Mugello you have to choose a good position in the last laps because the finish line is far away from the last corner and a good exit with slipstream is important to have a good finish. So far the theory, unfortunately for me it didn't quite work as I planned and I finished in a disappointing 11th position.
Race 2 was difficult. Not because of the weather – it was dry - but because we had received the terrible message that Jason Dupasquier had passed away following his injuries sustained in a crash the day before.
Although difficult, I knew it was important to try and keep my focus.
Again I had a good start and I was able to remain close to the front during the race. I also had my plan ready for the last two rounds. When entering the first corner I was in a good position, following my plan. And then ……. unfortunately a fellow rider almost had a highsider in front of me that caused the group to break. I had to avoid him and from that moment on it was important to make the best out of it and I had to be satisfied with a 7th place.
I had the speed to be on the podium in both races but it wasn’t to be.
Having said that, talking about results seems a bit meaningless when thinking about Jason. Sadness overshadows by far any possible disappointment of this weekend’s results. My thoughts are with Jason’s family, friends and his team and I wish them strength to deal with this huge, tragic loss.