Rossi rose to the occasion and delighted Mugello fans with a total of nine home victories on the scenic Tuscan track, including a stunning run of seven premier class wins from 2002 to 2008.
Here’s a look back at some of Rossi’s most memorable moments at Mugello, at an event he once compared to the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix due to its unmodified old-school track layout and unique atmosphere.
“Mugello is for me the most special race of the season,” Rossi said during his career. “Misano is great and close to home, but it’s more special because the track is fantastic and different from all the others.
“Since 1996, my first year in the world championship, the Italian Grand Prix has always been at Mugello. But this circuit was already very famous in the 70s and the layout remains the same.
“It’s not normal. Usually you have a lot of tracks with a long history, but with more modifications. But Mugello is the Mugello of the 70s.
“So a win here is special for everyone, but even more so for the Italian riders because we have the biggest support from the fans.
“And, just like Monaco on race day, the atmosphere, what you see, is something special. Something different from any other place on our calendar.
“When you look at the fans, especially on Sunday, it’s a very emotional feeling. It’s important to give more than the maximum.
The official retirement ceremony for Rossi’s famous No. 46 will take place on the Mugello main straight at 12.20pm on Saturday.
2002 – 1st
Rossi arrived in the premier class in 2000 as a double world champion and double Mugello winner at home (125cc in 1997 and 250cc in 1999). But his first two premier class appearances ended in bitter disappointment, falling from his 500cc Honda in 2000 and 2001.
It all went down in style for Rossi on his home debut in the new ‘MotoGP’ class, powering his 990cc Honda RC211V to a 2.4-second victory over rival Max Biaggi (pictured above) for become the first driver to win overall. three classes at Mugello.
2003 – 1st
Rossi took another win at Mugello in 2003 as home fans enjoyed the first-ever all-Italian podium on the track, with Loris Capirossi (Ducati) and Max Biaggi (Honda) joining The Doctor on the grandstand.
2003 was also Rossi’s last home appearance for Honda, but the Mugello magic continued with a first Yamaha victory in 2004, in a reignited six-lap battle, the shortest premier class race in all the time.
2005 – 1st
If Mugello fans thought the 2003 home podium sweep was memorable, 2005 saw Rossi lead an Italian top-four finish ahead of Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri at home.
It was the first time since 1968 that Italian riders finished in the top four in a premier class race.
Biaggi had managed to stay with Rossi until the flag, nodding angrily as he crossed the finish line just 0.3 seconds behind the jubilant No. 46, who stepped onto the podium with a ‘panel of mortarboard’ on the head – a reference to a recent honorary doctorate from an Italian university.
2006 – 1st
Rossi’s victory at Mugello in 2006 is considered by many not only to be his greatest victory on the track, but one of the best races of the 990cc era.
The M1 of that year had major handling problems and Rossi arrived in his home round only finishing eighth in the World Championship and having failed to complete the previous two rounds.
The race was to prove a non-stop fistfight, with Rossi battling Sete Gibernau (Ducati) and Marco Melandri (Honda) for supremacy in the first half before a first-corner error dropped him to fifth place with 8 laps to go. to go.
Rossi was back within head-striking distance within a few laps, but now faced the red flare of compatriot Capirossi, who fended off Rossi’s numerous passing attempts, until a surprise move in the penultimate round.
The Ducati power put the home heroes side by side along the main straight at the start of the final lap – but then Capirossi ran slightly wide under braking. An exhausted Rossi kept his composure to win half a second behind Capirossi, with Honda’s Nicky Hayden just 0.7 seconds to complete a popular podium finish.
The much-missed American memorably wore a red wig borrowed from one of Alice’s daughters during the podium celebrations!
2008 – 1st
After equaling Mick Doohan’s record of six successive Mugello victories in 2007, the first year of the new 800cc engines, Rossi claimed what would be his final Mugello victory in 2008.
Riding with arguably the best of his home helmets, the Italian put his fans in seventh heaven with a 2.2 second win over reigning Ducati World Champion Casey Stoner, with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in third. .
2014 – 3rd
Rossi’s winning streak finally came to an end in 2009, when he finished third behind Casey Stoner (Ducati) and Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo.
They didn’t know it, but Mugello fans wouldn’t see Rossi on the podium again until 2014.
At that time, a lot of water had passed under the bridge. A broken leg crash at Mugello 2010 followed the barren Ducati years, then a first lap crash with Alvaro Bautista on Rossi’s Yamaha home return in 2013.
Tenth in qualifying for the 2014 event, the podium drought may well continue, but the usual wave of home support cheered Rossi through the field on his 300th Grand Prix start to claim a comfortable third place, as Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo were battling for the win.
2018 – 3rd
Rossi had made two consecutive podiums at Mugello in 2015, before a frustrating engine failure while trailing teammate and race leader Jorge Lorenzo in 2016.
Another podium then slipped away with a fourth-place finish in 2017, when Rossi braved the pain of chest and stomach injuries from a motocross practice accident.
But the 2018 Mugello round will prove to be a landmark weekend.
Not only was it to produce Rossi’s final pole position, marking the last time the 39-year-old could surpass his much younger rivals for raw speed, but The Doctor then took his 13th and final Mugello stand in a best race. recalled for Jorge Lorenzo’s first victory on Ducati.
“It’s been a long time without pole position because last year  we’ve never had one and this year I’ve never been in the front row,” Rossi said.
“I was hoping for the podium but I didn’t know if I would get there, so I’m very happy. It was difficult to secure him until the very last lap, because Iannone didn’t give up, but in the end, it’s a great feeling here at Mugello.
1996: 4th (125cc, Aprilia)
1997: 1st (125cc, Aprilia)
1998: 2nd (250cc, Aprilia)
1999: 1st (250cc, Aprilia)
2000: 12th (500cc, Honda)
2001: DNF (500cc, Honda)
2002: 1st (990cc, Honda)
2003: 1st (990cc, Honda)
2004: 1st (990cc, Yamaha)
2005: 1st (990cc, Yamaha)
2006: 1st (990cc, Yamaha)
2007: 1st (800cc, Yamaha)
2008: 1st (800cc, Yamaha)
2009: 3rd (800cc, Yamaha)
2010: DNS (800cc, Yamaha)
2011: 6th (800cc, Ducati)
2012: 5th (1000cc Ducati)
2013: DNF (1000cc Yamaha)
2014: 3rd (Yamaha 1000cc)
2015: 3rd (Yamaha 1000cc)
2016: DNF (Yamaha 1000cc)
2017: 4th (1000cc Yamaha)
2018: 3rd (Yamaha 1000cc)
2019: DNF (1000cc Yamaha)
2020: Event canceled due to Covid
2021: 10th (Yamaha 1000cc)