Valentino Rossi is set to mark his 300th GP start in the best possible surroundings at his beloved home circuit of Mugello as he looks to turn his strong recent form into a poignant race win.

In a GP career that has now spanned more than 18 years from when he made his 125GP debut at Shah Alam in Malaysia, Rossi has gone on to start 299 races across the 125, 250, 500 and MotoGP class, claim nine world championships, 106 wins, 186 podiums, 59 pole positions and 88 fastest laps.

Statistics that have established him as one of motorsport's greatest competitors, though Rossi has enjoyed just a single race win since the end of the 2010 season, he returns to Mugello in fine form having notched up a 150th premier class podium last time out in France.

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Famed for having won seven Italian GPs in a row between 2002 and 2008, the Movistar Yamaha rider admits a victory at Mugello is considered 'a matter of honour' for him.

Indeed, though his form there in recent years has been somewhat indifferent, team-mate Jorge Lorenzo's trio of wins between 2011 and 2013 tell Rossi he has a competitive package beneath him.

"I am very happy to go to Mugello. This is a beautiful track and I like it so much. This is one of my favourite weekend's of the season! For this reason I will try to give my best. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honour.

"Jorge has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track.

Reflecting on what it means to be starting his 300th GP, Rossi jokes that he is 'not happy' as it makes him seem old, but is happy to be celebrating it in Italy.

"It will be my three hundredth GP this weekend and for that I am not very happy because it means that I'm old but I'm happy because I am in good shape and I can still be very fast! See you at Mugello!"


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OK Rossi sounding positive and very motivated.

M1 sounding OK too.

Not going to join in the Crystal Ball Call Club, just hoping for a good one VR vs MM - and anyone else joining in..

can't wait for the lights to go out...just knowing Honda had the fastest racelap and qualified on the front row last year but Rossi's eagerness makes me smile: an optimistic warrior!