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Prada Cup finalists excited for 'epic' sailing duel to begin

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INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa both say they are as ready as they can be, hours before the start of the Prada Cup final. Source: 1 NEWS

That is the message from members of the two Prada Cup finalists, hours from the start of the first race.

INEOS Team UK and Luna Rossa believe they are both "as ready as can be", as they prepare to go head-to-head and try and book a place in the America's Cup against Team New Zealand.

While Luna Rossa skipper Max Sirena said his team were definite underdogs earlier this week, fellow teammate Pierluigi de Felice said this morning the Italians would be "very sharp" in the first two races today.

"We’ve done all the improvement we want in the boat in the time we had.

"[We've] been training really hard the last ten days since we finished our semi final.

"We've been sharpening all our manoeuvres ... our execution."

INEOS Team UK has had three weeks off since finishing top of the round robin and progressing straight through to today's final.

Team member Joey Newton said his side had spent most of that time working on the boat, making small modifications to try and get it as fast as possible.

Today would be an important measurer, but not the deciding day of the best-of-13 contest.

"We’re going out there to win today and we hope to win but it’s a long series," Newton said.

"There’s lots of races, we’re racing a really good team, a strong team, so we’re just going to go out there, race the best we can and come in with the results we get."

INEOS Team UK have made strong strides throughout the cup, after a disappointing showing in the Prada Christmas Race, and Newton credited the influence of his skipper Sir Ben Ainslie for the turnaround.

"Ben leads from the front and he leads by example, he’s the perfect guy to be in charge of our team.

"We had a lot of problems over the Christmas regatta and that’s no secret.

"Ben’s motivation and his intensity and his energy is really what’s turned this team around. We all live off that."

Much has been spoken of the two teams and their ability in the prestart, and both Newton and de Felice expected plenty of fireworks in the final.

"I think it's going to be epic sailing," de Felice said.

"It's going to be epic in the prestart."

"I think in the prestarts you will see a lot of fireworks," Newton agreed.

"I think it's going to be pretty cool to watch."