Lunedì, 24 Settembre 2018

MotoGP: Rossi ready to regain place as lead contender


Rome, March 29 - Valentino Rossi is optimistic he
will resume his place among MotoGP's leading contenders when the
2013 season kicks off in nine days' time at the Qatar Grand
After returning to former team Yamaha following two winless
seasons at Ducati, the nine-time world champion is keen to prove
he is not past it.
The outcome of the pre-season tests suggest that the
34-year-old is right.
He was consistently among the frontrunners in the first set
of pre-season tests in Malaysia in February.
On the penultimate day of the last set of tests in Jerez,
Spain, he hit the top of the timesheets last weekend for the
first time in two years.
It was seen by some as a sign that a new chapter had begun
in his career.
Unlike Ducati during his spell with them, Yamaha appear to
have prepared a competitive bike for Rossi and his teammate,
Spain's reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, with the YZR-M1.
Experts say the impression is that the YZR-M1 has an strong
chassis and is good to ride, although it may have some ground to
make up on the Honda factory team bike that Dani Pedrosa and
Marc Marquez will use in terms of engine power.
"The feeling is generally ok," Rossi said at the end of the
Jerez test.
"I was competitive in difficult conditions and also made
good lap times with the used tyre," added the rider, who won
four of his seven premium-class world titles during his first
stint at Yamaha between 2004 and 2009.
"The new chassis has some good and bad points. I am happy
about the test.
"I was competitive so I think we can be competitive for the
first race in Qatar too".
Rossi is second in the all-time race-win standings with 105
victories and he will be looking this season to made inroads
into the lead of his compatriot Giacomo Agostini, who won 122
grands prix in various classes in the 1960s and 70s.
However, he has played down hopes that he might start the
2013 campaign with a win.
"I'd make do with being up front with Lorenzo and the
Hondas to fight for the podium," Rossi said.
"It'll be an important championship with real races.
"Every time it's a test. Even though I've won nine world
titles and 105 races, I'm always under examination, maybe more
than the others.
"If you have a bad test ride, you are immediately
considered old, but that's sport".
Rossi finished the Jerez test second fastest in the
combined times, one place ahead of Lorenzo, who was quickest on
day one but spent the next two days working on honing his skills
at delivering pace over distance.
Britain's Cal Crutchlow, who rides for the Yamaha satellite
Tech 3 Team, came top.
"The winter tests are now done, we have done a good job and
we can start the season in the best way," said Yamaha Factory
Racing Team Director Massimo Meregalli.
"We achieved most of our targets and I think we finished
Jerez with Yamaha top three leading the practices which means
the package is really good.
"We are looking forward to Qatar and we are ready to

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