29 January 2015
Valentino Rossi ‘thinking’ tenth world title
“Yes, I am also thinking to my tenth title” - Valentino Rossi.
Valentino Rossi began last season openly doubting his MotoGP future. He starts the 2015 campaign 'thinking' about a tenth world title.
The Italian superstar won a ninth grand prix crown back in 2009, also his seventh in the premier-class.
“I will just be focused on delivering my best, on winning as many races as I can. So... yes, I am also thinking to my tenth title,” said Rossi, during a Movistar Yamaha interview to coincide with yesterday's team launch.
The Doctor - injured in 2010, then struggled for two years on the Ducati - had been left with plenty of soul-searching after mixed performances during his 2013 Yamaha comeback.
That prompted a shock change of crew chief from Jerry Burgess to Silvano Galbusera. Other changes to machinery and riding style were less obvious, but the outcome was clear. A rejuvenated Rossi enjoyed his best season since 2009, finishing as title runner-up with 13 podiums, including wins at Misano and Phillip Island.
“The 2014 season was very important to understand my level of competitiveness after so many years in the MotoGP World Championship," Rossi said. "We did good races and eventually I ended up right behind Marquez in the overall standing, so I have all reasons to be happy about my performances last year. That is past, anyway, and now I want more. I am fully focused on a good start of the new season and I want to be immediately competitive.”
Rossi finished the season 32 points clear of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, but 67 points behind Honda's double world champion Marc Marquez.
Rossi expects his working relationship with Galbusera to be even more effective in 2015, since they understand each other better and have the benefit of last season's successful data.
“My team worked extremely hard last year and there was a great atmosphere in the garage. Silvano is at his second year with me and now he has all the information he needs to allow me to go even faster at every track. I too am feeling well so there are all conditions for an exciting season. I guess we will see the same four riders fighting for the championship. It's going to be a good fight”.
Although Honda won the opening twelve races (eleven with Marquez) last season, Yamaha took four victories from the remaining six rounds.
“Last year Marquez started the season in a perfect way,” said Rossi. “On the contrary, both Jorge and I were not at our 100%. Silvano had just joined my team as Crew Chief and I had to understand a few things. Jorge too was not in a perfect shape. Both of us, however, ended the season in a high and I am sure both of us will start the new season with a great desire to win. We will have to do a good job during the tests. If we do so, then I am sure Marquez will not go too far this year!”
The main technical request by Rossi and Lorenzo is for a gearbox that provides seamless downshifts as well as upshifts, like the Honda.
“I will ride the new bike for the first time in Sepang [next week], so I can't say at this moment [if I'm happy with it]. I know all people working on Yamaha's MotoGP project have worked very hard especially to make the bike better and faster. The test in Valencia last year gave us many interesting information and I look forward to seeing if the direction we decided to take at that time will pay us back. I think in Sepang we'll have many things to test. I am really excited to ride the new bike! I can't wait for it!”
With Colin Edwards having retired, Rossi, who will be 36 next month, is now the oldest rider on the MotoGP grid. Having achieved his aim of fighting at the front, Rossi duly signed a new two-year contract that will keep him at Yamaha until at least the end of 2016.
Pre-season testing starts in Malaysia on February 4.
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