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Rossi clinches another title before his home Grand Prix

Rossi clinches another title before his home Grand Prix

Rossi clinches another title before his home Grand Prix

Valentino Rossi will strive to continue his stunning start to the 2005 campaign by charging for another victory this weekend at the Mugello circuit for his home race, the Gran Premio Alice d'Italia.

Before going to Tuscany, the MotoGP superstar was honoured at his hometown university, in Urbino. Yesterday the Yamaha rider was awarded the "láurea ad honorem" in communication and publicity.

University Rector Carlo Bo, Giovanni Bogliolo presented the Italian star with the special award in recognition of the positive influence he has set as a role model, also to commemorate his achievements as one of the best riders in recent years.

As arguably the biggest name in Italian sport at the moment, Valentino Rossi is in for another busy weekend as his home Grand Prix brings a host of extra pressures. As well as an expectant capacity crowd, the demands of the local media are sure to make life harder for the reigning World Champion.

"Mugello is always the busiest weekend of the year for me, but the most important thing is what happens on the track" explained Rossi, who took victory for Yamaha in a rain-interrupted race at Mugello last season. "Of course Mugello is very special because it is my home race, and I hope a lot of people will come. Last year was unbelievable – it was hard to explain the emotion I felt when I heard the crowds cheering for me on the last few laps. It's nice to arrive there on top of the championship and hopefully we can put on a good show."

After an energy-sapping start to the season, his best since 2002, Rossi says he was glad of the chance to relax for the past two weekends and is now ready to return to his best form at a crucial stage of the campaign. "We've had an extra week of holiday which has been really important because now we have three races coming up in four weekends, at Mugello, Catalunya and Assen, and they will all be very hard. When you have a few races so close together a lot of things can change in a short space of time, so it is important to keep the concentration and continue in the way we have started the season.

"The test in Le Mans has given us some good things to take to Mugello and hopefully we'll be able to use the new engine parts there and put to practice the things we've learnt. We continued to work on the general set-up and also tested some new tyres with Michelin, from which we found some good options to use in Mugello. We tried quite a lot of new things that I think will help us in Mugello; so I am feeling positive."

MotoGP, 2005, GRAN PREMIO ALICE D'ITALIA, Valentino Rossi

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