Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi will celebrate a milestone this weekend. The feisty Italian will contest his 300th Grand Prix while racing at his home track at the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM at the Mugello circuit in Italy’s Tuscan Valley.
“I’m happy to be celebrating my 300th Grand Prix here in Mugello but I’m happier to be arriving here in good shape,” said Rossi on the MotoGP website. “It’s important to keep improving, to keep working with the bike and improving my speed. I want to have a good weekend like at Le Mans and Jerez and fight for the podium.”
To date, the nine-time World Champion is the only Grand Prix rider ever to win seven consecutive races at his home track. And yet that’s exactly what he did, between the years 2002 and 2008. Although Rossi crashed out of last year’s Mugello race, he’s eager for this weekend’s round six of the series – especially considering he’s coming off two podium finishes.
“I am very happy to go to Mugello,” said Rossi. “This is a beautiful track and I like it so much. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honor. Jorge (Lorenzo) has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track.”
Currently, Rossi sits third in the overall championship. With 81 points, he’s only two shy of Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in second. Meanwhile, defending MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez controls the title chase with 125 points. Repsol Honda’s Marquez crashed out of the Mugello race last year, but he remains undefeated this season.
“I got my first win in Grand Prix in 125cc here but last year it was the most difficult weekend of the year for me at Mugello,” said Marquez. “One year later and with more experience I hope it will be better. A lot of people will be supporting Valentino and I know Jorge will be fast as he has won for last three years here, but I will look to fight for the victory.”
Indeed, Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo has owned Mugello for three years running. Currently, however, the Spaniard is fifth overall in MotoGP points and his best result this season was third at Argentina’s Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo. He finished sixth at the most recent round at Le Mans in the French MotoGP.
“In Le Mans, I hoped to make a good start and to overtake a few riders but I couldn’t,” said Lorenzo. “I thought I had made an improvement to the setting but it was worse than I had hoped for in the race. Anyway I am confident here. It’s a special race, it’s a beautiful track and for me it has been a great place. Hopefully we can do something like last year.”
Tags: Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Motorsports, Movistar Yamaha, Mugello, Repsol Honda, Tuscan Valley, Valentino Rossi
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