Mugello 'jump' on the limit for MotoGP

'On the limit' - MotoGP riders warn Mugello will need to flatten the rise along its record 220mph main straight if speeds continue to rise.
Mugello 'jump' on the limit for MotoGP

Mugello's record 356.5km/h (221.5mph) main straight would be daunting enough if it were a flat, straight line.

Instead it has a slight kink with, most significantly, an up and downhill rise - which at maximum MotoGP speeds becomes like a jump.

"We've already spoken about this in the Safety Commission, because it's a very nice circuit that follows a natural layout and is really nice to ride, but the only critical point is the end of the straight," said world champion Marc Marquez, who was forced to bail off his Honda as it veered towards the trackside wall at 337.9km/h (209.9mph) in 2013, escaping with minor chin and shoulder injuries.

"From 2013 to 2014, we changed the wall, because I was very close there, and we were speaking about making something a bit different over the uphill [rise]. Because now you have the uphill, then you start the downhill just at the point where we brake and the bikes are shaking there.

"We were thinking and speaking about it, but we know that the bikes every year are faster and faster and for me in the future we need to do something there. We need to make it more flat, because it would be safer and the show will be the same."

Ducati's home star Andrea Dovizioso, who set the all-time top speed record during last year's event, added: "I agree with Marc. I think it's a really nice part of this track, but we are on the limit.

"I mean, I think still it's ok, but we are really on the limit. But it also depends on the rules, the winglets changed a lot in the way you have to do that part and the reaction of the bike. It affects a lot in that place, more than the track.

"But if the bikes are improving and improving the speed will be higher, I think we are really, really on the limit."

Countryman Valentino Rossi was undefeated at Mugello from 2002-2008 and race day always sees a cloud of yellow smoke from the fan-packed hillsides in support of The Doctor. The Yamaha rider would also warned the main straight is 'at the limit'.

"Mugello is a fantastic track. When you ride, the feeling is great. But it's also an old-style track, so in some points it's also dangerous because you are very fast, with not a lot of space around and the braking for the first corner is at the limit," Rossi said.

"It's very good to do, but if you arrive at 340 or 350km/h it starts to be dangerous for the 'jump'. So maybe we have to modify the straight a little bit, but I think it's not very easy. We can try to arrive at little bit slower, or try to cut a little bit the 'jump' and make it a bit more flat, if it’s possible."

Dani Pedrosa with wheels leaving the ground, Mugello 2012.

Bikes momentarily leaving the track surface as they went over the rise was more common during the pre-winglet era.

But even with the addition of downforce, the rapid change in wheel load after being momentarily weightless can cause scary headshakes that throw the brake pads away from the disc.

Brembo has helped address that issue with a new 'system' that means no pumping of the brake lever is needed to get the pads back into contact with the disc.

That system is now being used by all riders, meaning a repeat of Michele Pirro's huge 2018 practice accident - when the Italian likely locked the front wheel as he frantically pumped the lever - should be avoided.

"I think I was the first rider [to use the Brembo system] in the 2017 race," said Dovizioso. "I was lucky to use it, because I had big shaking at the end and it helped me."

Now Dovizioso uses it "everywhere" on the calendar, with Pramac Ducati's Jack Miller revealing he didn't like the feel of the initial 'anti-shake' brake system but has now also switched over.

"I didn't like the old one, but they developed a new system. I think everybody has it now," Miller said. "I think I was the last one not using it. But the new system is better."

However, LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow said he still doesn't use the special Brembo caliper system, due to the different style - and feeling - of the front brake lever.

Free practice for the 2019 Italian MotoGP starts on Friday morning.