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Ezpeleta backs Rossi, Crutchlow

10 January 2013

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is 'completely sure' that Valentino Rossi can challenge at the front of MotoGP in 2013.

The seven time MotoGP champion is switching back to Yamaha to try and revive his career after suffering two winless seasons at Ducati.

But despite spectacular past success with Yamaha, Rossi has publically expressed doubts about his 2013 potential, saying: "We have to understand if I'm still a top rider, still fast and if I can still fight for the podium.

"I don't know, because after two seasons like this, nobody knows."

However Ezpeleta is far more positive about Rossi's chances, telling BBC Sport: "I'm completely sure [Rossi] can challenge, with all the talent he has and all the experience he has.

"When he took the decision to go back to Yamaha it was because he wants to come back to the front. He was winning with Yamaha before and he can be at the front again."

Rossi, who will be 34 by the start of the new season, won four of his premier-class titles with Yamaha, the most recent in 2009.

Still the most popular MotoGP rider despite his victory drought, Ezpeleta admitted that 'The Doctor' doing well would be good for the sport as a whole.

"Valentino is a big name, he is a hero to many and one of the greatest riders in MotoGP history,” said Ezpeleta. "If he is coming to the podium and winning races it will be very important for the championship."

Ezpeleta also had glowing words for Englishman Cal Crutchlow, who took his first MotoGP podiums in 2012. Ezpeleta hailed the Tech 3 Yamaha rider as "one of the biggest talents we have seen in the last few years".


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