Yesterday, June 25th, marked the two-year anniversary since Valentino Rossi's most recent MotoGP win, in the 2017 Dutch TT at Assen.

Although it's the Italian legend's longest losing streak during 14 seasons with Yamaha, it's not his longest winless run in grand prix.

That lasted another eight months, from October 2010 until June 2013, during which Rossi spent two seasons struggling at Ducati.

Whilst 'proud' of his past success, Rossi feels that one of the secrets to his 24-year grand prix career has been to always focus on the future.

"Usually I don’t like to look at the past, because my past is fantastic and I'm very proud of my career, but if you want to continue [racing] you have to work on the future," Rossi explained.

So how does Rossi assess his current and future situation?

"What do I see? We are in a difficult technical moment. I think and I hope that Yamaha have to do more, to be more competitive, because now with MotoGP the level of the opponents is very high.

"But I think I'm in a good shape. I can ride well. I can prepare for the races in a good way with my experience, so I think that we can be competitive."

Giacomo Agostini (eight) is the only rider to have won more premier-class titles than Rossi (seven), who already holds the all-time 500cc/MotoGP win record with 89 victories.

A further victory would be his first as a 40-year-old, a feat only three riders have so far achieved in the history of motorcycle grand prix.

Assen was the scene of Rossi's return to the top step after rejoining Yamaha in 2013 and the legendary Dutch venue would thus be a fitting place to end his current barren run.

Although team-mate Maverick Vinales was the only Yamaha rider to win a race last year, Rossi still finished as the best M1 rider in the standings (third), a role he again occupies heading into this weekend's round.

But with both Vinales and Rossi were taken down in Jorge Lorenzo's Barcelona accident, Rossi has dropped 26-points behind Ducati's Danilo Petrucci and fourth in the world championship.

"After the unlucky race in Barcelona we are ready for the two consecutive GPs of Assen and Sachsenring," Rossi said. "In Montmeló we did a good job in the garage, we worked well, and we were very fast.

"I felt good during the two laps in the race, so in the Netherlands this week we will work hard to get ready for the fight at the front again.

"The Catalunya test was positive, and I think the conclusions can help us have a good race weekend here. We will do our best.”

Rossi has finished runner-up four times since his Assen 2017 win, including a narrow 0.462s defeat at the hands of Alex Rins in Austin this year, as well as a fall while leading at Sepang last year.

"After an important and successful test in Catalunya, we come to Assen with some optimism and also quite a bit of fire in our bellies," said team director Massimo Meregalli.

"The way things ended at the previous round was a real shame and had serious consequences for our outlook on the championship.

"However, we are determined to make a strong comeback here this weekend and we‘re using the unfortunate incident in Catalunya to fuel our motivation even more.

"We want to be on the podium, and to do so we need to be at the front at every session, so that will be our focus."

Rossi took two podiums from the opening three rounds, but has been absent from the rostrum since. Vinales' has made one podium appearance this year, at Jerez.

But both Yamaha riders were part of the huge lead battle at Assen last season, with Vinales eventually finishing third and Rossi fifth.

Meanwhile, for those that say 'Rossi should retire' - remember he's the top Yamaha rider in the world championship, with more podiums than any other Yamaha rider this season and has been closer to victory than any other M1 in 2019.

The Italian is also contracted until the end of 2020 and, as things currently stand, why would any manufacturer want to lose their highest ranked rider?

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