Valentino Rossi reckons the challenge to once again battle Spanish duo Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa for victories in MotoGP is one of his big motivations in 2013.
One of the intriguing aspects of this weekend’s first race in Qatar will be to see Rossi’s potential now he is back on a factory Yamaha YZR-M1 in an attempt to recapture former glory following a nightmare two-year spell with Ducati.
Rossi is well aware that the challenge he faces to defeat Lorenzo, Pedrosa and impressive rookie Marc Marquez is one of the biggest of his illustrious career.
Lorenzo and Pedrosa won 13 races between them in 2012 and the Spanish duo battled for the title down to the penultimate round when Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa crashed out of the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island.
But speaking ahead of the first race under the Losail International Circuit floodlights on Sunday night, Rossi said: “I am happy about my performance in the winter tests. I was quite strong in Sepang and Jerez but we had some problems in Austin.
But we have to wait for the races because that will be a big difference compared to testing. But my feeling is very good. I like to ride the M1 and I am quite fast and I am sure that the level is very high and the other three factory guys are very fast in all conditions in all the tracks. It will be a great motivation to try to raise my level and my speed to fight for the podium.”
Rossi said on paper that the 2013 season promises to be one of the best in recent memory and that his return to Yamaha and the arrival of Spanish sensation Marquez added some spice to the 18-round campaign.
He added: “There are Dani and Jorge that are at the top level and they have demonstrated this again last season. But there is Marc from Moto2 and me back on a Yamaha that looks very interesting.”
The 34-year-old once again reiterated his ambition to win at least one more race in 2013 after a shocking spell at Ducati saw him finish just three times in 35 races on the podium.
“For me the target to be happy is to win a race, “said the nine-times world champion. “Also to try and stay on the podium as much as possible.”
For full coverage of the first MotoGP race of 2013 in Qatar, see the April 10 issue of Motor Cycle News.