MotoGP returns this weekend in San Marino, where Valentino Rossi is looking to build on some past success after some strong tests.

MotoGP Raceweek: Rossi hopes for happy homecoming after strong Yamaha tests


Valentino Rossi hopes to make the most of what he considers to be a "home grand prix" in San Marino after Yamaha laid down a marker in testing.

The seven-time world champion has secured a podium finish in six of his past 11 races at Misano, although last year yielded a disappointing seventh place.

Yamaha have enjoyed great success at this circuit, although they are winless in the last four visits, and a new carbon fibre swingarm is expected to grant Rossi and team-mate Maverick Vinales a boost in horsepower and tyre life this weekend.

Indeed, championship leader Marc Marquez suggested Yamaha could be the team to beat, telling reporters: "Misano test was quite interesting; we will check this weekend.

"Race pace was not so fast compared to last year but we were competitive, especially the Yamaha riders were very fast."

Rossi shared a special moment on Wednesday when he rode through his home town of Tavullia as crowds lined the narrow streets to afford him a hero's welcome.

Having finished fourth behind Vinales at Silverstone two weeks ago, the 40-year-old is eager to get back on the podium.

"For sure here in Misano it's always a special grand prix, it's really the home grand prix," he said. "In the last races I was a bit better but, in Silverstone, after a solid weekend, in the race I wanted to fight for the podium but I was not strong enough. So, we will try another time here.

"We did some tests, important tests, my pace was quite good, I feel quite well with the bike, so we try. We are ready and we will see if we are strong enough to fight for the podium."

Vinales is certainly feeling confident after testing having eased two points ahead of Rossi in the standings with his third-place finish in England last month.

"I feel really good on the bike and especially with myself," he said. "Confidence is really high, we'll try to push the maximum, try to keep a good level all weekend and during the race be at the front. The test has been really successful for me, so we will try to do our best."



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