Nine Times MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi is set for his 300th Grand Prix appearance at Mugello – having achieved his 150th premier class podium last time out at Le Mans.
Following the race in France, in which Rossi finished second to the victorious Marc Marquez, he was already looking forward to the Gran Premio d’Italia TIM and another chance to battle with the in-form World Champion and standings leader, this time in front of the passionate Italian crowd.
With his victory at the French GP Marquez became first rider to win the opening five races of the year, all from pole position, since Giacomo Agostini in the 500 class in 1971.
Marquez will know, however, that Pedrosa will be hungry for his first win since Malaysia last year and that Rossi will be doing everything in his power to add to his nine victories at Mugello, seven of which have come in the premier class. It is fair to say that a win for Rossi in his 300th GP would certainly be popular with the home crowd.
Another strong contender for maximum points in Tuscany will be Rossi’s Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. Although the 2010 and 2012 MotoGP™ World Champion is not currently in his best form Lorenzo has won the race at Mugello for the last three years, enjoying a circuit where Yamaha have a good record.
Just ahead of Lorenzo in the standings in fourth place at present is Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso, who is sure to enjoy massive support this weekend. Thousands of faithful Ducatisti fans will gather at Correntaio corner once again to will Dovizioso towards the podium and to support his colleague Cal Crutchlow as the Englishman strives to move up the standings from 16th.