Valentino Rossi has only modest expectations heading into this weekend’s Phillip Island MotoGP clash in Australia.
The Italian doubts he will be a podium challenger on Sunday at the spectacular coastal track and he has completely written off any chance of winning a fifth Australian Grand Prix in the last six for Ducati.
Home favourite Casey Stoner never lost a Phillip Island race in four attempts at Ducati between 2007 and 2010 but Rossi believes a top six will be a positive result on the GP12 Desmosedici.
The 33-year-old, who will move back to Yamaha in 2013 after a disastrous two-year stint with Ducati, told MCN: “Last year Phillip Island was very bad and I was very slow. I crashed in the race but all weekend it was difficult. I hope to do better than last year and it depends on the conditions. I could have done quite a good race in the dry (in Sepang) because we had a good balance with the bike and my pace was not so bad.
I think I could have fought for sixth place in the dry and this is our level in a normal dry race. At Phillip Island you can have a lot of water and cold that usually means our bike is better. Now it is difficult but if I had to imagine something at Phillip Island, I think that sixth is our level.”