Mugello MotoGP Preview: The Greatest Show On Earth?
By rights, the Italian Grand Prix should be the biggest event on the MotoGP calendar. Arguably the most spectacular track in the most spectacular setting on the calendar (though Phillip Island might rightly want to dispute this assertion), in the middle of Tuscany, one of the most beautiful parts of the planet.
It pretty much was once. In 2016, over 100,000 people turned up to watch Jorge Lorenzo pip Marc Marquez at the line to win the race. The following year saw a crowd of 98,000. These were among the biggest attendances of those years.
So it came as something of a shock last year when I was able to drive straight into the track on Sunday in 15 minutes. Gone was the customary 45 minutes spent sitting in traffic, slowly crawling toward the narrow two-lane country road which inexplicably serves as the main entrance to the legendary Italian circuit. Gone too were the masses of fans thronging that access road, swarming toward the track with chairs, ice boxes, and backpacks. Worst of all, the packed hillsides were also gone. At 43,661, the crowd was not exactly sparse, but it certainly wasn’t the same seething yellow mass that it was in previous years.