Mugello : Fiat Yamaha - Day 3
Valentino Rossi set yet another record in his extraordinary racing career today, becoming the first rider in the history of the sport to take six consecutive wins at his home circuit. The 85,480 adoring fans who had braved the threat of rain
and turned the green hillsides of the Mugello valley bright yellow were rewarded in style as the Italian scored an emphatic and emotional victory, his fourth here for Yamaha and eighth in total from twelve years of racing.
Under miraculously dry skies, the Fiat Yamaha Team rider got a poor start from third on the grid and found himself down in eighth position at turn one. Once he had built up enough heat in his Michelin tyres however he set out in earnest, picking off riders one-by-one and moving up to second behind Dani Pedrosa by lap seven of 23.
Two laps later Rossi made his move on the Spaniard and from then on the pair were racing just a few tenths of a second apart, with Rossi extending the advantage around the twistier parts of the circuit and Pedrosa closing it slightly down the long home straight.
Little by little however Rossi began to pull away and he eventually crossed the line 3.074 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. A late pass by Alex Barros on series-leader Casey Stoner for third place helped Rossi's points deficit and he now lies just nine points behind Stoner in the standings, with some of his favourite races coming up in the next few weeks.
It was a less successful day for Rossi's team-mate Colin Edwards, who despite showing a strong race pace in the dry today was heavily penalised by starting from the sixth row of the grid. The Texan has yet to enjoy a successful race at this circuit and was only able to make up a few places on his starting position, finishing 12th and slipping one place in the championship standings down to tenth.
Valentino Rossi : "To win in Mugello once again is an incredible emotion for me and I am very happy at this moment. Racing in front of the fans here is always something unbelievable and they give me an extra motivation. It's an incredible feeling to see so much yellow around the track, the fans were 'coming crazy' today and it was a wonderful race! As we had hoped it stayed dry, the sun came out and everything went to plan! My team have worked brilliantly, my bike was perfect and I could ride it exactly how I wanted, I need to say a huge thank you to them and also to Michelin. I didn't get a very good start but once my tyres had warmed up my M1 really flew and I was able to fight back to the front. From the very beginning everyone was pushing at 100% and it was great fun in those first few laps! It was really a perfect race for me today and I felt like I had everyone on my side; Mugello is a magical track for me and this victory gives us a lot of power and confidence for the next races. I had a special helmet for this race with a big heart on it and today I think we showed that we really have a lot of heart at Yamaha. This is a great, great moment for me."
Colin Edwards : "Yet again Mugello just hasn't worked out for me and it was a pretty terrible weekend from start to finish. I think that today I had the pace for fifth or sixth place but starting from where I was I lost about six or seven seconds on the first lap alone as there was so much traffic in front of me. We lost a lot of time on Friday morning, one of only two hours of dry practice time, trying some new stuff which didn't work out and things didn't get much better after that. I think this is just my bogey track and I can't wait to leave and get straight back out there in a few days in Barcelona. Let's hope for better things in Spain."
Davide Brivio - Team Director : "What a fantastic day! To win in Mugello is already wonderful but to win strongly with a gap like this is unbelievable. Even in our greatest dreams we couldn't have imagined a better race with Valentino today. This is a result that first of all Valentino deserves for the energy and motivation that he puts into everything, but also all of the team, everyone at Yamaha and Michelin. The entire group has worked very hard recently after some difficult races to bring us back to the top step. This is just one race but it's a very important one. We've reacted very well lately, we came here with some good engine developments, Michelin made some improvements too and this is a great moment for everybody. Unfortunately Colin was penalised by his starting position because his pace wasn't so bad and I think with a better grid position he could have been much higher. It's good now that we leave this track, which he doesn't like so much, and go to Barcelona where he has a much better record. Now the championship is getting very interesting and we just have to keep going like this. Well done everyone!"