Ducati will be back in normal 'Mission Winnow' branding for its home Italian MotoGP at Mugello this weekend.

But perhaps 'Mission Stop Marquez' would be more appropriate, as the Italian factory seeks to halt the increasingly ominous form by the reigning world champion.

Marquez has led 84 of the 119 racing laps so far this season, won three of the five races and been beaten on track only once, losing out by a margin of just 0.023s to Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso in the Qatar season-opener.

Dovizioso, who unlike Marquez has finished every race, is only eight points behind the Honda rider heading into Mugello, but sounded the alarm after again being unable to prevent the #93 escaping last time at Le Mans.

And while Ducati has won at Mugello for the past two seasons, courtesy of Jorge Lorenzo (2018) and Dovizioso (2017), they will not be able to count on a clear top speed advantage over Honda this year.

"To arrive at Mugello after a result such as the one we achieved at Le Mans, with three Ducati in the top four positions, is certainly positive even though we aim for more," said Dovizioso, who will celebrate his 300th GP start at Mugello.

"This is our home race and I believe we can be competitive and fast, so our goal is first of all to step on the podium once again. As we've seen in these first races, this year our rivals are also particularly fast, so it's difficult to make predictions.

"As for us, we will not settle for what we achieved so far and we'll try our best, analyzing the data, to keep working and understand where we can make further improvements.

"I hope the weather is good, because I have great expectations for this round."

Team-mate Danilo Petrucci, who celebrated his first podium in factory Ducati colours in Le Mans, has a best Mugello result of third in 2017.

"I always have good sensations when it's time to race at Mugello. I'm very happy because I'll ride 'at home', on what is my favourite circuit and a good track to exploit the potential of the Desmosedici GP, as we've seen in recent years," said Petrucci, fifth in the world championship and seeking to consolidate his seat for 2020.

"I think this round represents a good chance for us to have a strong performance, and I'm really happy to tackle it after taking my first podium of the year at Le Mans, which gave us confidence.

"Both myself and my whole team are really excited and motivated for this race, which always helps, and the goal is to fight for top positions once again."

Test rider Michele Pirro will be making a wild-card appearance this weekend and aiming to make his 100th grand prix start, having been forced to miss last year's race after a huge practice accident.

"I'm happy to get back to racing in MotoGP in a track such as Mugello, for the Italian Grand Prix. I feel great and physically in shape, I had good sensations riding the Desmosedici GP during the tests done a few days ago on the Tuscan track," Pirro said.

"I'll ride without pressure this weekend, I'm confident I have done all I could to make sure I'm ready and I'll try to help Andrea and Danilo achieve the best possible result. It will surely be a weekend full emotions, which I'm happy to share with all our fans. I'm still here, one year after, ready to give my best."

Ducati currently leads the teams' world championship and is second to Honda in the manufacturers' standings.

 

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