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Rossi pinpoints Shanghai for first Bridgestone victory

Rossi pinpoints Shanghai for first Bridgestone victory

After a long winless streak in the premier class, the five-time World Champion expects to reassume his mantle in China.

May 1st, 2005. The heavens open in Shanghai, and the first ever MotoGP race in China is a wet affair. At the height of his form, Valentino Rossi shows his mastery of the 990cc Yamaha M1 to take a memorable victory from wildcard Olivier Jacque and continue his leadership of the MotoGP World Championship.

Jump forward three years, and things look very different for the Italian star. Rossi is now on his longest winless streak in the premier class since his maiden victory in 2000, and has seen rookie teammate Jorge Lorenzo outshine him thus far in the present season. The five-time MotoGP World Champion is, however, still a potent force as proved by his first Bridgestone-assisted podiums in Jerez and Estoril, and the Fiat Yamaha package is assumed by many to be favourable to the odds of victory in Shanghai.

One of those predicting a Rossi resurgence is the rider himself, who came close to taking the win last year in a jaw dropping battle with Casey Stoner. Another Bridgestone rider, John Hopkins, completed the rostrum.

`Last year in China we weren´t quite able to win, but this year our bike is working very well and, together with our tyre package, I think we should be fighting for the victory,´ proclaims Rossi. `The race in 2007 was very exciting I think, a long battle with Stoner; this year I hope for a similar battle with my rivals but with a different outcome!´

The 29 year-old´s decision to switch from Michelin rubber to his current associates brought him in for some flack, and the jury is still out over the success of the change as the French manufacturer post some impressive results in early 2008. Rossi, who experienced a freak front tyre problem in the 2006 Chinese visit, is hopeful that the critics can be silenced this weekend.

`After Estoril we had a test and the primary focus was tyre testing with Bridgestone, working on material for Shanghai. We found some good things and I hope that we´ll be starting in good shape. We´ve had three races together now and I think the last two podiums, especially in Estoril which isn´t such a good track for Bridgestone, have shown that we´re making good progress in our relationship,´ continues Rossi.

`I hope that Shanghai is going to be the place where it finally all comes together. We´re not in such a bad place in the championship and there is a very long way to go, but our rivals are very strong so we can't afford to make mistakes and we need to try to take as many points as possible from now on.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2008, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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