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Maverick looks strong but outsiders are value

Rossi must race through pain barrier

Danilo Petrucci could impress at Mugello
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Italian Grand Prix
BT Sport 2, 1pm Sunday

Valentino Rossi is 5-2 to win his home grand prix for the first time since 2008 after qualifying second of the grid for the showdown in Mugello.

A thrilling race is in prospect with the field closely bunched behind polesitter Maverick Vinales in qualifying, with some star names disappointing and a couple of surprise packages in the mix at the front.

Vinales looks to have an ideal opportunity to stretch his 17-point lead in the championship.

The big worry for Rossi backers is his fitness. He suffered chest and abdominal injuries in a fall from a motocross bike last week, and while he shrugged them off to top the times in third practice, the "severe" pain he has been feeling could take its toll over the full race distance.

Vinales should have the edge but is not a fantastic price at 7-4 or shorter.

Instead, it may pay to take a chance on a couple of bigger-priced Italian riders to shine in front of their home fans.

Ducati test rider Michele Pirro and Pramac Racing's Danilo Petrucci both showed up well in qualifying using an experimental version of the Ducati engine that looks to be just as strong as the one used by factory riders Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo.

Pirro, who leads the Italian superbike championship with four wins from four, is a sensational fourth on the grid but that was no fluke as he was fifth and seventh in the final two practice sessions.

Petrucci posted the second-fastest lap of qualifying only to have his best effort disqualified for exceeding track limits, but he clearly has the pace to make an impression from ninth on the grid.

Petrucci's only MotoGP podium finish came at a wet Silverstone in 2015 but he had two sevenths and an eighth this season before retiring in France last time out and could be set for a seasonal best.

D Petrucci
1pt e-w 60-1 bet365
M Pirro
1pt e-w 33-1 general

Leading grid positions: 1 M Vinales, 2 V Rossi, 3 A Dovizioso, 4 M Pirro, 5 D Pedrosa, 6 M Marquez, 7 J Lorenzo, 8 A Bautista, 9 D Petrucci, 10 T Rabat.

Leading standings: 1 M Vinales 85, 2 D Pedrosa 68, 3 V Rossi 62, 4 M Marquez 58, 5 J Zarco 55, 6 A Dovizioso 54, 7 C Crutchlow 40, 8 J Lorenzo 38.

The big worry for Rossi backers is his fitness. He suffered chest and abdominal injuries in a fall from a motocross bike last week
E.W. Terms
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