Thursday, September 10, 2009

Valentino Rossi: ‘To improve at 29, you have to struggle!’

Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi, the greatest, most talented motorcycle racer ever

Autosport recently interviewed Valentino Rossi, who’s currently leading the 2009 MotoGP world championship by 30 points. If Rossi wins the championship this year, it will be his seventh premier class world title. The Doctor is the only man who’s won world championships on 500cc two-stroke and 990cc and 800cc four-stroke motorcycles.

While Rossi is, without a shadow of doubt, the most talented motorcycle racer in the world right now, even he’s finding it harder to win these days. ‘I think this year the level is incredible. It is very high, especially the first four. First four are potentially world champion level. Because me, Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa have enough performance in the throttle and the head to win the MotoGP championship,’ he says, speaking to Autosport.

‘The bikes are very fast – Yamaha, Honda and Ducati are very strong – so this creates a high level of championship,’ says Rossi, who adds that younger riders like Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo have made him work harder in order to keep winning. ‘It is a great, great motivation for trying to improve. Like with Stoner in 2007 and 2008, I have to make a step. I have to make a clear improvement and to make an improvement at 29 years of age, you have to work and struggle a lot, and make something more than in the past,’ he adds.

‘He [Jorge Lorenzo] is my team mate, with the same bike, so it means more concentration, more time dedicated to try and win. It is difficult. It is bad when you lose, but it is a lot, lot more exciting when you are able to win,’ says Rossi, who recently expressed disappointment on Yamaha retaining Lorenzo’s services for 2010. According to Rossi, each team must only have one main rider who’s battling for the championship. With Lorenzo also a part of the Fiat Yamaha team, Rossi says his inputs towards developing the YZR-M1 also, ultimately, help Lorenzo, which isn’t fair according to The Doctor.

Moving on, Rossi talks about how things have changed for him, in racing, over the last few years. ‘Usually you don't make all the race at 100%. Especially in those years, it was more about tactics, battle and afterwards push,’ he says, and adds that now he has to push at 100% for each and every race.

‘If you make all the race at 100% you crash for sure. But now the races change a lot. The rhythm is very fast from the beginning, from the first lap. The start is important, because with these bikes it has become more difficult to overtake. So now is very close to staying at 100% for all the race,’ says the man who has, till date, beaten every single man he’s raced against.

While Rossi has already signed on to stay with Fiat Yamaha in 2010, he’s free to do what he wants after that. He has hinted that he may or may not stay with Yamaha after 2010. If things don’t go his way at Yamaha, Rossi says he may either go to Ducati or he might even set aside his love for racing motorcycles and go to F1 or WRC.

Whatever he chooses to do after 2010, we’re sure there will be no dearth of options for one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever. Whatever The Doctor does, wherever he goes, we’re sure he’ll just keep winning.

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