What an excellent day for the sport to see Valentino Rossi equal the great, and I mean that, Giacomo Agostini's record of 68 wins in the 500cc/MotoGP class. Rossi has now won the past three races and completely turned the championship around to a 75-point advantage at Misano last weekend, three clear races worth.
Rossi equalled Angel Nieto's record at Le Mans in May, leading us to ponder the fairy tale of Rossi to level with Ago in Italy rather than somewhere far away without atmosphere; like Malaysia.
But the fairytales like winning the last ever 500cc race and then the first ever MotoGP event, his last ever ride on a Honda and then his first ever on a Yamaha, continue to be written by Rossi himself. Our thoughts that he might equal Ago's record coming true not just in Italy, but a mere nine kilometres from his beloved home town of Tavullia. And all of this with Diego Maradona on the grid.
Giacomo Agostini and Valentino Rossi © DPPI
The crowd cheered with one of those roars that you actually have to be there to understand and feel the passion in. For the third race in a row, Rossi took the lead after Casey Stoner fell, who has left a great big wedge of 50 points in gravel traps over the past fortnight. You could hardly blame the vehemently partisan crowd for cheering, as even Ducati team manager Livio Suppo said over breakfast that morning that, in Italy, it is still thought that Rossi is the faster rider, and the Ducati the faster bike.