I am convinced of one thing, that MotoGP™ today represents one of the sports with more respect. It is not always easy to see and notice this detail but, in my career, I can say that I have learned that our work is essential from this aspect. Respect among riders, even when the contrasts are strong, are often beyond the limit. There is a basis that unites us all, the high risk of this discipline that necessarily must lead you to respect a colleague, whoever it is. Starting from here, you can define yourself (or define yourself as always happens) more or less sporty, more or less professionals, more or less respectful.
They define me like that, perhaps one of the riders in MotoGP™ 'has more respect' than their opponents. I would say that mine is an attitude in the broadest sense, very natural, typical of my character and that has always accompanied me.
It seems that in recent years my popularity has grown. My name is today more than ever linked to that of my team and that of my bike, Ducati Desmosedici GP, for many I’m ‘Desmo Dovi’. Many remind me of what I have shown recently maybe without stressing that I have been in this world for eighteen years, trying to give my best in every season. Recognising this, my critics, like my fans, would increase their respect for me a little more. But this is my problem, marginal.
But I would like to talk about another 'type' of respect that makes me work every day with the intact desire of the debut in MotoGP™, that is, the great respect I have for what my team has done and is doing in recent years. I feel acclaimed as an ambassador to Ducati, I gave a lot for this cause, to bring this bike to victory but it is also true that this challenge has given me this challenge. A step away from the title for two seasons, could not have been so without mutual respect between me, rider and the ultimate goal of a job driven by so much effort and passion, and my team. All this deserves great respect and should be exalted.
I am surrounded by exceptional professionals, Gigi Dall'Igna is just one of them, and I am convinced that every year that mutual respect passes between me and him increases. We all want the same thing, winning the World Championship. The excellent relationships, the trust and the push in one direction are the foundations of this company cemented by so, so much respect.
I have a new teammate, Danilo. I do not deny that with him respect is as easy as we have a good relationship. He's a great person! I would just like to say that I respect my new partner on the track, a lot, but this will not stop me when I try to stand before him once the traffic light turns off (we've all already seen how fast it goes!).
It was always like that for me. Maximum respect but total desire to be the best. I respect Valentino for his long career as a winner, to be a reference for this sport but for me, it is not a term of absolute comparison. For him, I have great competitive respect, but when we return to the track I will do anything to beat him. Marquez beat me several times and is the Champion; he is the strongest rider now and deserves respect from everyone. But my team and I have proven to be strong. One of my goals this season and stand up front, fight to the last corner and respond with the same force to his unique way of driving, and then shake his hand in the parc ferme with a smile of great respect.
Among the curbs the opponents are all the same, they are rivals that separate me from my goals. They are not enemies and I try to understand, study and beat them but without taking them as a reference, it would only put limits on me. This is also a way of respecting them.