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Rossi and Lorenzo ready for battle to continue

Rossi and Lorenzo ready for battle to continue

Fiat Yamaha colleagues Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo head to Assen feeling confident and ready for the next chapter of an exciting 2009 MotoGP title fight.

On the back of their epic duel in Barcelona Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will be expected to go head-to-head again at this week’s Alice TT Assen, with their fellow joint championship leader Casey Stoner aiming to spoil any Dutch Fiat Yamaha parties.

Rossi’s spectacular 0.095s victory over his young rival and team-mate Lorenzo at Montmeló was the 99th of his career so he will be gunning for number 100 in The Netherlands. Indeed, should the Italian win on Saturday he will become only the second rider in Grand Prix history to reach 100 wins - the other being MotoGP Legend Giacomo Agostini.

Rossi already has six Assen victories to his name but he has had some complicated visits in recent years. After two MotoGP wins in his first two years with Yamaha he injured himself in practice in 2006 but rode through the pain to finish eighth, before winning in style from 11th on the grid in 2007. Last year he crashed on the first lap but made up a gap of more than 20 seconds with a damaged bike to finish 11th.

Following a good post-race Monday test in Barcelona the 30 year-old is in strong form and hopes to make it two consecutive victories as the title chase heats up, this time at another of his favoured venues.

“Assen is a very special track for all riders and it is a wonderful place to ride a MotoGP bike, even if it was better before they changed the layout,” Rossi states. “Last year I had my worst point of the season there so I want to make up for that with a good performance, because the fans are very passionate and they deserve a good show.”

The World Champion continued, “After Barcelona we know how strong we are but also our rivals are strong too so we can’t afford to relax, we have to keep pushing. Montmeló was fantastic, one of my best wins ever, but the championship is very close between the three of us and so we have to try to win again to take the lead. There is still a long way to go but we have to remain consistent.”

Lorenzo, meanwhile, is also a big fan of Assen, calling it his favourite circuit. The 22-year-old Spaniard has a good record on Dutch soil, having won there once in the 125cc class and twice in the 250cc category on the way to his double title triumphs.

He Lorenzo crossed the line sixth at Assen last year on his first visit as a MotoGP rider, but after his superb performance on home territory at round six he will be doing everything possible to take back the advantage from Rossi.

“I could never have imagined after the crash in Jerez that I would have the opportunity to become leader again so quickly, but here we are at the front with Casey and Valentino,” Lorenzo enthuses. “The last three races have been fantastic and almost unbelievable, and now for the three of us it’s almost like we’re starting the championship all over again.”

“Assen is my favourite track and I am going there feeling very confident in my bike and my Bridgestone tyres and with all the team feeling very motivated. Last year I was sixth so the most important thing is to improve on that, but of course I am aiming for another podium, because consistency is the way to remain close to the top of the standings. We had a positive test in Barcelona and now I will hope to show our improvements with an even better performance in Holland.”

MotoGP, 2009, ALICE TT ASSEN, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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