Valentino Rossi will take part in his final home MotoGP as a Ducati rider this weekend at Misano.
The seven time MotoGP champion is returning to Yamaha next season after a (so far) winless tenure on the Desmosedici and Misano, officially titled the San Marino Grand Prix, will thus mark the final Rossi-Ducati appearance on their home Italian asphalt.
'The Doctor' is from Tavullia, just a few kilometres from the newly renamed Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, where he won for Yamaha in 2008 and 2009.
Rossi, who has taken two podiums since joining Ducati at the start of 2011, finished seventh at Misano last season and was fifth in the Italian GP at Mugello earlier this year.
The #46 will have a new frame and swingarm for his GP12 this weekend, which he tried during a recent private Ducati test at Misano.
“Misano is one of two home races for us, so there will be a lot of fans and a very special atmosphere, as is always the case when we race in Italy. The track is challenging and difficult, but I like it a lot," said Rossi.
"It has some really fun sections, such as the exit from the "Tramonto" corner and the big, fast corners after the back straight. We'll have to work well in the practice sessions in order to fight and to try and do a nice race."
“It's Valentino's home race, and Misano is definitely a special round for him," added team manager Vittoriano Guareschi. "We'll work on the setup to try and give him the conditions he needs to ride at a good, consistent pace for the entire race.”
Rossi is currently eighth in the world championship with six rounds to go. Injured team-mate Nicky Hayden
will return to action this weekend.
Andrea Dovizioso will join Hayden at Ducati in 2013.