We're off to the land of Valentino Rossi this weekend, with his arch rival Marc Marquez aiming to make it four wins in a row and leave the rest of the MotoGP championship contenders well and truly in his wake.
Our TV coverage of the Grand Prix of Italy starts on BT Sport 2 this Friday, June 1, with the opening day starting at 7.45am.
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Grand Prix of Italy: Preview
Mugello will, as ever, be a sea of blue and yellow this weekend as one of Italy’s favourite sons returns.
Valentino Rossi was on the podium for just the second time this season in France and that is just the boost ‘The Doctor’ needed arriving at his home Grand Prix.
The Yamaha rider has seven wins at this circuit – having led the way for every race from 2002 to 2008 – and the 39-year-old needs to rediscover that sort form.
Marc Marquez is beginning to leave the rest of the championship in his wake already, Le Mans was his third straight victory – the first time he has done that since 2014 – and he shows no signs of stopping.
The World Champion is 36 points clear and deservedly so, but his title rivals have perhaps been more accommodating than he would have expected.
Andrea Dovizioso crashed out when leading in France, after seeing his race in Jerez end early too, and last year’s winner will be hoping fortunes are reversed come Sunday.
It was at this track last year where the Ducati rider began his assault on the championship, becoming the first Italian to secure on a premier class win on an Italian bike in Italy since 1974.
That result was historic, but this time around ‘DesmoDovi’ needs a momentous finish at a track that is not historically one where Marquez dominates.
His team-mate Jorge Lorenzo has a similar record to Rossi – winning five out of six races from 2011 to 2016 – and having led in Jerez and Le Mans, the signs are promising.
As if there weren’t enough contenders already, Maverick Vinales and Danilo Petrucci both finished on the podium last year and Dani Pedrosa won at Mugello in 2010.
Add to that a motivated Johann Zarco who will want to bounce back from crashing out at his home GP and Cal Crutchlow of course, with the Briton’s highside injuries hopefully having eased a little.
Mugello is without doubt one of the most eagerly anticipated races on the calendar, but the question is – will Rossi be able to delight to hordes of adoring fans come Sunday?
Friday 1 June - BT Sport 2
Opening Day: 7.45am - 3.15pm
Saturday 2 June - BT Sport 2
Free Practice: 8am - 11am
Qualifying: 11am - 3.15pm
Sunday 3 June - BT Sport 2
Warm ups: 7.30am - 9.15am
Moto3 race: 9.15am
Moto2 race: 11am
MotoGP race: 12.30pm
Chequered Flag: 2pm
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