Top 15 riders fast enough to win at Mugello last season

The top 15 riders at this year’s Italian MotoGP - including Yamaha’s Alex Rins - were fast enough to have won the 2023 race.

Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 Italian MotoGP
Francesco Bagnaia, 2024 Italian MotoGP

The jump in MotoGP performance this season was epitomised by the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello.

The top 15 riders across the finish line on June 2nd completed the 23-lap distance faster than Francesco Bagnaia’s race-winning time from June 11, 2023.

That included Yamaha’s Alex Rins, in 15th, who set a race time of 41m 14.998s compared with Bagnaia’s victorious 41m 16.863s the year before.

Unfortunately for Rins and Yamaha, Bagnaia, winner of both races for Ducati, improved by 25.478s, leaving Rins 23.613s behind at the chequered flag.

It was a similar story for race times in the Sprint, with Bagnaia’s 2023 winning time beaten by the top eleven riders this year.

“The level is so high, we have to push a lot, the times are crazy fast,” said title leader Jorge Martin. “In the Sprint, we did the lap time from qualifying three years ago.

“But it's normal now. Tyres are better, and the bikes are better.”

Among the biggest personal year-on-year improvements at Mugello was by Maverick Vinales, some 33-seconds faster for Aprilia in the Grand Prix this year: “But… only P8! I'd like to improve by 45-seconds so I win the race!”

Vinales added: “[Ducati] did a step. I don't know if it's occasionally like Mugello, but in Le Mans also I did a really good race and was only P5! So we need to make a step. 

"Let's see in Assen, a track that can suit can better our bike than Mugello.”

Asked where he thinks Ducati’s 2024 race time progress is coming from, Vinales replied: “I think one point is they make the soft tyre last until the end, with a lot of performance.

“So that's a sign. We need to see if we are putting a lot of temperature on the rear tyre or not. We need to understand.

“What I feel is that after 5 laps with the soft, I feel it very hot and then I start to lose traction and especially I lose the grip going into the corners. So that's my problem. So we need to work on that.”

Aprilia’s technical director Romano Albesiano highlighted that “Maverick didn't have a good performance [at Mugello] last year, so this [33sec] number can be a bit ‘disguised’.”

But he also confirmed: “It looks like the [rear Michelin] tyre this year has changed more than was expected.

“Sometimes we have vibration [chatter] too.... But honestly, we had more last year. Our bike in general benefits from the new tyre, so [the change is] OK for us.”

Over at KTM, rookie and top RC16 rider Pedro Acosta explained that he and the factory have put in a lot of work to avoid chatter from the extra grip of the revised rear tyre.

“Since Le Mans, we are able to avoid it, in one way or another,” Acosta said. “It's true that we were working massively in this area, the factory and also me, to try to avoid it with my riding style.

“It's still not super natural for me, it's also true that it's not the easiest way to ride for me, but it's a way to avoid [the chatter].

“I need to be a little bit more smooth in some parts of the track,” he added of how he is adapting to avoid triggering the vibration. “Maybe there are some points that I could be better in the entry, for example, but then if this [chatter] problem arrives, this problem would be worse on the exit.

“With this super powerful bike, we need to try to be super fast [on the exit and] in the straight, to gain time for free. I'm trying to do that, like I say it's not the easiest way for me, but it's coming better.”

Otherwise, Acosta's only request is "to try to have a little bit more weight in both tyres to have a little bit more [grip]."

Italian MotoGP: 2024 vs 2023 race times (23 laps)

1Francesco Bagnaia(DUCATI)40m 51.385s2024
2Enea Bastianini(DUCATI)40m 52.184s2024
3Jorge Martin(DUCATI)40m 52.309s2024
4Marc Marquez(DUCATI)40m 53.449s2024
5Pedro Acosta(KTM)40m 58.886s2024
6Franco Morbidelli(DUCATI)41m 1.275s2024
7Fabio Di Giannantonio(DUCATI)41m 1.461s2024
8Maverick Viñales(APRILIA)41m 3.068s2024
9Alex Marquez(DUCATI)41m 4.92s2024
10Brad Binder(KTM)41m 7.286s2024
11Aleix Espargaro(APRILIA)41m 10.567s2024
12Raul Fernandez(APRILIA)41m 11.692s2024
13Marco Bezzecchi(DUCATI)41m 11.731s2024
14Miguel Oliveira(APRILIA)41m 14.677s2024
15Alex Rins(YAMAHA)41m 14.998s2024
16Francesco Bagnaia(DUCATI)41m 16.863s2023
17Jorge Martin(DUCATI)41m 17.93s2023
18Johann Zarco(DUCATI)41m 18.84s2023
19Jack Miller(KTM)41m 19.802s2024
20Pol Espargaro(KTM)41m 20.163s2024
21Luca Marini(DUCATI)41m 21.488s2023
22Fabio Quartararo(YAMAHA)41m 22.007s2024
23Johann Zarco(HONDA)41m 22.842s2024
24Luca Marini(HONDA)41m 23.695s2024
25Brad Binder(KTM)41m 25.788s2023
26Aleix Espargaro(APRILIA)41m 27.771s2023
27Jack Miller(KTM)41m 27.862s2023
28Marco Bezzecchi(DUCATI)41m 29.517s2023
29Enea Bastianini(DUCATI)41m 33.965s2023
30Franco Morbidelli(YAMAHA)41m 34.473s2023
31Fabio Quartararo(YAMAHA)41m 34.724s2023
32Maverick Viñales(APRILIA)41m 35.973s2023
33Lorenzo Savadori(APRILIA)41m 38.109s2024
34Takaaki Nakagami(HONDA)41m 38.81s2023
35Fabio Di Giannantonio(DUCATI)41m 42.769s2023
36Augusto Fernandez(KTM)41m 43.363s2023
37Michele Pirro(DUCATI)41m 47.013s2023
38Raul Fernandez(APRILIA)41m 54.864s2023
39Lorenzo Savadori(APRILIA)41m 55.525s2023
40Jonas Folger(KTM)42m 35.775s2023

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