Valentino Rossi is aiming to bounce back from two disastrous flyaway races in Sepang this weekend to strengthen his bid to finish fifth in the overall MotoGP world championship standings.
Rossi crashed on the first lap of the Japanese Grand Prix and then tumbled out of fifth during last weekend’s Australian round at the Phillip Island circuit.
The 32-year-old has now slipped down to seventh in the rankings and he’s level on points with compatriot Marco Simoncelli but 17 adrift of Texan Ben Spies in fifth with just two races left.
Rossi, who has only scored one rostrum so far in 16 tough races for Ducati, said he was hoping to put pressure on Simoncelli and Spies in Sepang this weekend.
The long and technical Malaysian venue has been a happy hunting ground for Rossi and he’s won six times in his MotoGP career, including his last victory for Yamaha in the 2010 race.
He said: "In the tests I was not very fast, so we hope to be in better condition this weekend. We have to battle in the championship for fifth place. Now I am seventh and this is more or less my normal position this year but unfortunately I lost some important points in the last two races with the two crashes and without this it is possible to arrive in front of Simoncelli and Spies. But it is not over."
The nine-times world champion still expects to be troubled by the broken left little finger he suffered in the first lap crash at the Twin Ring Motegi less than three weeks ago.
He will start practice tomorrow morning without the aid of painkillers and he added: "Unfortunately in Phillip Island I had to do a lot of injections because the pain was quite bad to ride the bike. The finger is still quite big and the feeling is the same, so in the morning I will try without any treatment if possible and if I have too much pain we will have to see."