Rossi: Mugello 'the Monaco of MotoGP'

Valentino Rossi says a MotoGP win at Mugello can be compared to victory in the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
Rossi: Mugello 'the Monaco of MotoGP'

MotoGP doesn't do street circuits and therefore has no obvious equivalent of the legendary Monaco F1 Grand Prix.

Assen is undoubtedly the most historic venue on the motorcycle GP calendar, being the only surviving venue from the inaugural 1949 season.

But Valentino Rossi thinks victory at Mugello, venue for this weekend's Italian MotoGP, can be compared to the feeling of winning at Monaco due to the unmodified, old-style layout and unique atmosphere. Especially for the home riders.

"Monte Carlo is a very special place," Rossi said. "But I think, yes [winning at Mugello is a similar emotion], because this track is very historic."

Mugello hosted its first motorcycle grand prix in 1976 and has held the official Italian round continuously since 1994.

"From '96, my first year in the world championship, the Italian Grand Prix has always been at Mugello. But this track was already very famous in the '70s and the layout remains the same," said Rossi.

"That's not easy. Usually you have a lot of tracks with a long history, but with more modifications. But Mugello is Mugello from the '70s.

"So a victory here is special for everybody, I think, but even more for Italian riders because we have the biggest support from the fans.

"And, just like in Monaco on Sunday, the atmosphere, what you see, is something special. Different from any other place on our calendar."

Rossi knows more about winning at Mugello than any other rider. He took a 125cc victory back in 1997, 250cc triumph in 1998 and then seven straight MotoGP wins from 2002-2008.

The 40-year-old has a best finish of third since then, including last season, and will need to overcome a top speed deficit to the Ducatis and Hondas if he is to delight the Mugello fans with a long-awaited return to the top step on Sunday.

"Always the Yamaha is a very good bike to ride and I think compared to last year we've improved in some aspects but we suffer a bit in the straight, and here the straight is very long," Rossi said.

However, the rest of the circuit looks good for the M1.

"There are a lot of chicanes and medium-speed corners, so on paper it's a good track for the bike," he said. "We will try. The work in the pit box will also be very important, to follow the right way to improve the bike and we hope to be competitive on Sunday."

Rossi set a new all-time Mugello lap record on his way to pole position in last year's event.

The Monster Yamaha rider is currently fourth in the world championship, 23 points behind Honda's Marc Marquez, but is without a win since Assen 2017.