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Rossi: `I've won a lot of races and some championships in Australia´

Rossi: `I've won a lot of races and some championships in Australia´

Rossi: `I've won a lot of races and some championships in Australia´

Valentino Rossi arrives at the Phillip Island circuit on top form, having clinched his fifth victory of the season just last Sunday in Malaysia. That morale- boosting win over fellow title contender Loris Capirossi has left him just 26 points shy of series leader Nicky Hayden with four rounds to go and his most successful premier-class circuit on the horizon. The Italian rider has taken MotoGP victory at Phillip Island for the past five straight seasons, adding to two previous successes there in the 250cc class.

Rossi can't wait to get back on track after one of the most exhilarating races of his career at Sepang on Sunday. The 27 years old rider is relishing every opportunity he gets to close in on series leader Hayden and can't wait for his next bite of the cherry at one of his favourite venues.

`Honestly I always look forward to this race a lot, and especially now, when my M1 is working so well," says Rossi. `Phillip Island and Australia in general is a special place, very beautiful. This race is very important for my team, because many of them are Australian and it's their home race, like Mugello for me. I want to thank them for all their hard work by doing well!´.

`Phillip Island is a magic track for me. I've won a lot of races there and some championships too, I love it! It's one of my favourite tracks, an ‘old style' track. We didn't test there this year but anyway the M1 always works well there and I love riding there. It's very cold this year, so it's going to be difficult with the tyres, but I am really looking forward to it´.

`After Laguna I didn't completely believe in my chances for the championship anymore, but then after Brno I said to myself ‘okay we still have a chance, we can try.' Now my objective is to win as many races as possible, then we see in Valencia.´

The target for Colin Edwards is a return to the early season form that culminated in a victory challenge at Assen in round seven. Like the Dutch TT circuit, Phillip Island is a place the Texan enjoyed huge success at during his World Superbike career and it provides the ideal scenario for him to work around the set-up problems he has encountered with the YZR-M1 machine in recent races. Edwards also has a special affinity with Phillip Island having built a strong record at the track during his World Superbike career, finishing on the podium on no fewer than eight occasions, including a win in 2001.

`Like Valentino I really love the track and I've had some brilliant races there over my career, with Superbikes as well. It seems to suit our bike, although it's going to be pretty cold there at this time of year so it's hard to predict the situation with the tyres. I had a tough time in Malaysia, where I was expecting to go well, so we're going to have to find something new this week. I really need a good result here´.

The Texan also benefits from the backing of strong local support, with friends and family always amongst the crowd.

`My Dad is actually Australian so Phillip Island is always a bit of a home race for me´, explains Edwards.

MotoGP, 2006, GMC AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX, Valentino Rossi

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