Double race at Mugello, half satisfaction

For this first round at Mugello, of the two scheduled in the championship, I arrived with high expectations. Despite the bad luck of Vallelunga, the feeling with the bike had been very good from the start and I left with the conviction that I could aim for great results. It didn’t end up exactly as I had imagined, but a podium in the category and some successful overtaking in race 2 on Sunday afternoon kept my morale high.

The Mugello weekend starts from Thursday free practice, since the morning characterized by very high temperatures. Right after the lunch break the thermometer read almost 35 degrees for the air and over 57 for the asphalt temperature. I was on this track last time last year in August, and regaining speed right away was not easy. For the more challenging points, especially in the second sector, I feel I need a few more turns but unfortunately in the early afternoon a bad accident involving another rider brings the day to an early end.

I face the only Friday morning session with the set-up changes that had been decided with Team X-Gear for Thursday afternoon, and the chrono’s little by little over the course of the laps begin to drop. We were still far from the set goal and in the late afternoon there would be the first qualifying round. On dual race weekends like this one, qualifying is split between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning to make room for the 7-lap sprint race on Saturday afternoon. The afternoon weather is ideal: overcast skies, temperatures in the normal range and a slight favorable wind blowing down the main straight. The bike is ready and I feel good, in the first two laps I manage to pick up the pace despite the large number of riders on the track. The passes follow each other but the chrono improves too little too quickly, despite feeling faster than in the previous rounds. I close the round with a gray performance, somewhat like the cloudy sky. In the second qualifying round on Saturday, the chrono still does not improve, and termnate the session, arrived at the starting practice, the problem is glaring. Motorcycle in neutral, I pull the clutch, engage first gear and although the clutch lever is pulled the bike starts to move. The diagnosis is soon made, the clutch is completely finished. Fortunately we always have a disc pack ready to use so for the first race in the afternoon there will be no surprises.

Starting from the 26th box for both the Saturday and Sunday races I am aware that it will be very difficult to bring home great results but it is also always true that the weekend ends under the checkered flag so with the team we decide to take a few extra risks coming to the starting grid with a setup never tried in the free or qualifying sessions. Unbelievably (but not too much either with the new clutch!) I manage to get off in both races very well at the light switch-off and survive the far west of San Donato and the first two variants. Believe me, arriving in 38 bikes at the first corner after about 600 meters at full throttle creates more than one thought 😀

If in Saturday’s race I got “clogged” in the first few corners and closed poorly in P30, Sunday’s race I managed to close the first pass better and with the right pace I gained 8 positions, finishing in P18 and third in the over 30 category. Although I didn’t reach the goals I had in mind, I also bring home positive aspects from this weekend to continue working on in order to keep improving and aim for more ambitious goals.

Thank you to the whole team for the weekend’s work, to the sponsors for the indispensable support, and to all the friends and acquaintances who stopped by the pit even if only to say hello.

See you in Cremona on July 23 ready to give battle, until the end!

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