In a way, the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello may prove to be the very first post MotoGP round of the post-Rossi era. As a motorcycle racing venue, the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello has everything going for it. The setting is stunning, nestling in a valley in the hills of Tuscany. The location is outstanding, a little more than an hour away from one of the greatest Renaissance cities in the world, stuffed to the gunnels with outstanding architecture and the finest art on the planet. The food is outstanding, as is the wine.
Then there's the race track. Together with Phillip Island, the last of the great motorcycling circuits where MotoGP bikes have the room to stretch their legs, yet where a rider can still make all the difference. The circuit rolls and flows around the valley, following the natural contours of the landscape.
It has a bit of everything: hard braking into Turn 1 after the fastest straight on the calendar, the approach on a crest where the bikes almost take flight. It has left-right and right-left combinations which offer opportunities to make a pass, but also lay yourself open to counterattack. It has high-speed kinks and fast uphill and downhill corners. And it has long, fast, flowing turns where carrying corner speed is crucial, and where the brave can truly make the difference.
No rest for the wickedly fast