16 March 2015
Qatar MotoGP Test: 'It will be a good season' - Rossi
“I really want to start this season. The guys are excited. I can tell you that, in spite of this day, we are ready to go!" – Valentino Rossi.
Like his rivals, Valentino Rossi was disappointed to miss out on the final day of 2015 MotoGP pre-season testing due to rain on Monday in Qatar.
Nevertheless, the Italian superstar is 'ready to go' for his 20th grand prix season, which begins at the same Losail Circuit at the end of this month.
"It was a real shame not to be able to ride at the last day of testing,” began Rossi. “The day was very important to fix the last things and to improve the bike before the race. The rain unfortunately did not allow us to complete these tests. However we can make a positive balance of these tests.”
Runner-up to Marc Marquez last year, Rossi has been ranked fourth, fifth and fifth in terms of best lap time at each of the three 2015 pre-season tests. But racing is a different matter and The Doctor, the oldest rider on the grid at 36, knows he has a fighting chance of the tenth world title he has been pursuing since 2009.
Rossi cited the new Yamaha gearbox, featuring seamless downshifts as well as upshifts, as the main progression over the winter.
“The pre-season tests were positive. The bike has improved from last year and this is the most important thing. It will be a good season," he declared. "There are many riders that will be fast and close. To stay ahead we must be 100%. The new gearbox will help us. It works well and this helps a lot in braking. This is not a huge advantage but it is an advantage.
“I really want to start this season. The guys are excited. We are all impatient to start this championship. Just a few days left and I can tell you that, in spite of this day, we are ready to go!"
Movistar Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli admitted he has some question marks over the team's Losail performance, which ended with Rossi and team-mate Jorge Lorenzo over half-a-second from Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso.
“For us it's a pity that it started raining here in Qatar. We had some difficulties during the first race last year and prepared some different settings to test today but unfortunately we couldn't. We will start next Thursday with these new settings, but until then we live in doubt and that's never a good thing.
“In Sepang we made some good improvements while it's not one of our best circuits. Here at the Losail International Circuit I'm less positive, because usually this track is good on a Yamaha, so the expectations before we started testing were different. We know that when there's a lack of grip we suffer a bit more than our competitors, but for me that's normal. We know we have to work and we will be ready in a week.
“A race is a race and both riders are used to doing their best during a race. I spoke with the technicians this afternoon and they are both quite optimistic. From what they've seen yesterday and also from what the riders have said, they will probably be able to prepare something that will work. The only matter is that we have to wait. The competition is growing.
“Yesterday there were more than ten people within less than a second, so for me, in terms of spectacle, we will add to a nice championship this year.”
Rossi and Lorenzo won four of the last six races of 2014, but Marquez's victory domination in the opening ten rounds meant the title fight was already effectively over.
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