Yamaha recently unveiled the 2008 M1 MotoGP racer – a machine with which we suppose they’ll hope to make a comeback this year. The two machines – no. 46 for The Doctor and no. 48 for Jorge Lorenzo – will have to be something special if they’re to go up against the very formidable Stoner-Ducati GP8 combo.
Rossi, for one, seems to think things might finally be moving in the right direction for Yamaha. ‘In the first test, we just tried to adapt to our new motorcycle tyres, but from the beginning I was glad of our decision. It is a big change, but I am optimistic for the challenge. In Jerez, I led with the latest specifications, including the new electronic mapping, and my first impressions were quite positive, although of course we still have a long way to go,’ said The Doctor.
Rossi, five-time MotoGP world champ, has not been able to get his act together for the last two years. This year, he perhaps faces the biggest challenge of his life, as Suzuki and Kawasaki are catching up, Honda are putting in a huge amount of effort and Ducati seem to be strong as ever, if not stronger. ‘We have to devote a lot of time to understand Bridgestone as much as possible, to ensure that our bike functions than with the new tyres. We must also devote much time to the development of the new engine and improve the speed,’ says Valentino.
About his imminent retirement from MotoGP, The Doctor says, ‘Don’t even think about it! I don’t understand why everyone is asking me about this. 2008 is an important year, and we must return to being competitive. I will be competitive and I can win. I dream of reaching the end of my career at Yamaha, and I think it’s a dream that we can achieve.’
‘We come from two difficult years and we face a tough job, but the team is fantastic, we have all the right people in the right place and we have good potential. 2007 was unfortunate, but in 2008 we should have learned from the mistakes of last year. Last year, Stoner won many races, but I hope we have a more balanced season this year. Me, him and Pedrosa will be the most competitive for the title, and then there could be surprises from my fellow teammates Lorenzo and Dovizioso,’ concludes the man whom we still think is the most talented MotoGP rider among the current lot of racers, Stoner included.
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