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Rossi predicts tough time at Motegi

Rossi predicts tough time at Motegi

Rossi predicts tough time at Motegi

Valentino Rossi admits he is expecting one of the toughest races this season when he returns to the home of Honda this Sunday.

The Yamaha rider, who made the controversial switch between the factories last winter, cites a strong record for Honda and their horsepower advantage down the long Motegi straights as his main rivals this weekend, as he looks to defend a 29-point advantage over their leading rider Sete Gibernau at the top of the standings.

"Each remaining race is really important now we're heading towards the end of the season," said Rossi, who reported more fulsome and smoother bottom range power on his YZR-M1 after tests with a new exhaust system after his most recent victory at Estoril.

"Motegi will be really important and may be the hardest race for us. It's a Honda track and they will have an extra wildcard rider there. It will be quite difficult to beat everyone but I will try. Acceleration is the big requirement at Motegi; there are three 5th gear straights and one 6th gear. Hopefully we will find the horsepower we need.

"It's not one of my favourite tracks but I will give it my best go. The flyaways are more difficult anyway because Europe feels more like you're at home, you have your motorhome there, also I have the Yamaha truck where I get changed, and you have all your own equipment. The flyaways are less homely - you feel a bit more alone."

Rossi's ultimate aim is still to be isolated at the very top of the championship table by the time the series returns to Europe for the final round at Valencia on October 31st but the Italian knows that it may take that long for the title to be decided.

"I still think it's possible that the championship could be decided at the last race, but for sure it would be better if not!" he says. "The Estoril victory was really important because Gibernau seemed to be so strong at the Czech Grand Prix.

"There were five Honda bikes in the first five places at the Motegi race last year, so it will be quite hard for us there. But everyone in the team wants that victory so we'll go for it!"

To watch exclusive footage of Rossi's test with the latest version of the YZR-M1 at Estoril last week alongside several of his MotoGP rivals, click on the link at the top of the page.

MotoGP, 2004, CAMEL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN, Valentino Rossi

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