It is important to give more than maximum – Rossi emotional for Mugello homecoming
MotoGP icon Valentino Rossi is still overwhelmed by emotion whenever he prepares to take part in the Italian Grand Prix.
Italian Rossi is one of the most decorated riders in MotoGP history, having won seven championships in total.
Results on home soil have not been easy to come by for Rossi in recent seasons, though he went unbeaten at Mugello for seven successive races between 2002 and 2008.
No rider has secured more pole positions than Rossi at Mugello, and the circuit holds a special place in the 40-year-old's heart.
"Mugello is the most special race of the season for me, though more or less it is for all the Italian riders," Rossi told a news conference.
"It is a historic day and this is more special because the track is fantastic and different to the others.
"The atmosphere, all the fans around the track… when you look [out there], especially on Sunday, it is a very emotional feeling. It is important to give more than the maximum.
"It is always difficult to understand before the weekend but every year is different.
"Last year was not too bad and I was quite strong during the weekend, so we have to see. It looks like we improve in some areas but the bike has improved very much so it depends on many things."
Jorge Lorenzo claimed last year's win at Mugello, though the Spaniard is way down in 14th in the riders' standings this season.
Marc Marquez leads the way, 23 points and three places ahead of Rossi, who has also suggested that Mugello may need to be modified in order to ensure the safety of the competitors.
"It's an old-style track, so at some points it's also dangerous," said the Yamaha rider.
"You are [going] very fast and you have not a lot of space around the first corner. If you arrive at 350 [km/h], it starts to be dangerous for the jump. Maybe we have to modify it a little bit. But it's not very easy.
"Either we try to arrive a bit slower, or we try to cut [the crest] a little bit and make it a bit flatter, if it's possible."