Rossi waiting for rivals to fire

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Valentino Rossi has told MCN he doesn’t expect his battle to win back the MotoGP world championship crown to come down to a scrap with just Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner.

A feature of the first two races of the 2007 season has been the impressive performances of Rossi, Pedrosa and Stoner, with the trio arguably the most consistent in qualifying and races in Qatar and Jerez.

Stoner won the first race of the season on an incredible debut for Ducati. Pedrosa is the only other rider apart from the Italian star to have a 100 per cent podium finishing record just two races into the new 800cc era.

Fiat Yamaha rider Rossi rocketed to the top of the world championship standings following his dominant victory in Jerez. But he is expecting more from other expected title contenders who have yet to hit form when the series resumes in Istanbul on April 22, 2007.

Reigning world champion Nicky Hayden, Marco Melandri and Stoner’s team-mate Loris Capirossi have been bitterly disappointing in Qatar and Jerez.

They have amassed fewer points between them than Rossi has on his own so far. But the seven-times world champion said it was way too early to predict the title scrap was already a three-horse race between himself and young guns Pedrosa and Stoner, who are tied for second in the championship.

“For me, the battle will be between Dani and Casey for sure from what we have seen so far. But I expect also Capirossi to come faster.

“I don’t know about Nicky and Melandri but I don’t want to say it is just the three of us already. For sure the three of us are very fast for this year but I think we have some other guys that will fight with us,” added the 28-year-old.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt