Valentino Rossi crushed when his Mugello dreams went up in smoke

This is exactly what you don’t want to happen when you aspire to your first podium finish since 2008. Poor Valentino Rossi.

You’d think the Italian’s home track would at least try to cooperate with him, but alas, it was not to be so. Despite the avid support he was receiving from his fellow countrymen along the sidelines, Rossi’s factory Yamaha began spewing smoke on the 9th lap out of 23. This was especially heartbreaking to him because he was making his most competitive showing at Mugello in years. Up till the disaster he was keeping very level with Jorge Lorenzo, poised to make an attack at any point.

“What can I say? Difficult to say something. I mean it’s a great shame, it’s always a great shame when you have a technical failure in the race.

“But this time also more because we are in Mugello and have a fantastic atmosphere with a lot of fans, and especially because I was strong all weekend and in the race. I felt good with the bike and was very fast… Today in the race I was very fast. And I was behind Lorenzo, but sincerely I think that I had a better pace than him, so I could for sure have attacked and tried to make my race. But unfortunately the engine broke.

“Unfortunately on lap six, the bike started to have a problem and the clutch didn’t open, maybe because the engine already started to seize a little bit. It is for that reason that I went wide. But in seven-eight corners I was already back on Lorenzo, because I was a little bit faster, but afterwards the engine broke.”

Valentino Rossi

The sheer injustice of it was that there truly were issues with those Yamaha bike engines and not just Rossi’s either. Jorge Lorenzo himself experienced issues with his Yamaha vehicle’s engine, but his particular issue had much better timing, occurring squarely in the middle of morning warm-up instead of during the race. As a result, Lorenzo has now snagged his third victory of the season and gained a ten-point lead over runner-up Marc Marquez. Rossi remains third but has dropped 37 points from the top.

This incident underlines an issue that we as motorsports fans often overlook. It takes much more than a racer, the most visible personality in MotoGP, to win a race. If the team that provides his vehicle can’t get its act together, it risks taking the chances of victory beyond his control. Unfortunately, because he is the one taking the literal fall right before our eyes on the circuit, he’s still the biggest loser at the end of the day.