The Ducati Marlboro team make the short trip down the road this weekend for the first of two home grand prix at the Mugello circuit. Valentino Rossi will be preparing for his home grand prix without crew chief Jeremy Burgess, who has had to fly home to Australia to be with his wife as she prepares for possible surgery.

“I'd like to wish good luck to Jeremy, who won't be able to join us this weekend due to very important personal reasons. We'll miss him very much in the garage, but we look forward to seeing him at the Sachsenring” said Rossi.

Valentino’s crew will be led by Loris Capirossi’s crew chief at Pramac, Fabiano Sterlacchini, as he is out injured. Looking forward to Mugello, Rossi admits that the Italian track is one of his favorites, having won here nine times before in all classes.

“We must try to do well at Mugello. It will be vital to quickly find the right path for the setup, as it's important that we improve in every session in order to qualify in a good position. The track is one of my favorites, and I've always done pretty well there. Returning after last year's accident is no problem for me, because I enjoyed riding there during the recent tests, as I always do. I hope there will be a big crowd and that I'll be able to do better than we've managed until now, because this is a very important race.” said Valentino

Nicky Hayden is also a fan of the track after claiming a podium finish here in 2006. Speaking before the weekend, he said, “Even though we're probably not at our finest moment, Mugello is going to be special for the team. I know the fans are going to come there and support us, especially now with an Italian rider. I love the track, although it's not one where I've had great results, so I'm not planning on an easy weekend. I know I'm going to have to come out there on Friday and get going. We're going to have plenty of expectations, and it should be a busy weekend with all the hype going on. I'm really looking forward to it.