Briefly ousted by Francesco Bagnaia at Jerez, Fabio Quartararo is back in the MotoGP world championship lead by a single point heading into this weekend's Italian round.

The Frenchman regained the top spot in the title race with third in mixed weather conditions at his home Le Mans round, crossing the line one place ahead of the Ducati rider.

But the Mugello circuit, absent from last year's Covid calendar, has been ruled by Desmosedicis for the previous three events and the long straight is likely to expose Yamaha's top speed deficit more than ever.

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"Realistically speaking, we always expect the Italian GP to be a hard-fought race," said team director Massimo Meregalli. "We know the level will be high here, but we are planning to take advantage of certain sections of the track that suit our bike most, with the aim to fight for the podium."

Quartararo's only previous MotoGP experience at Mugello is limited to a tenth place in his rookie 2019 season.

"We weren‘t able to visit this race last year, so that makes this weekend feel a bit special besides the fact that it‘s also my team‘s home GP," he said. "We had a good weekend in Le Mans overall, and I also think our potential is good for this weekend. I‘m excited to get to work and just do the best we can."

While Quartararo has two wins and three podiums from the opening five events, Monster Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales hasn't been on the rostrum since his round one victory.

The Spaniard has slipped to fifth in the world championship, 24 points behind Quartararo, but is confident his 'time will come'.

"Right now we don’t have the best luck in MotoGP but it will come, I’m sure. We have the level and the speed. Our time will come and we will fight every race," Vinales said.

"I like Mugello a lot. It‘s one of my favourite tracks on the MotoGP calendar. I usually go very fast there. It‘s a circuit that has a bit of everything. There are points on that track where I‘m at a good level, and overall I‘m usually competitive at Mugello. I can‘t wait to start this race weekend!"

Reflecting on a disappointing tenth place in the dry-wet-dry Le Mans race, Vinales explained: "In the dry we could get back our full performance. I think if the conditions were normal, it would have been a good race for me and I could have pulled away. I felt fantastic.

"I just think Fabio had more courage on the spinning from the slicks [in the rain] and he took those seconds from us.

"The podium was there. Then I just made a mistake and lost Fabio, Marc and Miller and I was nowhere! I tried to recover places but we know that on full wet our bike is good but with less rain on track it is not so perfect for going fast. But, no excuses, I made the mistake and we paid for it.

"We have a lot of motivation for Mugello because my start was good and we had a lot of performance under my seat. Just shit weather man! Shit weather."

Vinales will also be racing as a father for this first time this weekend: