Misano MotoGP Race Weekend Begins Without Valentino Rossi

10 rider quotes from Thursday’s pre-race press conference in Italy.

Misano MotoGP pre-race press interviews
Top MotoGP riders weigh in on Valentino Rossi’s decision to use motorcycles as training tools, despite the obvious risk of injury.MotoGP

Round 13 of the MotoGP World Championship—officially known as the "Gran Premio Tribal Mastercard di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini"—is under way at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli without local hero Valentino Rossi. The 38-year-old nine-time world champ fractured both bones in his lower right leg last week riding dirt bikes.

Rossi explained to MotoGP.com that the accident happened in the hills behind Urbino, the Italian town where he was born, on a trail he has ridden "together with my father" for 20 years. Near the end of the loop, Rossi put his foot down to avoid crashing. "But it was a bit downhill," he said, "so all the weight of the bike on the leg and…broken."

valentino rossi
We miss you, Vale!Yamaha Racing

At Thursday’s pre-event press conference, current series points leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was joined by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) and Rossi’s teammate, Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha). Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) is recuperating from his own self-inflicted wound, the Brit having sliced a tendon in his finger with a kitchen knife.

Andrea Iannone (Team ECSTAR Suzuki), Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), and Moto2 points leader Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) joined the aforementioned quartet. With 12 races down and six more to go, 13 points separate Dovizioso, Marquez, and Vinales. Rossi is currently fourth overall, but he doesn’t expect to line up again until next month.

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team: "To be at my home Grand Prix, Misano, and the leader in the championship is something we didn't expect—unreal. Today, when I drove my car from my house to here, the feeling was really good. And it was a new feeling. I'm really happy to be in this condition, but the championship is completely open."

“Unfortunately, Valentino [Rossi] is not here,” said Andrea Dovizioso, a four-race winning thus far this season. “There is one less competitor in the championship. We are really strong, and I think it will be a nice battle at the end of the season.”MotoGP

Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team: "We know on paper this is not a good track for our bike, but this year some tracks where we had good results weren't good on paper. We have to try to manage the weekend like the last two. At Silverstone, we weren't the fastest before the race, but we worked the right way and were competitive. We did everything perfect for the race."

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: "Silverstone…we didn't finish in the best way. But, okay, we are now at Misano. We will try to keep the same mentality, the same level. We did a test here two weeks ago, and I felt really good. I will try to understand the conditions this weekend, try to understand the grip, and try improve session by session."

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez weighed in on Rossi’s accident. “I hate when I read sometimes, ‘Why are you riding? Motorbikes are dangerous.’ Of course, we would like to be on the beach, but there you cannot improve your skills. Also, you can get injured cooking, like Cal.”MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: "Misano has been a good circuit in the past—very good memories. Looks like [the weather] will be unstable. Silverstone was an amazing weekend, but here in Misano the conditions will be tricky. We will try to adapt. We know that, in dry or wet, normally our level is good."

Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha: "Silverstone was really good. I was feeling great, especially in the last laps of the race. I pushed myself 100 percent, and the bike was there. I'm really happy for that because we recovered a lot of feeling, especially in the electronics. That is a good motivation for the next races."

Maverick Vinales
“It is impossible to be fit if you just stay on the sofa,” noted Maverick Vinales. “You always have a risk but if you want to be fit on the bike, you have to take it. You have to take care, but riding a motorbike, cycling, running, you always have some risk.”MotoGP
Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow hopes to race despite cutting his finger with a kitchen knife. “It’s obviously disappointing after a good weekend at Silverstone,” he said. “Maybe it will cause me no problems, maybe I won’t be able to ride well. We’ll just have to see how we go.”MotoGP

Maverick Vinales, Movistar Yamaha: "For sure, it is a shame that Valentino is not here, especially because it is his home track. He is really fast here. It will also interesting for us trying to compare bikes, trying to compare data to improve. Yamaha is giving 100 percent, so we are going to try to be on the podium. It's important to start well on Friday."

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: "Cutting parmesan is a dangerous thing, you know? I wish I could give you a story, like I had to fight a bear, but no. I'm a terrible cook, so I don't bother. But I was cutting the cheese to go with my dinner that [wife] Lucy had prepared. The knife came out of the cheese and went straight in my finger."

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone is friends with Rossi and empathizes with his situation. “Our sport is very dangerous, no? But when I ride motocross, flat track, supermotard, I always risk a little bit. This is the situation.”MotoGP
Tito Rabat
“When you practice at home, you push to try to improve yourself,” said Tito Rabat, regarding training injuries. “In my case, to get fit is better on the bike than in the gym, but each rider has his own ideas. These things can happen.”MotoGP

Andrea Iannone, ECSTAR Suzuki: "Misano is a special weekend. I hope this race is one of the best for me. For sure, it is a very difficult season for us. I hope in these last six races we improve the performance a little bit. Always, we try our best, but the feeling with the bike at the moment is very difficult; I struggle a lot."

Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: "The future? First of all, I want to say thank you very much to Marc VDS for these two years in MotoGP. We think it is time for a change. I am very happy to go to Reale Avintia Ducati for next season. I think it is a very good opportunity to show that I can be a strong rider in the MotoGP class."

Franco Morbidelli, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: "[The Moto2 World Championship is] not over yet. We still have to push a lot and keep focused. Misano is a GP apart from the championship for me. I will try to give a little more because I have never been fast here. I would really love to make just a podium in a home GP. It would be really nice."