Valentino Rossi’s homecoming to Misano for this weekend’s San Marino MotoGP brings him full circle having first competed on two wheels at the iconic circuit during his junior career.

The 40-year-old completed a ‘dream’ parade on his Monster Yamaha YZR-M1 from his Motor Ranch in Tavullia to the Misano circuit on Tuesday as part of his preparations for this weekend’s San Marino MotoGP.

After a lap of the track before pitting ahead of Friday’s opening practice, Rossi reflected on his connection to Misano having begun his racing career at the track.

Since Misano returned to the MotoGP calendar in 2007, Rossi has claimed three wins at the Rimini circuit putting him level with Jorge Lorenzo for most wins at the track in the premier class.

“Riding in front of my fans here is fantastic because this is really my home Grand Prix. My house is 10 kilometres from the Misano circuit,” Rossi said. “I grew up in Misano, and the first time I rode a bike was in Misano.

“We expect a lot of fans this weekend. A lot of people, a lot of yellow, so we try to give the maximum to be strong and competitive.”

Monster Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli says the Misano round also acts as the team’s second home race after Mugello and hopes the squad can deliver strong results from its supporters.

“Misano is always a very special place for us and also for many fans. It‘s so close to Valentino‘s house in Tavullia that as a team we see this round as our second home GP too,” Meregalli said. “The supporters here live and breathe motorbikes and motorsport, their passion for it is almost tangible.

“Both our riders get incredible support here, so we want to repay the fans by doing the utmost to provide a good show this weekend.

“We‘ve had a successful test here in Misano two weeks ago, so we’re approaching this GP with a positive mindset and we can‘t wait to get started.”

Rossi has missed out on the MotoGP podium for the past nine races but did make a front row return with second place on the grid last time at Silverstone.

The nine-time world champion then finished fourth quickest at the Misano test where he tried a new exhaust, carbon fibre swingarm and aerodynamics - all of which could be seen on track this weekend.



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