The idyllic setting of the Piazza del Campo in Siena played host to a different type of “horsepower” on Wednesday ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM.
The Palio di Siena horse race is one of the oldest and unique traditions in Italy. Twice a year, people gather in the picturesque setting of the Piazza del Campo for a horse race with a difference, one that combines tradition with passion like no other. The first official race took place in 1644, although the event itself is much older, with teams from the 17 different regions of Siena competing against each other as fans flock from all over the world to watch the race and soak up the unique atmosphere.
This morning though, as part of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM held at the Autodromo del Mugello, the square played host to a race that was a bit more extraordinary. This time, there were only two teams in the running, the Factory Ducati Team and the Satellite Octo Pramac Racing team, with four rather different “horses” taking part in the race.
After first meeting in front of the amazing Il Duomo di Siena cathedral to chat to fans and pose for photographs, Yonny Hernandez and Danilo Petrucci joined factory riders Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso as they rode their Desmosedici bikes, mechanical horses of the modern era, for two laps around the Piazza del Campo. Although there may not have been as many competitors as the fans are used to seeing, ironically there was quite a bit more “horsepower” on display than usual, and they were treated to an incredible spectacle.
Iannone was clearly happy to be a part of something so special: “That was fantastic, there was an amazing atmosphere and I am honoured to have been involved with something that it is part of Italian history.”
While Dovizioso made sure to explain why the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM means so much to him and his Ducati Team: “A podium at Mugello is worth double, because of what it means to the team and the passion of the home fans.”
Hernandez discussed how his focus was on trying to maintain his good start to the season: “For me it is important to continue to stay in the top ten, and this is our aim at Mugello.”
His teammate Petrucci is excited to be riding a Ducati in Italy in front of the fans: “I am looking forward to good result in front of the incredibly passionate and knowledgeable home crowd!”
After completing their laps of the square, the riders also took time to meet their fans at the Palazzo Pubblico ahead of the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM, which commences with the official press conference on Thursday at 17:00 local time.