Italian MotoGP Preview: Can Rossi Turn Back the Clock?

31May 2013

MotoGP

 

After a wet race full of surprises a fortnight ago in Le Mans this weekend we're at rider's favourite Mugello in the Italian countryside.  Trent Burton investigates the return of a fans favourite...

 

At Mugello, Valentino Rossi is worshipped like a god. He may not have won here since 2008 but it matters little to the near hundred thousand fans that have made the trek to Florence. In 2009 his run of seven straight victories at home was ended by Casey Stoner.  2010 saw a practice crash that resulted in a broken leg. Then there were the Ducati years.  It's been a long wait for the faithful. There's every chance the wait will end on Sunday.

 

Rossi lead for most of today's dry session only to be pipped at the post by his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. The battle between the two Yamaha riders this weekend has the makings of an absolute classic already. Lorenzo may have won the last two Italian GPs and he's had the wood over Rossi all year having beaten him in every race and qualifying session so far, but this is Mugello and all weekend there have been glimmers of Rossi turning back the clock.

 

Even the most hardened Rossi fan must admit that the likes of Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and even Cal Crutchlow are probably above him in the pecking order these days. But this weekend, both on track and off, Rossi has looked like he means business. His body language on the bike has looked aggressive. His lap times very impressive. And the grin and the mind games in the press conference were all there. At the start of the year he said his aim for this season was just to win one race. We all knew as he said it, he meant this one. At 4.4 to win it it's not just a punt with the heart for Rossi fans but less an outside one as it looks for everyone else. If he's still in touch with a half a dozen laps to run, get on. Beyond that, I'd suggest he's a lock for the Top 3.

 

Lorenzo will have more motivation this weekend than most however. Firstly he's coming off a massively disappointing result in Le Mans. Secondly he must stop Pedrosa's current run of form, victor as he is of the last two GPs, before the Hondas get up a head of steam. And then there's the bloke next door. The delight he took today in pipping Rossi at the death, even though it was just practice, was clear. He's focused, quick and loves this circuit as does the Yamaha. Then there's the fact the Italian fans aren't shy about their dislike of Jorge and he bathes in it. He's a 2.62 favourite and it will take all anyone has to stop him this weekend. Yes, Rossi is the fairytale. Yes, Pedrosa is on form. But I just can't go past Jorge on Sunday.

 

Pedrosa won at Mugello back in 2010 in what was a bit of a shock victory. The same would be said of a win for him this year. The Honda's haven't done well at Mugello in recent years and with the Yamaha boys digging as deep as they can right now it's not about to get any easier.Form is one thing but the bigger picture suggests that the 3.2 on offer for Dani to win seems a bit short.

 

Marquez, brilliant as he is, will probably struggle to factor here. Mugello is a notoriously difficult circuit for rookies and he's already fallen twice so far this weekend, the second time in a massive manner. As I submit this article it's not even certain he will race.  If he does, he's an easy lay for the win and anywhere under 2.0, an easy lay for the podium as well for mine. It's difficult to see him knocking off any of the big three or Crutchlow here.

 

Mugello is one of, if not the, most incredible motor racing circuits in the world and this weekend has all the ingredients to be a belter. It might even get a little nostalgic...

 

Recommended Bet

Back Jorge Lorenzo for the win at 2.62

 

Bet HERE

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Keywords: Italian MotoGP, Rossi, Casey Stoner

Source: Betfair

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