With his home town of Tavullia less than 10km from the Misano Circuit, this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix marks Valentino Rossi's local MotoGP round.

"When the season arrives at the Misano Grand Prix, I'm always very happy," commented Rossi. "For me it is a really special GP. First because it's only ten kilometres from my house in Tavullia and here is my family, all my friends and my fans. Then because Misano is my track, I love this place."

On his return to the factory Yamaha squad last year Rossi finished a disappointed fourth at Misano, 15s off the pace of his race winning team-mate Jorge Lorenzo. This season Rossi comes to his home round in much better form and a genuine contender to win for the first time since last year's Dutch TT.

Last time at the British Grand Prix, Rossi took a hard fought podium and closed the championship gap to Dani Pedrosa to just ten points. This weekend the Italian admits it will be crucial to hit the ground running from the start of Free Practice:

"We will try to prepare the bike perfectly, from the first day. I want to stay in front and try to fight with Jorge and Marc. At Silverstone I went again on the podium and here I want to do the same thing. I'll do my best. I hope the weather will be good, even during the first practice. It will be important to work in dry conditions to prepare the bike. I'm ready for the Misano Grand Prix!"

Rossi is currently third in the championship, as the top Yamaha rider and just ten points from Dani Pedrosa.



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