Press Release
(2005 FIM Road Racing World Championship)
MotoGP expecting warm welcome at Gran Premio Alice d'Italia

The MotoGP World Championship resumes after a two-week break this weekend as the
planet's premier motorcycles and riders head for the heart of racing fanaticism
in the hills of Tuscany, Italy. Traditionally one of the most colourful and
passionate events of the year, the Gran Premio Alice d'Italia this season
welcomes two home riders on top of the standings after four rounds, with
Valentino Rossi leading the way from Marco Melandri by 37 points - the largest
lead any rider has had at this stage of the year since 1993.

The stunning scenery of the Mugello circuit will provide the backdrop to the
latest chapter of an intriguing season as Melandri looks to add to 125cc and
250cc victories here and continue his pursuit of Yamaha's reigning World
Champion, with his Honda team-mate Sete Gibernau desperate to join the chase.
Rossi has taken three victories already this season and it is imperative that
Gibernau opens his account sooner rather than later as he looks to improve on
his status as runner-up to the Italian for the past two campaigns.

Whilst Gibernau produced his best performance of the season so far with a close
second place in the last round at Le Mans, moving up to third in the
championship, Rossi's record at his home Grand Prix is impressive, having won
twice for Honda before clinching Yamaha's first win at Mugello in over a decade
last season. The Italian is now looking to make his home circuit the sixth track
at which he has scored four MotoGP victories and the first that he has won twice
on a Yamaha.

Rossi and Melandri are not the only two riders with their sights set on home
victory, however, with Max Biaggi and Loris Capirossi both looking to ignite
their seasons after disappointing starts for Honda and Ducati respectively.
Capirossi is the only Italian rider other than Rossi to win at Mugello in the
premier-class whilst Biaggi has had more podium finishes there than any other
rider, having finished in the top three on ten occasions including his
appearances in the 250cc class.

One rider who will not be challenging for the podium this weekend is Spanish
youngster Toni Elias. After making an encouraging start to his rookie MotoGP
season, Elias crashed during a day of tests following the last round at Le Mans
and fractured the radius and scaphoid of his left wrist, also rupturing
ligaments and fracturing the outside of his left fibula. The Yamaha rider is
battling to be fit in time for his home round at Catalunya next weekend and will
be replaced at Mugello by David Checa, the reigning World Endurance Champion and
brother to MotoGP regular Carlos.

Meanwhile, Honda rider Makoto Tamada and Kawasaki's Alex Hofmann are both set to
return to MotoGP race action for the first time since missing the second round
at Estoril. Both riders have been undergoing intense physiotherapy on wrist
injuries and were replaced for the last two rounds by Jurgen Van Den Goorbergh
and Olivier Jacque respectively, Tamada making a brief appearance in the first
free practice session at Le Mans before ruling himself out for the rest of the

Honda's Dani Pedrosa arrives at the fifth round of the 250cc World Championship
looking to break a run of eight years of Aprilia dominance at a circuit he has
yet to enjoy victory in any class. The reigning World Champion recovered the
series lead by four points from Andrea Dovizioso with victory in the last round
at Le Mans but faces a stern challenge this weekend as his factory colleague
looks to respond with home glory and seal his first win in the class.

Pedrosa, who has finished in second place for the last two years at Mugello in
the 125cc and 250cc class, will also be up against another strong front from
Aprilia, who will look to defend their excellent record on home soil with Casey
Stoner, Sebastian Porto and Randy De Puniet amongst the factory riders in with a
chance of victory. Stoner, who will be making his 50th Grand Prix start, scored
his first ever Grand Prix pole at Mugello when riding in the 125cc class in 2003
whilst Porto's victory there last year was his first ever in dry conditions.

This season's 125cc World Championship is so far one of the closest in history,
with the first four rounds having been won by four different riders, including
three debut winners. The latest of those was Swiss teenager Thomas Luthi, who
took victory in the last round at Le Mans to move up to second place in the
championship, 12 points adrift of early leader Mika Kallio. The racing promises
to be as close as ever this weekend with the Mugello circuit having witnessed
one of the tightest finishes of all time in last year's 125cc race, when the top
six riders were covered by less than one second.

INFO 2005/59. 31-05-2005