Inspired by an impressive performance on his Yamaha MotoGP race return, Valentino Rossi heads to the inaugural MotoGP round at Austin, Texas with 'extra motivation'.
Rossi fought his way from seventh to second in the season-opening Qatar night race, but will face a tough task to reign-in team-mate and runaway Losail winner Jorge Lorenzo this weekend.
Both are also expected to face a tougher contest from Repsol Honda riders Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, who outperformed the Factory Yamahas during the private March test at COTA.
“Austin will not be an easy race, but for sure the podium in Qatar is giving us extra motivation,” said Rossi. “We have done a great job there and we can go to Austin with some more certainty. Our competitors will be very strong but our goal will be to bring home points.
“I am confident, I really like the track and my first impression, when we tested there, was that the circuit is beautiful. The track lay-out is very special: there is some downhill and uphill and the first braking zone is very technical.
“For me turn two is the best though and after when you enter into the chicane. The straight is very long, which is good for overtaking. I really look forward to racing at COTA.”
Team manager Massimo Meregalli insisted that Yamaha will be more competitive than during the test, which they left after day two of three, due to subsequent modifcations.
“We are going to Austin now in a different shape to one month ago,” he said. “The data we collected there will help us to prepare the base set up with which we will start the practices and also for sure the results in Qatar will be helpful too.
“The latest modifications we've made to our bikes are going to help. Austin for us is not going to be an easy race but for sure it's going to be better than the test.”
Only the Repsol Honda, LCR Honda and Factory Yamaha teams took part in the private test.