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Rossi targets Nieto record... and then Agostini

Rossi targets Nieto record... and then Agostini

With 89 wins under his belt in World Championship competition, Valentino Rossi is just one away from that of MotoGP Legend Angel Nieto.

Valentino Rossi arrives in Le Mans, the scene of the eponymous 1971 film starring his hero Steve McQueen, hoping to emulate another of his idols with a ninetieth Grand Prix victory.

The Fiat Yamaha rider is within just one win of equalling the career total of Angel Nieto, the second-highest number of race triumphs in the World Championship´s history. Rossi has a fine rapport with the MotoGP legend, but is out to equal the record this weekend at the Grand Prix Alice de France.

`Ninety wins is a great number,´ noted the Italian in the pre-race press conference. `In 2005 I caught Mike Hailwood, a legend, and now I´m very close to Angel who is also a good friend of mine. We´ll try to equal his record as soon as possible.´

It seems inevitable that Nieto will relinquish second place in the all-time standings to the current MotoGP star, leaving Rossi in pursuit of another legend -perhaps the most legendary of all- Giacomo Agostini. The 29 year-old is aiming first for Agostini´s premier class total, an achievable figure that could be reached this season.

`Ago´s record is 68 in the premier class, so that´s just five more than me. We have the record of 90 Grand Prix wins to aim for, then the 68 MotoGP wins.´

The all-time high water mark is 122 wins, also that of Agostini and something that will be achievable at the earliest in the final race of 2009... should Rossi win every race of this and a further 18-race season.

For the 122 mark, that will be 33 more than now, so it might be difficult... but not impossible,´ he grinned.

MotoGP, 2008, ALICE GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE, Valentino Rossi, Fiat Yamaha Team

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