Bradley Smith is hoping his solid record at Mugello will stand him in good stead for the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM tomorrow.
The 23-year-old MotoGP star, from Forest Hill, near Oxford, won at the track from pole position in 2009 when riding in the 125cc class.
He was also third in 2011 on the Tech3 Moto2 bike, and his fourth-place finish the following year was his best result of the season.
In his first year in MotoGP in 2013, he finished ninth as Jorge Lorenzo claimed victory.
Smith, who is ninth in the championship standings for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team behind leader Marc Marquez, will be looking to step up on his tenth-placed finish in France last time out.
He said: “After a tricky race at Le Mans I am ready and excited for Mugello which is one of my favourite tracks.
“I really like the nature of the circuit plus Yamaha is the most successful MotoGP manufacturer at this track, so we must feel confident.
“The crowd is always amazing, also the track is fantastic so I am ready to fight for success.”
Smith’s weekend got off to a slippery start with a minor downpour of rain leading to him sitting out second practice.
He was expecting to improve on his time in first practice, which saw finish tenth with a best lap of 1min 49.03secs – just over a second off the pace set by Marquez.
Smith said: “I am pretty happy with how things went this morning, and we have definitely improved a lot with certain aspects of the bike since Le Mans.”
2:00pm Friday 19th December 2014
BRIAN Howard’s situation at Oxford United is unclear after head coach Michael Appleton admitted he did not know whether the midfielder would be offered an extension to his short-term contract.
12:33pm Friday 19th December 2014
PIRI Weepu returns to the London Welsh starting line-up for tomorrow's Aviva Premiership fixture with Saracens at Allianz Park (KO 3pm).
12:00pm Friday 19th December 2014
JOSH Ashby is good enough to play in Oxford United’s side right now, but the teenager knows his time will come, according to head coach Michael Appleton.
9:40am Friday 19th December 2014
RONNIE Moore is braced for a tough first game in charge of Hartlepool United after comparing opponents Oxford United to Real Madrid.
9:30am Friday 19th December 2014
John Campbell admits it would be difficult to keep his kit on if he was able to make an impact on debut for Oxford United tomorrow.
Interactive match preview: Appleton and Hylton on goals; Moore likens United to Real Madrid; Howard's future; Ashby; club stalwart departs + video
9:34am Friday 19th December 2014
Get ready for kick-off with our interactive preview of Oxford United's trip to Hartlepool
9:10am Friday 19th December 2014
THERE were times earlier this season when it felt like Danny Hylton was scoring in every game, but Oxford United’s top scorer is not getting weighed down by a sudden barren run in front of goal.
9:00am Friday 19th December 2014
FINDING a predator to turn dominance into goals has been an Achilles’ heel for Oxford United this season, but Michael Appleton is hopeful two candidates will emerge over the festive period.
8:00am Friday 19th December 2014
ABOUT 150 supporters have taken advantage of Oxford United’s offer of free transport to tomorrow’s game at Hartlepool United.
7:30am Friday 19th December 2014
North Leigh boss Mark Gee admitted he is ‘wary’ of struggling Wantage Town as his side travel to Alfredian Park in Division 1 South & West of the Evo-Stik Southern League tomorrow, writes Matthew Bruce.