More than 160,000 thousand spectators that packed the grandstands and the Tuscan hills over the weekend of MotoGP Mugello were waiting only for Valentino Rossi. On a Sunday that saw three Italian winners in the three classes, an all-Italian premier class podium would have been the icing on the cake. Only The Doctor was missing.
After the first laps, it seemed the spectre of the physical problems following the motocross crash of last week had disappeared. Rossi had started to attack, but after some laps he had to slow down, passing from leading the first three laps, to third after having defended and from lap 14, to fourth.
The crowd that had invaded the track on calling their idol, but this time he didn’t show up. Rossi leaves Mugello third in the world championship, 30 points behind Maverick Vinales, and four behind winner Andrea Dovizioso.
“It was a pity not to go on the podium, it is always the target at Mugello and it would have been important,” said Rossi at the track. “In the practice the pain was less but I knew that it would have been difficult to manage 23 laps of the race. During practice, when you do four or five laps, you can recover . But all in a row is more difficult”.
Have you ever thought the podium was handy?
“I was hoping and fought hard at the beginning, but after eight laps I started to feel pain. In the end, when Petrucci passed me, I had not the strength to answer to his attack. But if I consider that on Tuesday my participation was at risk, I have to be happy.”
How was the feeling with the bike?
“The problem was my physical conditions, not the bike. The M1 was working well. It was fast on Saturday morning and I took the start from the front row.”
In the end Danilo Petrucci passed you, but you couldn’t respond. What was your feeling?
“I was aiming at the podium. Danilo passed me, he is a friend. An all-Italian podium would have been great, but while I was racing, I was just focusing on finishing on the podium.”
Will you be ready for Barcelona?
“I would have preferred one more week, but we have two back to back races. If I continue to recover like this, for sure I will be better. Another week is important. Regarding the track, I love Barcelona, also with the modified layout. In a way Mugello and Barcelona have some similarities but at Montmelo the grip level is very low. This year we suffered with our bike with these conditions. Anyway, it’s too early to speak”.
Despite this disappointment, Rossi celebrated the win of Andrea Migno, a rider in his own Sky VR|46 Team, and Mattia Pasini, also a rider who trains at the ranch, who won respectively in Moto3 and Moto2.
“It was a great day because we are very proud and very happy for Migno. He did a fantastic race. I was, not crying, but emotional, and I said to him, ‘Great congratulations, we are very proud.’ It’s also very important for the team. Migno is a special rider for the dedication he puts in his work. He works so hard to compensate not a crystalline talent and he deserves this win.
“I am also very happy for Pasini. We all know his physical problems and he did the race that every Italian rider dreams about at night. He did an incredible last lap, a masterpiece.”