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An hirsute Valentino Rossi looks forward to IRTA showdown in Spain

An hirsute Valentino Rossi looks forward to IRTA showdown in Spain

An hirsute Valentino Rossi looks forward to IRTA showdown in Spain

With just one week remaining before what promises to be an electrifying test session at the Montmelo circuit in Barcelona, reigning MotoGP World Champion, Valentino Rossi, has hinted that he is enormously excited by the thought of lining up against all the other MotoGP entries in Spain. Recent tests in Sepang saw Rossi and his Honda RCV211V smash the lap record by three seconds, and it is this kind of performance that the Italian will be hoping to reproduce at the Catalan circuit.

'The Sepang test was very good, we put in a lot of good work on the bikes and we also got the chance to test some new parts from Honda. It's positive, because as well as making a good time lap time, I lapped consistently in the race simulations, which obviously is more important.'

Nevertheless, Rossi admits that making his Honda the best bike in the pack will not be easy, 'We still need to do some work. We do have problems, especially in braking because the bike is difficult to stop. It is especially nervous going into the corner, so this is something we do need to focus on.' Stopping the RCV211V is surely one of the least of Rossi's worries, and he goes on to admit, 'The bike has good potential. We are at a good point, not 100 percent, but we still have two more tests to make things right.'

All the teams are now looking forward to next week's IRTA test confrontation in Catalunya as the ultimate yardstick in their development. Rossi is no different as he remarks, 'I am really looking forward to Barcelona. It will be the first time we test with all the other bikes, and as such it is very important. I like the track at Montmelo, and I hope that the weather is good so we can test the bikes fully.'

Known for his past guises as Valentinik, Rossifumi and The Doctor, Rossi is not going to be drawn on his 2002 look as he continues to cultivate a new unkempt style, 'I don't have time for haircuts!', joked the World Champion. 'My hair is like this because last year I made the bet that if I won the World Championship then I wouldn't have my hair cut. It's been about three months now, but for the first race in Suzuka, we'll have to see.'

500cc, 2001, Valentino Rossi

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