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Qatar MotoGP: Rossi revels in old school MotoGP thrills

“It was so funny! Like the old times - all of us together, making mistakes, but everybody on the same pace” – Valentino Rossi.
A dramatic MotoGP season-opener reached its climax with a thrilling victory showdown between Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi in Qatar.

Rossi began the race just tenth on the grid, but charged through the order to reach the rear wheel of Marquez's Honda by lap 6 of 22, when the pole sitter was running second to Stefan Bradl.

“Starting from tenth is very difficult, but we improved the bike very much from yesterday and I was so happy from the beginning of the race,” said Rossi. “I risked a bit in the first laps, but it was so funny! Like the old times, ten years ago - all of us together, making mistakes, but everybody on the same pace.

“I think the championship organisers achieved their goal because also on the bike it was fantastic.”

And there was plenty more edge-of-your-seat action to come.

Almost as soon as Rossi caught reigning champion Marquez the pair - separated by 14 years in age, but sharing an identical desire for no-holds-barred racing - began a back-and-forth tussle.

That soon became a victory fight when Bradl joined Rossi's Movistar Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo in falling from the race lead.

“I knew I had to fight with Marc, because we were the guys with a little more pace. But I also didn't want to make any mistakes because I had Pedrosa and Bautista close behind and for me a podium was great,” said Rossi. “I don't remember exactly how many times we passed each other - all I remember is that unfortunately the last time Marc overtook me!”

That last pass came on the penultimate lap, when Rossi had twice dived under Marquez only for the Spaniard to lunge straight back. Rossi looked set to mount one last attack on the final lap, but Marquez kept just out of reach, winning by a mere 0.259s.

“I tried to play my card. I had my chance to win, but unfortunately Marc was too far on the last lap, his best lap of the race. He deserved the victory,” said Rossi. “Anyway it is a great result for me. I will try next time, but now the key is to continue like this, because last year this race was great for me but then I had more problems.

“Now I feel stronger. I can ride the bike in a better way and I work in a better way with the team. So from Austin I want to try to stay in front. We know it's difficult with the Hondas, with Marc, but we have to try.”

Rossi was also relived that the predicted fuel consumption issues were not a factor on Sunday. The Factory class has one litre less race fuel for 2014 and Rossi, who needed a lift back to the pits after claiming second ahead of Marquez one year ago, feared his M1 would lose significant power to compensate.

“I'm so happy. My engineer did a great job, because this year I can get back to pits, so the fuel consumption was better than last year. My bike was so fast. I could stay in the slipstream of Marc. Sometimes also go to the side. I tried to overtake but he was very strong in braking for turn one. For sure the slipstream helped me but I think Yamaha worked well on the fuel consumption.”

After last year's (distant) second place to Lorenzo at Qatar, seven time champion Rossi went on to claim one win and fourth in the championship.

Tagged as: Yamaha , Valentino Rossi

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Rossi and Marquez, Qatar MotoGP 2014
Marquez, Qatar MotoGP Race 2014
Crutchlow, Miller, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Rossi, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Rossi, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Pertrucci, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Redding, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Aleix Espargaro, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Petrucci, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Zarco, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Lorenzo, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Baz, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Marquez, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Bautista, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Sam Lowes, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Zarco, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Folger, Dutch MotoGP 2017
Pedrosa, Dutch MotoGP 2017

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March 23, 2014 10:17 PM

Typical of the bashers to look at a "glass half empty"! How about..... At 35, VR managed to finish the race unlike some who are claimed as being better than he (on same machine and on same tyre). At 35, VR managed to finish on the podium unlike some who are claimed as being better than he (on same machine and on same tyre). Last year VR was slagged for finishing 10-15 seconds behind the top 3 and today he finished 2nd just .2 seconds behind the defending world champion. He has stated that the team has sorted his breaking issues and he has stated that he feels more capable on the bike with a years experience on it. Before predicting he will fall back, lets wait and see..... He loves the sport, he enjoys racing and he is still at the pointy end so why would he go fishing just because its not handed to him on a platter.....

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