Although the Petronas team is based in Malaysia, it can be said that the Mugello Grand Prix this year will be a second home race. Having Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli within its ranks it could not be otherwise, especially since the Doctor is the king of the Tuscany track, with 9 career wins including 7 consecutive (from 2002 to 2008).
In MotoGP, however, the past matters little and now Valentino will have to take advantage of this congenial track to get back to being competitive. There had been some encouraging signs in France, but in the race (also thanks to the rain) Rossi did not achieve what he showed in practice.
“I was able to fight for better positions and be within the top-ten at Le Mans, but we suffered in the mixed conditions on Sunday,” declared the Doctor. “I felt better with the bike as well, so it was a shame it was a confusing race like that. Hopefully the weather will be more consistent this weekend at Mugello and we will be able to confirm the improvements from the Jerez Test."
Of course, the circuit is one of his favourites…
“It is a fantastic track and fortunately I have many good memories there. It is always special so I’m really looking forward to being there next, although it is a shame that there will be no fans at the circuit because they are always great there and give us a lot of support. It is always nice to see them in the grandstands. It is a great track, the Italian Grand Prix so we just look forward to being there.”
The sensations are also similar for Morbidelli, who however has some concerns about his physical condition. In France, his knee (injured training at the Ranch) gave out during a practice bike swap and the crash in the race did not help.
“I’m hoping to arrive at Mugello this weekend in the best shape possible, after receiving some treatment for my knee. I love Mugello; it is a great track, full of history and I have some great memories there. The feeling I have when riding there is a little different compared to the other tracks. It’s wonderful to be going back racing at Mugello, after no round last year, but it won’t be a normal one as we won’t have the fans at the track cheering us on. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to going back and I hope that our bike continues to go well there and we will see what happens.”