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GP Week : Issue 13
M oto GP ITALY >> HAS corporate greed and organisational timidity ruined the Italian GP? It certainly looked that way during practice. In the past, many passionate Italian fans have flocked to Mugello for the whole three days, with numbers redoubled on Saturday. This year, the roads were free, the hillsides and grandstands far from crowded, and the atmosphere slightly bleak. Was it the weather that had kept them away? Or was it the price of tickets – jacked up to almost 200 Euros for the weekend, and almost 100 Euros for Sunday alone: close to Formula One levels. Sunday came up with a very different picture, however. The official crowd figure of 96,252 was more than 10,000 up on last year. It must have been the weather. But the dead hand of corporate involvement was much in evidence. There was the Yamaha grandstand, all dressed in blue. And the Ducati grandstand. All in red, obviously. Not to mention the yellow of the Rossi fans, packing the hills over the Casanova-Savelli corner set. It’s a far cry from the great old days of Mugello. Not that long ago, fans would bring stationary car engines with megaphone exhausts, and have revving contests through the night. This antisocial practice was stamped out by the organisers, while liquor sales in the area were suspended on Saturday night to further calm things down. The biggest problem for organisers was the post-race track invasion, and higher prices introduced over the past few years were meant to limit crowd numbers, and make control easier. In the end, the essential madness of motorcycle racing in Italy prevailed. In spite of all the corporate entertainment and pastel-coloured liveries; in spite of all the efforts of the police and marshals, the crowd invasion went ahead just the same as ever! Thankfully, the conclusion is that the Italian GP is alive and well. Mugello Madness: muted but still alive 35