Article: Pre-Race Report: Mugello – Rossi the hot topic of discussion

Author: Myanna Wedes

We have arrived trackside for the 2017 Mugello Grand Prix where the crowd is expected to go wild and overflow across the streets and towns in Tuscany. Valentino Rossi is the hometown hero at the Mugello race circuit with a multitude of fans making the trip to Tuscany from all over Italy. Every year the Mugello circuit has the symbolic track invasion, which is an incredible sight to see. It truly makes the weekend. This is the 32nd occasion that a Grand Prix race event has been held at the circuit with Yamaha being the most successive four-stroke MotoGP manufacturer to date. Casey Stoner was the last Ducati to win at Mugello and the desire for Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo to win is strong as this Grand Prix is considered a home race for many reasons: Ducati being an Italian manufacturer, Dovi being an Italian rider and fans supporting Lorenzo as he rides for the team in his first year.

In amongst the Rossi mania, Andrea Migno, Danilo Petrucci, Pecco Bagnaia and Sam Lowes made their way to Florence on Wednesday for a press event with thousands of people around to catch a glimpse of the Moto3 and MotoGP bikes. Florence is a very picturesque location and allows the Italian fans to get up and close with the bikes in the regional capital of Tuscany. The countryside just out from Florence is beautiful with so much on offer to see: mountains, farms, vineyards and plenty of traditional food to enjoy. We feel as though the pre-show event is a great display of support for the local talent.

It is clear that Mugello is a truly special race with passion on display for everyone to see. The fans deck themselves out in colour, face painting and merchandise and the riders enjoy being able to hear the crowds roar. Rossi has been cleared to take part, which is wonderful news. On Friday we will see how Rossi is feeling and whether the pain slowly disappears enabling him to ride and compete at an optimum level. The world will have their eyes on Rossi, Vinales, Marquez and Pedrosa as they continue chasing down the World Title. What we do know is that Rossi will be undertaking full sessions and ensuring he is ready to race on Sunday. The crowd here at Mugello is very special as Rossi mentioned in his media debrief and there is every chance of the Doctor winning at Mugello. For now, Rossi will take each day as it comes and utilise the crowd noise and constant support to his advantage.

Marc Marquez is still looking for that front-end confidence which has lacked since the start of 2017. He is really looking forward to using the new Michelin front tyre at Mugello to increase his performance and enjoy pushing the bike to the limit and to the best of his ability. His fellow teammate Dani Pedrosa is having an incredible MotoGP season with a real chance at the World Championship. His ability to adapt to the new set up is excellent. At Mugello with the hot temperatures, it is much better for Pedrosa and the Honda machinery. It is important to test the feeling and do as many laps as possible. The Honda team has to focus on the practice and qualifying sessions in order to be ready to attack on Sunday for the win or podium finish. In terms of Pedrosa’s performance, Sete Gibernau was kind enough to have a chat with us. He made it clear that he is not a coach. He is a personal friend of Dani Pedrosa and is there as a support network. Sete adds value by being there with Pedrosa along the way especially when the pressure is packed on and all eyes are watching to see if he can claim his first ever MotoGP World Championship.

Championship leader, Maverick Vinales has referenced the data from Jorge Lorenzo when he raced at Mugello on the Yamaha because the Spartan was super fast. Vinales is still adapting his riding style and is looking forward to having a great race. He is really hoping for a hot race rather than a wet race. He is totally aware of the Rossi fans coming in by the truckload and is hoping that he can push hard even with the support on one side of the garage. The same will apply to Ducati as the Italian fans get behind their home team and look for a superb result even with the small issues that are hanging around. It is a work in progress.

We discovered some very interesting information about the medical sector of the sport. Dr Claudia Costa stated that they are continuing to increase the medical stability at the circuits to ensure that the highest standard of medical attention is carried out. Dr Claudia Costa in 40 years mentioned that there have been 2100 collarbone breaks with the best professionals around to support the riders at every incident that arises.

Lastly, along with this spectacle of a race, it will be a highly emotional Sunday with 69 seconds of silence to remember the late and great Nicky Hayden who unfortunately passed away from a bicycle accident. We miss you Nicky and the Motorsport community will never forget how important you were and always will be to the history of Motorsport.

Credit: Myanna Wedes

Credit: Patrick Wedes

About The Author

Myanna Wedes

Myanna has an incredible grasp and knowledge of the sport in detail and continues to secure lead stories every week. She is in constant contact with team and rider media management. She is an admitted lawyer with two degrees and is currently writing a biography on Alan Jones MBE 1980 F1 World Champion. She is a fond lover of two wheel motorsport, predominantly MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.