Standing on the home Mugello podium is one of the highlights of any Italian MotoGP rider's career.

But if Franco Morbidelli achieves a first Mugello rostrum this weekend he'll sadly be celebrating without the usual crowd cheering fans lining the track below.

That's due to the ongoing Covid restrictions, which also forced the Mugello event to dropped from the calendar completely last season.

"I’m hoping to arrive at Mugello this weekend in the best shape possible, after receiving some treatment for my knee," said Morbidelli, who damaged ligaments in a training accident prior to Le Mans, then aggravated the injury further with spills during the French weekend.

"I love Mugello; it is a great track, full of history and I have some great memories there. The feeling I have when riding there is a little different compared to the other tracks.

"It’s wonderful to be going back racing at Mugello, after no round last year, but it won’t be a normal one as we won’t have the fans at the track cheering us on.

"I don’t know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to going back and I hope that our bike continues to go well there and we will see what happens."

Morbidelli has claimed 27 podiums during his grand prix career, the most recent at Jerez this year, but his best Mugello finish is fourth place during his title winning 2017 Moto2 campaign.

The Petronas Yamaha rider, currently eighth in the world championship, only has a 15th place to show for his two previous premier-class appearances at Mugello.