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Valentino Rossi: Still breaking new ground

Valentino Rossi: Still breaking new ground

Valentino Rossi: Still breaking new ground

After Yamahas ‘Tour de Force' applied by new star Valentino Rossi at the last few tests of the pre-season in Catalunya and Jerez, where he clocked the fastest times, a lot of questions are being asked concerning what the fresh combination in MotoGP might be able to achieve at the first race of the year this weekend for the Africa's Grand Prix.

Rossi and Yamaha both start a new chapter in their MotoGP existence Friday afternoon and their respective impact and legacy in recent years throws up some interesting figures.

If Rossi should triumph this weekend then he will the first rider ever in the premier-class to take back-to-back victories with two different manufacturers. A win in Welkom would make him the first rider in the premier-class since Barry Sheene (1976, 77, 78 & 79) to own the opening race of the season for four years in succession.

Twenty five points for Yamaha would also represent their first victory in the premier-class since Max Biaggi won in Malaysia in 2002. This 18 race period without a win is the second longest for Yamaha since they entered the premier-class with factory machines back in 1973. The longest barren period for the manufacturer was 22 races without a win in the 1997/98 seasons, which was brought to an end by Simon Crafar at Donington.

Concerning accumulation of consecutive trophies the Italian´s record is impressive. Rossi's victory at the last race of last year in Valencia was the 22nd successiverace that he has finished on the podium. This run of consecutive podium finishes equals the all-time longest run of top three finishes in Grand Prix racing achieved by Giacomo Agostini over three seasons in the late 1960's riding the MV-Agusta. The last race at which Rossi failed to get on the podium was when he retired with tyre problems at the Czech GP at Brno in 2002, which ended a sequence of thirteen consecutive podium finishes. Trailing Rossi are Mick Doohan, with 17 (1994-95), Wayne Rainey, with 15 (1989-90) and again Doohan with 14 podiums in 1997.

Rossi's victory at the last race of 2003 in Valencia was his 54th podium finish in the premier-class. This takes him to equal fifth place in the following list of all-time podium finishers with the same number of top-three finishes as Randy Mamola. Ahead of him lies Mick Doohan (95), Giacomo Agostini (88), Eddie Lawson (31) y Wayne Rainey (64).

MotoGP, 2004, Valentino Rossi

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