Rossi blames injury as Dovizioso triumphs in Mugello
MUGELLO—Legendary seven-time MotoGP world champion, Valentino Rossi, blamed the Motocross injuries he sustained in training for his missed podium in Sunday’s Italian GP, as fellow countryman Andrea Dovizioso produced one of the rides of his life to triumph in front of the home fans.
“For sure it’s a great shame to miss the podium, because it’s always a target, but here in Mugello, it’s more important in front of all the crowd,” a dejected Rossi told Italian media after the race.
“Sincerely I believed I could do it because in practice I was fast. Inside of me I knew 23 laps would be difficult, because I suffered more than normal, in practice when you do four or five laps it’s one story, you can recover, but more in a row is more difficult.”
“Eight laps to go, I was already finished and I started to suffer more. For me personally the problem was physical condition ” added the Italian.
Rossi had previously suffered “severe” abdomen and chest injuries after injuring himself at a Motocross Club in Mondavio, in the province of Marche.
There was considerable doubt as to whether the man known as ‘The Doctor’ would be able to compete at his home Grand Prix, but Rossi was given the all clear by the track’s medical team on Thursday, much to the relief of the thousands of Rossi fans that came in their droves in support.
The atmosphere before the race was typically boisterous, with the home fans buoyed by Mattia Pasini’s victory in the earlier Moto2 race. The stands were awash with a sea of yellow with numerous chants and several yellow flares set off in the lead up to the day’s main event.
However, despite getting off to a fantastic start, instantly improving on his second place starting grid position to lead the race after the first few laps, Valentino faded into fourth place, as fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso scooped up first place.
Despite the victor being an Italian, there was a notable despondency amongst the Mugello crowd, who had come to see Rossi claim his first victory of the season, which would have been all the more remarkable considering his injury in the lead up to the race.
It wasn’t meant to be for the the Urbino native, as Dovizioso held his nerve over the final laps to secure his first MotoGP win in dry conditions.
Dovizioso was joined on the podium by championship leader Maverick Viñales in second and a surprise appearance from Ducati rider, Danilo Petrucci, in third.
The win moves Dovizioso above Rossi into second place in the overall standings, still some 26 points behind Viñales at the top of the table.
The riders will have just a few days to recuperate before the next Grand Prix takes place in Catalunya at the weekend.