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Q&A with Valentino Rossi

Q&A with Valentino Rossi

The MotoGP World Champion gives an interview as he prepares for the start of the 2010 season, when he will attempt to defend his title.

As Valentino Rossi gets back to action in Malaysia at the first official MotoGP test of the year, the Italian has spoken on a range of topics.

What have you been doing during the off-season? How much training and how much holidaying?
It’s been split 50/50 between holidaying and training. The training during the winter is different compared to the summer, but it’s best not to stop training – it makes it more difficult to restart if you do stop.

How do you prepare for a new season? Is it more important to work on your fitness these days?
The physical preparation is very important for MotoGP, because you need power and resistance for the 45 minutes of the race, so I train at the gym as usual but at the same time I also try to train with the bike, or motocross or supermotard so as not to lose the feeling with the throttle or the brake.

At almost 31 years of age, do you think you’re still improving as a racer, or do you think you have reached the peak of your talents?
On February 16 I will be 31 years old! If you think you are at the top you have a big problem, because you always need to improve your style and speed, and try to adapt to the new bike, new tyres and new regulations and try to be that little bit faster than the year before.

Who do you think will be tougher to beat this season – Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner or Dani Pedrosa? Why?
It’s very difficult to understand who will be the main rival in 2010, because Jorge, Stoner and Pedrosa have all demonstrated in the past that they’re able to win Championships, are fast in all conditions at every track, and throughout the season. We also need to wait to see what level the bikes are at in 2010, but I think all three riders will be very difficult to beat.

You have made no secret of the fact that you’re not happy about the new engine rule restricting the amount of engines that can be used in a season. How would you change it if you could?
I think it will be a difficult rule or everybody because only six engines for one season is not enough – it’s very tight. If we had eight, or ten, it would be easier and less risky. But this is the rule, so all the manufacturers have to adapt to this rule, and also all the riders have to pay attention and try to save the engines throughout the end of the season.

Last year you made more mistakes than we’ve become accustomed to seeing you make. Do you think this was to do with the level your rivals pushed you to?
In 2009 I made three mistakes in races. That’s a lot, but two of them were because I had slick tyres in wet conditions. After the mistake in Indianapolis, which was the worst of the season, we will try and do much better in 2010.

What developments have you personally asked to be made to the M1 this season?
We’ve tried to improve the M1 in two ways. Firstly the chassis: we’ve tried to improve the stability of the M1 and create better grip. The second improvement is the engine, because we need a little bit more horsepower. At the same time we need to adjust to working with six engines for 18 races. So we need a little bit more horsepower but at the same time longer life for the engine.

What’s your opinion about Ben Spies? Do you think he can be a threat to the current ‘Big Four’ as many people say he will be?
A lot of people are waiting to see Ben Spies, to see his level. He’s the world superbike champion so it will be very interesting to see him in MotoGP. I think Ben has great potential, is a good rider, and is fast and brave. But I hope he will be a little bit slower compared to me, Jorge, Stoner and Pedrosa because four of us is already a lot!

What are your thoughts about the news of 1000cc engines returning in two seasons’ time? Is that an exciting prospect that makes you want to commit to MotoGP for even longer?
It will be interesting, and I’m quite happy because I liked 1000cc in the past. Now we have to understand the rules of these new bikes and new engines, and see if it’s possible to build an engine that is fast and fun to ride like in 2006.

Following your recent Ferrari F1 test, people are asking once again if you will move to F1. What do you say about this and how do you expect Ferrari to do this year?
I completed another test with the Ferrari F1 in Barcelona, and it was great. I enjoyed it a lot and did some quite good lap times, but I think it will be very difficult to see me in F1.

What do you think about Schumacher returning to F1?
I think it will be interesting to see his speed, after three years out.

Is what Schumacher is doing something you could see yourself doing: that is, leaving MotoGP for a few years and then returning, or do you think that when you do decide to retire it will be for good?
It’s a difficult question, I don’t know. A lot of great sportspeople come back, like Michael Jordan or Lance Armstrong.

When do you expect to make a decision about your future?
I think more or less during the summer. It’s possible I’ll decide what will happen with me in 2011 then.

Can you shed any light on what you’re planning?
On my future, I haven’t decided yet.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2010, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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