Bastianini sought to cheer the fans back on the Italian MotoGP – Sport

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MUGELLO: Enea Bastianini will be hoping to get spectators back to Italian MotoGP on Sunday with a win and potentially overtake defending champion and series leader Fabio Quartararo in the standings.

Bastianini – known as the ‘beast’ – came to Mugello with a win in the French MotoGP and became the only driver this season to win more than one race.

The 24-year-old Ducati-Gresini driver has won three of seven races but is in third place in the championship and follows Quartararo with eight points.

The Italian admitted he was hungry for success at home races where spectators returned for the first time in three years.

“At Mugello, even though I feel good there, I still don’t like standing on the podium,” said Bastianini, who bested in eight previous appearances in all categories at the Tuscany circuit in fifth place in the 2015 Moto3 race.

“Who knows this is my year.”

Quartararo owes the lead in the title race due to consistency as he was the only Portuguese MotoGP number on the victory field but returned to the track where he won the award last year.

The 23 -year -old Frenchman, however, was frustrated after coming out of the top three in his home race two weeks ago.

Yamaha has been found wanting to speed up the straight road and could prove its Achilles heel this weekend because the Mugello is more than a kilometer long.

“All I can do is give my best,” he said Thursday.

“But I’m sure, this is one of my favorite tracks, even if it can be tough when you’re in a bad position.

“There are still 13 races (this year’s Finnish MotoGP canceled on Wednesday) so it’s still a long way off and there’s no particular pressure at the moment.”

‘Everyone can be wrong’

The closest hunter to Quartararo in the standings is Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, who is without four points and got a boost on Thursday by signing a contract extension until 2024 with Aprilia.

One of the drivers who wants to prove his point and return to contention is another Italian Francesco Bagnaia.

The Ducati driver – who was runner -up at last season’s championship – has yet to reach his best performance and was left behind after the French MotoGP when he collapsed while fighting for victory with Bastianini.

“Everyone can make mistakes. I have time to learn from it, and Mugello is without a doubt the best place to come back,” Bagnaia, 25, said Thursday.

Bagnaia – who are 46 points from Quartararo – and Bastianini, though, will take the bill twice on Saturday as legendary team -mate Valentino Rossi becomes the center of attention.

The 43 -year -old – fondly known as the “Doctor” – has started his career in the sports car racing series (GT World Challenge Europe) after nine world titles in all categories.

He will appear in the afternoon as bike number 46 has officially retired.