4 years ago
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The 2014 season saw nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi take a step forward in terms of competitiveness as he registered 13 podiums and two victories.
The brilliant Italian finished his 15th premier class season as the runner-up in the MotoGP™ World Championship and this year also saw him extend his contract with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP for two more years – meaning he will ride with the factory team until at least the end of 2016.
In addition to his nine World titles Rossi has now amassed 196 podiums and 108 victories and he unsurprisingly reflects positively on another successful year in 2014…
Q: The season is over. Can you evaluate your performance?
VR: “I am very happy about my performance this season. The balance was very positive. For me this was the key season to decide my future. Last year I wasn’t very happy and I had to decide whether to continue or not. My target was to get to the front, fight with the top three riders and aim to get onto the podium every race. Last year this wasn’t always possible. I am happy that I was able to make it happen this year. I’ve made some big changes at the beginning of the season, but these have worked and I'm happy for that. Throughout this season I’ve always been strong in the race. I had good races and good battles.”
Q: What do you think about this year’s M1? At the beginning of the championship you suffered some lack of performances, but in the second part of the season the M1 won races with both you and Jorge (Lorenzo).
VR: "Our M1 has improved a lot during the season, especially thanks to the good job done by both crews. Silvano, Ramon and all the engineers and technicians have worked very well. All together we were able to improve the bike to make it competitive and winning. It's a shame we weren’t able to improve the performance earlier on because most of the gap with Marc (Marquez) was created at the beginning of the season and then it became difficult to recover. If only we could start the season again now, things would go differently, but that's okay. What’s more important is that the bike has improved a lot and that it’s competitive now.”
Q: The results have been fantastic this season, the numbers speak for themselves. As a rider but also as a man, what does it mean to be back at such a high level?
VR: “It is a great satisfaction as both a rider and a man, because in recent years things had not gone well. The two years with Ducati were very difficult. Last year was a lot better but not enough for me to give everything I could, so I made some tough choices. They were bold, even risky, but now it’s a huge satisfaction to be here after many podiums and a couple of victories. It makes me feel even more motivated and I’ve had a lot of fun, knowing that I’ve been competitive enough to win two races and have fought for the victory at almost every race with Lorenzo or Marquez, which was my target.”
Q: Which was the happiest moment throughout the season?
VR: “The best moment was the victory at Misano in front of all my fans. I managed to get back to first place in the Italian Grand Prix after five years and it was great. I loved that race. I really enjoyed myself and I felt really good emotions. However, I actually enjoyed the second victory more because at Misano I was a little too excited. In Phillip Island I was able to appreciate the win even more. I really enjoyed it!”
Q: We know that you have prepared well physically and mentally after suffering the last three years. How were you able to make such a strong comeback?
VR: “I think the secret is to understand that you still want to be part of the game. To do so, you have to forget all the victories you've managed to get in the previous years and have a great humility. You also need to realise that, if you want to go on, you have to work hard. If you dwell too much on your past successes and say “well, I have won nine world titles and more than 100 races”, you’d rather stay home. The sport, your rivals, the tyres, your motorcycle, everything changes so instead you need to work more to be stronger. If you don’t, you’re finished.”
Q: In the second half of the season you have sent a clear message to your main rivals. How can you put more pressure on them and how can Yamaha help you to try to reach the tenth world title?
VR: “I still believe in it, as I always said. After this year even more because we are there at the front. We are really close to our rivals, but it will be difficult. Lorenzo will be stronger next year and Marquez won the world title by winning 13 races against my two. This means he won 11 more than me. The difference is huge. To fill this gap we have to work even better with the team, with Silvano, and also work hard with Yamaha to give us a hand. I think this year, especially at the beginning, Honda was much more competitive than our bike and the first half of the season was too easy for Marc. If we want to make life difficult for him, it’s necessary to be closer to him.”
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