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With home hero Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) starting from pole position at the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, and an slightly unexpected starting grid, Sunday’s race looks set to be a cracker… here’s why:
1. Valentino Rossi has qualified on pole position for the first time since Motegi in 2016 and the 65th time in his Grand Prix career, equaling Jorge Lorenzo as the rider with second most career pole positions. Marc Márquez leads with 74.
Recap: A look at the Italian GP so far...
2. At 39 years and 106 days old, Rossi is the oldest rider to start from pole position in the premier class since Jack Findlay in 1974 (39 years, 121 days).
Highlights: Rossi returns to Mugello to take pole
3. In his 64 previous pole positions, Rossi went on to win the race 41 times and stood on the podium in 55 of the races, with 1.68 as his average position across the line.
Highlights: Rossi reigns in Spain
4. Jorge Lorenzo is in second place on the grid, which is his fourth front row start on a Ducati. Last year at Mugello, he led the race on the second and third laps before dropping down to 8th.
Italian GP MotoGP™ qualifying in slow motion
5. After passing through Q1, Maverick Viñales, who started from pole position last year at Mugello, completes the front row on the grid. That’s his second front row start of the season, with the other coming in with Austin.
6. Andrea Iannone heads the second row of the grid for the second successive race after Le Mans. He will be aiming to become the first Suzuki rider to win at Mugello since Kevin Schwantz back in 1992, or the first to stand on the podium at the track since Daryl Beattie (2nd) in 1995.
7. In fifth place on the grid and as the top Independent Team rider is Danilo Petrucci, who crossed the line in third position last year at Mugello for his first podium finish in dry conditions.
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8. Marc Márquez has qualified in sixth place on the grid for the second successive year at Mugello, equaling his worst qualifying result from Argentina earlier this year. He will be aiming to become the first rider in the MotoGP™ class to win four races in a row since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015.
#QatarCountdown: Lorenzo makes it 4 in a row
9. Dani Pedrosa starts from 20th on the grid, which is his worst position on the grid since he stepped up in MotoGP™ class in 2006.
10. The last fifteen MotoGP™ races have been won by either Ducati or Honda riders. The last non-Honda or Ducati rider to win a MotoGP™ race was Valentino Rossi in Assen last year.
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