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Q&A: Valentino Rossi.

The former five-times MotoGP world champion is aiming to bounce back from two successive title defeats in 2008, when he will also switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres...


Q:
Valentino, firstly can you tell us how your hand is following your injury in Valencia?

Valentino Rossi:
It's much better than it was! I took some time off after Valencia and missed the Sepang test, but in Jerez at the end of November I was able to ride. It still wasn't perfect and I had some pain, especially on the last day when I finished early so as not to overdo it, but it was okay. After some more treatment over Christmas I think I will be back to 100% for the first test of 2008.

Q:
After the disappointing end to the season, were you able to take some time to relax completely and fully recover before starting afresh?

Valentino Rossi:
Yes, it was important to take some time to put the bad result of 2007 behind me and of course I thought about the year a lot. But after spending the winter relaxing and recharging the batteries, I am no longer dwelling on it and now I am just looking forward to the new season.

Q:
You have a made a big change to Bridgestone tyres for this season. Can you tell us about your initial impressions of your new tyres and their development so far? Are you happy with your decision?

Valentino Rossi:
It was very exciting to try the new tyres for the first time, and I was eager to see how they were and to meet the new people I will be working with. The first test was just about seeing the level and adjusting the bike to the new tyres, but from the start I was happy with our decision and I am looking forward to working more with Bridgestone and understanding more about their tyres. It's a big change, but I am positive about the challenge.

Q:
You have had some experience riding the new 2008 prototype M1. Are you happy with it so far?

Valentino Rossi:
We introduced a few pieces of the new bike during the end of season, such as a new cowling, some suspension setting, and others. Let's say that in Jerez I rode the latest spec, including some new electronic mapping, and my first impressions were quite positive, although of course we still have a long way to go. I was able to give my feedback to Yamaha and over the winter they will have been using my data, and the data of the other Yamaha riders, to develop the bike further. From the first test in January we will begin to work exclusively on the latest new bike and I am looking forward to this.

Q:
What specific areas do you need to concentrate on improving before the first race in Qatar?

Valentino Rossi:
We need a lot of time to find out as much as possible about the Bridgestone tyres and to make sure our bike is working at the maximum with them. We also need a lot of time to develop the new engine and make sure we're in a better position with regards to top speed. Luckily we have four tests before the first race and I am confident that we will be in good shape at the start of the season. Motivation is high and everyone is working at 100%.

Q:
Are you looking forward to the night race in Qatar? As a member of the safety commission, are you happy with how they've prepared the circuit for this event?

Valentino Rossi:



Related Pictures

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Valentino Rossi at the 2008 Fiat Yamaha launch at Turin in Italy (pic: Yamaha).
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j h

January 21, 2008 4:34 PM

I'm sure Rossi knows what he has let himself in for and I don't see Bridgestone giving up their advantage easily either. Don't forget Michelin have now lost one of their best development riders. The Pons Honda team had Biaggi on Michelins and Tamada on Bridgestones for a season and it seemed to work ok. I think the only problem Rossi will have will be a lack of data. Roll this week.



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