Misano - World
champion Marc Marquez will be out for revenge after being pipped to
victory in the last two races this season as he looks to match Italian
star Valentino Rossi's record of three wins at the San Marino MotoGP on
Former seven-time world MotoGP champion Rossi's most recent victory
at Misano, near Rimini on Italy's Adriatic coast, was in 2014.
"Racing here in front of my fans is fantastic because it really is my Grand Prix," said 40-year-old Rossi.
"My house is only 10km from the track, I grew up in Misano and the first time I raced was on this circuit."
Rossi even rode down the 14km motorway from his "Motor Ranch" academy at Tavullia to the circuit this week riding his Yahama.
"It was a childhood dream come true because it was the road that we rode by scooter when we were young," said Rossi.
"But I only drove at 170km/h," he quipped, taking care to clarify
that the road was closed to traffic and that "I had a helmet!".
Runaway championship leader Marquez has won five times in Misano and twice in the MotoGP category in 2015 and 2017.
The Spanish Honda driver has a 78-point advantage on Italian Andrea
Dovizioso in the world championship standings after 12 of 19 races as he
closes in on a sixth world title.
The 26-year-old was frustrated in the last two races being pipped on
the line by Suzuki's Alex Rins at Silverstone and Ducati's Dovizioso in
"We've a good lead in the championship so we have to remain calm and finish the races," said Marquez.
While Rossi can feel at home in Misano so too can the Ducati team and
Dovizioso, who comes from Forlimpopoli, just 64km up the road.
Dovizioso wants to repeat last year's exploit on front of the home
crowd, and bounce back from his crash in Silverstone where he was
stretchered off following a first-lap crash.
"After the accident in England, I can be happy to be able to take
part in the San Marino Grand Prix without physical problems. It was a
very big crash and the consequences could have been much worse," said
"During the two days of testing I was not back yet 100% but now I'm
good and I'm looking forward to racing on this track, near my home and
with the support of all my fans."
Suzuki's Alex Rins has already won two races this season and is third in the championship just 23 points behind Dovizioso.
"After this victory (at Silverstone) I feel even stronger," said the 23-year-old Spaniard.
For Yamaha, alongside Rossi is promising French youngster Fabio
Quartararo, who at 20 years has three pole positions this season and
three podium finishes, but crashed out on the first corner at
Silverstone, along with Dovizioso.