Last year, with his Yamaha YZR-M1 down in the dumps, and with Michelin not being able to deliver, Valentino Rossi was angry, disappointed and ready to move from Yamaha to some other team. This year, the YZR-M1 seems to have been improved dramatically, the Bridgestone rubber is spot on, The Doctor is winning again (Rossi took his 90th GP win at the recent French MotoGP at Le Mans) and all is well with the world.
‘I was quite frustrated at the end of last year. I was in a bad situation. I wanted to finish my career with Yamaha, but at the same time I wanted a bike to win the championship. So I said ‘please, can you build a bike to win the championship?’ And they made a great effort,’ said Rossi, speaking to MCN.
‘Last year, the difference to Ducati was top speed and power, and the Japanese were back a little. The development was not good. This year, everyone works better and we have a better plan of evolution and development. Yamaha made a great step so this is fantastic,’ says an obviously happy Doctor.
With 90 GP wins to his name, Rossi is now the second most successful rider in GP racing history. But the no.1 spot remains elusive. Decades after he’s stopped racing, Giacomo Agostini still remains at no.1 even today. And Rossi wants that position.
Agostini notched up a total of 122 race wins in his career, while Rossi is now at 90. But while Rossi may never notch up another 32 wins, what he will certainly be able to do is match – and surpass – Ago’s wins tally in the premier class. With 64 wins in 500cc/990cc/800cc MotoGP classes, Rossi now trails Agostini by only four wins – a deficit which he’s likely to make up before the end of this year.
‘Ago has 68 in the premier class, so that’s just four more than me. Maybe we can reach this target,’ says Rossi. Then, speaking of catching up with Ago in the total race wins tally, he says, ‘122 wins means I need another 32 wins. Maybe it is difficult, but maybe not impossible.’
Hmmm… our guess is Rossi will definitely exceed Ago’s race wins in the premier class, but for the total number of GP race victories, Ago, with his 122 wins, will always remain at no.1.
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