Motegi MotoGP: Valentino Rossi bids to end Motegi barren run

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Valentino Rossi is hoping he can end his long-running losing streak at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan to delay Ducati’s Casey Stoner clinching the MotoGP world championship on Sunday.

The 28-year-old has never won on a four-stroke MotoGP race in Motegi, with his only success at the Honda owned venue coming during his first premier class championship-winning season when he won on an NSR500 two-stroke machine in 2001.

The Italian has a string of second places to his name in Motegi, but he must beat Aussie rival Casey Stoner to prevent the factory Ducati rider from clinching his first premier class world crown.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, Valentino Rossi, who bounced back to form with a stunning victory in Estoril last Sunday, said: “This is not one of my favourite tracks.

“I was able to win just one time in 2001 with the 500 and after that a lot of second places. Without 2005 where unfortunately I crashed with Marco (Melandri), the rest is always second and I’ve always been trying to catch Loris (Capirossi), but that never happened.

“It’s a difficult track and I think it’s very important the setting of the bike in braking. In Portugal we were strong in braking and we try to follow that way.

“The race in Portugal was very, very important. Not only for me, but also for the team and the atmosphere because it was a long time not on the podium. We arrive here very strong because it’s just four days ago since Estoril so it’s like we never stop.

“We have a difficult job because we have to arrive in front of Casey to keep the championship going. It is difficult but we try.”

Valentino Rossi said it was still critical he kept his focus to win the battle for second in the championship over Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who is 23-points adrift of Rossi with four races remaining.

“It’s important. It’s not like arriving first but second place is my worst result in my career. If we take out my first year in 1996, from ’97 to now I have always arrived first or second, so I try to follow this way this year.

“I think it will be a good battle with Dani in the last four races,” added Rossi.

The seven-times world champion confirmed that he expects to test some prototype 2008 parts in a one-day session on Monday immediately after the 24-lap race.

Valentino Rossi will be hoping to find some improvement as Yamaha desperately tries to close the gap the impressive Ducati.

Rossi added: “The Monday test is very important, especially now because the development in MotoGP is a lot faster than in the past. We have something interesting to try. Some new parts for 2008 and we have other stuff from Michelin so for sure it is important. I know what the parts are but know I don’t know if it’s possible to say."


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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt