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Rossi sets sights on 80th MotoGP win

28 January 2013

Regular podiums will be Valentino Rossi's first target during his 2013 Yamaha MotoGP return, but the 'watershed' moment would be an 80th premier-class victory.

Seven time MotoGP champion Rossi, the all-time record holder for 500cc/MotoGP wins, has been stuck on 79 wins since his final M1 victory during 2010.

Two frustrating seasons at Ducati followed, prompting a return to Yamaha - on a two-year contact - where he will re-join reigning double champion Jorge Lorenzo.

In an exclusive interview with Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport during a PR visit to Jakarta - Rossi's first official Yamaha appearance since his return to the Japanese brand, whose MotoGP fortunes he helped transform in 2004 - The Doctor sized up the challenge ahead:

"It will be hard to be as strong as Pedrosa and Jorge. Not once, but regularly. With the M1 I will be more competitive, but for what? Fourth, podium, victory? I do not know.”

“The goal is to win a GP for the first time since 2010. If I do not win, but finish on the podium every Sunday then that would still be good. But a victory would be the 'watershed' moment."

Rossi added that he would like to finish 2013 with 'at least ten podiums' and top three in the standings. Rossi was always in the title top three with Honda and Yamaha, but his highest championship position at Ducati was sixth.

The Italian, who turns 34 in February, feels he has a fighting chance of a podium at round one in Qatar, depending on the pace of Repsol Honda's star rookie Marc Marquez.

Commenting on his disappointing Ducati career, Rossi said: "We were not able to adapt the bike to my style and I could not adapt myself to the bike."

“I left a bike that is always difficult to take to the limit, it never gives you the feeling that it's under control. But they have good riders and they can do well. We'll have to see what road Audi will take to make the bike better.”

Rossi will start his 2013 pre-season preparations alongside his MotoGP rivals at Sepang from February 5-7.

Fellow Italian Andrea Dovizioso is taking Rossi's place at Ducati, which was purchased last year by Audi, part of the huge Volkswagen Group.

In a recent Crash.net poll asking fans 'What will be considered a success for Rossi in 2013?' the most popular option selected was 'multiple race wins', which received 57% of the vote.


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