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Rossi aiming for seventh win at Rio

Rossi aiming for seventh win at Rio

Rossi aiming for seventh win at Rio

Valentino Rossi arrived in Rio this week looking to extend an impressive affinity with the Nelson Piquet circuit, having won there on each of his last six appearances in the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP classes. His last three victories here have, of course, come with Honda, but after a hat-trick of consecutive wins on the Yamaha at Mugello, Catalunya and Assen, Rossi sees no reason why he can't continue his run.

"Rio is a special track for me, I think I've had the most wins of my career there, it's six GP wins in total, and two of those have been in the MotoGP class," said Rossi. "It's one of my favourite tracks for that reason, plus it has long corners for good sliding, and I've had a good feeling there on all the bikes I have raced there, and also I like the country of Brazil.

"My Yamaha M1 seems to adapt well to different circuits. It handles well, we have a good base setting and it seems we have to do less work to find the correct race set-up. We're a winning combination, Yamaha and I. I'm very happy to be in this position at this stage. This will be my first ride with the M1 in Rio but I think we should be able to make a good job and to slide it well.

"It wasn't in our plans at this point but to be halfway through the season and leading the championship is incredible. Sete is always there, riding very well and as it stands it seems to be between him and me. It looks as if it will be a hard fight right through to the end.

"Recently no one is splitting us and we're only putting five points between us each time. This championship is tight! You can see the other Yamahas up front and the bike has got its got good points and bad points, but we've done an incredible job from the beginning to now."

Rossi's latest victory in Holland took his total to four from the first six races, but the Italian says that opening triumph over Max Biaggi in South Africa remains the best yet.

"All the wins are hard but the first one in South Africa was the most beautiful one, as I was on the limit all the way through. As the bike gets more familiar it also gets a little easier to race for the win."

MotoGP, 2004, Valentino Rossi

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