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Home Race Beckons for Morbidelli and Rossi

Home Race Beckons for Morbidelli and Rossi

PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team in action at first Italian round of the season this weekend in Mugello.

This weekend will see Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi enjoy the familiar surroundings of Mugello, as they tackle their home race – the Gran Premio d’Italia – for the first time since 2019. The PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team duo will be hoping for more consistent weather than experienced last time out in France. 

Morbidelli will also be hoping that this is the year that he finally has some good luck at Mugello in the MotoGP class, after failing to finish the most recent edition in 2019. Although the Italian is yet to step on the ItalianGP podium, he narrowly missed out when competing in Moto2 four years ago, he did start the 2017 Moto2 race from pole and it was the track that saw him directly through to Q2 for the first time in MotoGP in 2018. Despite there being no fans in the grandstands, Franco will still be aiming to put a good show on for his home fans this weekend. Morbidelli currently sits eighth in the world championship with 33 points.

Team-mate Rossi will be aiming to show the actual amount of progress made at the Jerez Test, as the constantly changing conditions at Le Mans last time out did not allow the Italian to show his true potential. The ItalianGP holds many good memories for Rossi and he has a history of good results at the Mugello circuit, including seven consecutive wins (2002-2008) and 11 podiums in the MotoGP class. Hoping that he can create some more happy memories at the circuit this weekend, Valentino will also be aiming to come away from his home Grand Prix with a good haul of points to move him higher than his current 19th place (nine points).

The Italian duo will head out on the Mugello track for their first Free Practice session of the weekend at 9.55am local time (3.55pm MYT) on Friday, with lights out for Sunday’s 23-lap MotoGP race at the usual time of 2pm local time (8pm MYT).

Franco Morbidelli

"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."

Valentino Rossi

"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. 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. 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."