Alex Hofmann's MotoGP Round Up from Mugello

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Well I think that was the best race of the year so far for the Ducati boys by a long way!

Finally we had a constant weekend in terms of conditions, the weather was hot and remained constant in every way, and even the wind was always at their back which was great for top speed.

The weekend as a whole was a good one overall, especially looking at the race. Both Ducatis in the end were almost fighting for a podium spot and that, I think, was more than what was expected. The times in the race were also very close.

There was still a little bit of a problem – especially for Valentino Rossi – at the start and having new tyres and not a lot of grip, but from mid-race to the end I'd say they were on a very good pace for the podium. In the end they were closing in on Stefan Bradl and Andrea Dovizioso, and Nicky Hayden was a little bit unlucky getting the pass back from Stefan, which was a hard but fair one. So he lost his chance of getting fourth, and even third, because he was pushing for it at that moment.

I think a weekend like that was really needed for the team. We know that the bike has done so many laps at Mugello during its development and that at the next race things may look a little bit worse, but it was very important they weren't that far off the pace, especially with the Hondas. Jorge Lorenzo wasn’t just in in his own league all weekend; it's fair to say he was on a different planet! But the bike was there for Ducati and they were doing well and if the race distance would have been five laps longer both Valentino and Nicky would have been top five, and I think that's all that counts.

I also think a weekend like that probably makes the decision for Valentino to stay with Ducati easier. We saw the fans were going crazy towards the end of the race when he was closing in, and they still need him on a fast bike. It's not far off, things are getting better, I'm not sure what Ducati wanted but a front row start for Héctor Barberá on a private Ducati is still front row, and both factory riders were up front in the race. I think that while it didn't set the world on fire it was certainly very good progress.

They are testing at Mugello on Monday and I think that's very important. Again the weather is good so that's four days in a row where they're working with the riders on the bike, so I'm sure they'll bring something and they have the direct comparison with the weekend's findings which will be very, very useful. If they find something that works they can compare it to a race situation, and both riders have just ridden here on this track. Hopefully they have something in their pockets that's going to work better, so there's a chance we'll see that for the next race on. We'll have to wait and see.

Going to Laguna Seca now I think Nicky is going to be extra motivated, no question or doubts, he is always fast there so he will be on pace and Valentino likes the track too. I think there's nothing that should stand in their way of making it work there so I would expect them to be closing in on the podium spots and be involved in the top six, that would be the target and I think it's possible from now on.