Marc Marquez will try to win his fourth MotoGP race in a row on Sunday, June 3, as the Italian Grand Prix takes place at the Mugello Circuit in Tuscany.
The four-time world champion has been in untouchable form of late and has built a significant lead in the overall standings. He hasn’t won in Italy since 2014, however, so there is at least some hope for his rivals to fight back this time around.
Here is a look at the race schedule:
Saturday, June 2
8:55 a.m. BST/3:55 a.m. ET: Free Practice
12:30 a.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET: Free Practice
1:10 p.m. BST/8:10 a.m. ET: Qualifying
Sunday, June 3
1 p.m. BST/8 a.m. ET ET: Race
Is there any way to look past Marquez? The 25-year-old cruised to yet another win in France to take his championship lead to 36 points, with compatriot Maverick Vinales the closest behind.
The Spaniard made history in the process, equaling Casey Stoner’s 38 GP wins:
Marquez’s recipe for success is no big secret―the defending world champion rarely gives up a lead, so he’ll gun for the top spot early and ride a nearly flawless race once he gets there.
The good news for the rest of the pack is Mugello doesn’t appear to suit the Spaniard, as he can’t make full use of the pace of his Honda in the swooping first and final sectors.
Here is a look at the track on board a Yamaha, showcasing the long straight and slow-speed corners on both ends of it:
The top man in Italy over the last decade has been Jorge Lorenzo, who has won five of the last seven races at Mugello.
The Spaniard has been inconsistent at best this season, however, and sits just 14th in the standings. He finished sixth in France after leading the race.
His future at Ducati is up in the air at this point, as he’s been consistently beaten by some of his team-mates this season. MotoGP expert David Emmett is unsure how the situation will play out:
If there’s one track where Lorenzo has a good chance of bouncing back and gaining some momentum, it’s Mugello. Whether Ducati can hold up their end of the deal is another matter.
Johann Zarco sits just one point behind Vinales in the overall standings―leaving him 37 behind Marquez―and has finished on the podium in two of the five races so far. He retired in France, the result of a crash after he approached the race a little too aggressively:
He showed great pace, however, and should learn from that mistake. Zarco is still relatively new to MotoGP―it’s only his second year in the top class―and chasing a maiden win he seems destined to find at some point this season.
It could happen in Italy, where Marquez has struggled and Vinales has never won.