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Podium the focus for Rossi after FP1

Podium the focus for Rossi after FP1

There is work to do after the first practice session at Sepang, says Valentino Rossi, whose aim remains a podium finish.

After a fourth-fastest lap time in the opening practice of the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix on Friday, Valentino Rossi was satisfied with the setting of his YZR-M1.

The Italian could secure the 2009 MotoGP world title this weekend at Sepang with a top-four race finish, and after his first outing of the weekend on his machine he was behind Fiat Yamaha team-mate and title rival Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa in the practice order.

Despite not being overly satisfied with his ranking in the session – during which the track temperature rose to 46°C – the Italian felt good on his bike, and was able to identify what needed fine tuning ahead of Saturday’s second practice and qualifying.

“The position is not fantastic. It’s because we worked with all the tyres – we decided to do it like this, to try to understand the amount of grip after a lot of laps,” explained Rossi. “With this temperature the tyre is under a lot of stress. We are quite happy with the setting and now we have to find some extra rear grip, especially for Sunday, when we have to do 22 consecutive laps.”

Rossi continued, “This weekend the training we do during the year will be very important. From now until the race we have to relax and drink a lot, because if on Sunday the temperature is more than 40°C it will become difficult.”

Rossi feels good on a track he is familiar with, and he is refusing to become distracted by the potential title celebrations that could ensue on Sunday.

“I like the track and it’s one of my favourites,” he said. “I have great experience here because of the amount of testing we do here during the winter, so I think we can be competitive and out target remains the podium for Sunday.”

“I have to maintain focus, because the first target is to try and win the championship, but it’s early. To reach Sunday in the best shape we have to work well in practice and be ready for the race.”


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