17-year-old Valentino Rossi en route to his first Grand Prix victory in the 125cc class in August 1996. (Photo: Mark Thompson/Allsport/Getty Images)

17-year-old en route to his first Grand Prix victory in the 125cc class in August 1996. (Photo: Mark Thompson/Allsport/Getty Images)

Sunday’s sixth round of the 2014 season will see nine-time champion Valentino Rossi make his 300th Grand Prix start in the 838th official race … meaning that the Doctor will have started in 35.8 percent of all Grand Prix events, reports Gregory Haines.

Meanwhile, , who has won all five MotoGP races in 2014, admits that will be a challenge for him after suffering multiple crashes on this circuit last year.

“Mugello is a tricky circuit – one of the hardest on the calendar,” Marquez told MotoGP.com. “We struggled a lot last year. I had many crashes over the weekend and then crashed out of the race also. Now I have an extra year’s experience and I hope it will go more smoothly for us.”

Alternatively, Rossi will be making a historic start in front of his home crowd, and will be gunning for his 10th victory at the Mugello circuit.

“This is one of my favorite weekend’s of the season,” says Rossi. “For this reason I will try to give my best. There are always 25 points as the other races, but Mugello is a matter of honor.

“Jorge has won the last three years on the Yamaha, doing fantastic races, and this means that the M1 is very competitive on this track. It will be my three hundredth GP this weekend and for that I am not very happy because it means that I’m old, but I’m happy because I am in good shape and I can still be very fast.”

A points-scoring position here would be his 267th in 300 starts (89 percent), whereas a win on Sunday would come 17 years, 9 months and 14 days after Rossi’s first 125cc win at Brno in 1996 – which would steal the record for the longest race-winning career across all classes from Loris Capirossi, reports Haines.

Additionally Rossi, who is now twice as old as when he won his first race, has won on seven different motorcycles and is the only rider to have won on 500cc two-stroke, 990cc four-stroke and 800cc four-stroke and 1000cc four-stroke machines.

He has competed at 36 different Grand Prix circuits, winning at 27 of them.

“I know that Valentino (Rossi) will be very strong at his ‘home’ race,” Marquez added. “Jorge (Lorenzo) has won there for the past three years and Dani (Pedrosa) is also very fast there, so we will need to stay focused and if we cannot challenge for the win then we must take important points for the Championship.”

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