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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Star rookie Zarco can grab front-row spot at Mugello

Injured Rossi fighting through pain barrier

Maverick Vinales (left) and Johann Zarco celebrate after the French GP
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Italian GP qualifying
BT Sport 2, 1.10pm Saturday

Valentino Rossi enjoys a raucous reception wherever he goes in the world but at Mugello, venue for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, he is accorded godlike status.

The Doctor won at Mugello in seven straight years between 2002 and 2008 but he hasn't won there since and is fighting through the pain barrier this week.

After a decidedly un-Rossi display in France where he made two mistakes on the final lap, losing the lead and then crashing, Rossi was injured riding a motocross bike in midweek.

He was passed fit to compete in Italy, but has admitted he is in a lot of pain.

Cal Crutchlow topped the times on the first day of practice on his LCR Honda as three of the top four riders in the afternoon were from satellite teams.

Championship leader Maverick Vinales lost some track time in the afternoon after a big crash, though he was unhurt.

Jorge Lorenzo has won five of the last six races at Mugello but he is still finding his feet at Ducati.

There is surely more to come from Marc Marquez, who ended practice day 13th, but the reigning world champion was not in the hunt for pole position in France and may be best left alone.

Vinales is attractive at 2-1 in the fastest qualifier market, particularly with Rossi unlikely to challenge him, but a better value bet could be Johann Zarco.

The French rookie has had a superb season and will be full of confidence after finishing second in front of an appreciative home crowd last time.

He qualified third there and after a prominent showing in practice he looks a decent each-way bet.

J Zarco fastest qualifier
1pt each-way 8-1 bet365

The Doctor won at Mugello in seven straight years between 2002 and 2008 but he hasn't won there since
E.W. Terms
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