Italians Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri believe the grand prix race at Mugello this weekend will be “big” where home fans have high expectations.

Italians Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri believe the grand prix race at Mugello this weekend will be “big” where home fans have high expectations.

Capirossi said it will be one of the biggest weekends of his life, at his home circuit and the home of his team, Ducati. "I have ridden for another Italian factory, but this is Ducati and it’s MotoGP, so it’s very, very big!"

Capirossi knows the circuit well as he won his first Mugello GP 10 years ago in the 250cc class. He followed it up with two 500cc victories. "Mugello will be a difficult race because it's a difficult track," he said. "There's a lot for riders and engineers to understand: fast corners and fast changes of direction, downhill corners with negative camber and a few bumps. All this means a lot of work on chassis set-up. The most important part of the circuit is Casanova-Savelli, Arrabbiata one and two, and the last corner for a good drive on to the main straight. But speed won't be a problem – we have a lot of that!"

Reigning 250cc world champion Melandri expects it to be a tough race mentally for him. “All the Italian riders will be wanting to have a good race in front of the public,” he said.

The Italian has had a rough season, starting with the first race in Suzuka where he broke his ankle in two places during qualifying.

“My condition is getting better every day so that won’t hold me back. It is my dream to get a podium finish in Mugello on the M1 but it’s very difficult to turn that to reality because this year so many riders are good, every race is different with different people fighting for the victory,” he said.

“When I rode in the 125cc class I had my first ever podium in Mugello in 1998 when I came second. I also rode my first ever race on a 125 in Mugello, and then won the 250cc race there last year. It’s a very difficult circuit because it has every kind of corner, slow, fast, and chicane, as well as a very fast straight. But I love this track!”