MotoGP: Valentino Rossi happy to be competitive

1 of 1

Valentino Rossi has spoken of his joy and relief that his 2008 factory Yamaha machine is a vast improvement on last year after he recorded his 100th MotoGP podium in Jerez.

Rossi had a torrid time in 2007, with his YZR-M1 on Michelin tyres no match for Casey Stoner’s Ducati and Bridgestone package.

Italian Rossi got so upset with the performance of his Fiat-backed Yamaha that he issued a quit threat to Japanese management at last season’s final race in Valencia.

The 29-year-old warned Yamaha that he would walk away at the end of 2008 unless he was given a more competitive and reliable bike.

Sitting third in the points standings after two races, Rossi believes Yamaha has turned a corner and he said: “Valencia 2007 was an important race because we touched rock bottom in terms of results, bad luck and performance of the bike.

“At that moment our bike was the slowest in the field and Yamaha can’t allow this. It seems they have reacted and put in an enormous effort and now our bike is very competitive.”

Rossi said he was happy that now he was in a position to regularly fight for the podium and victories, even though he hasn‚t triumphed since his win in the Estoril GP in Portugal last September.

His barren run extends to six races and he added: “To win this year is very important but it will be difficult. I have very, very strong rivals who are very combative. But the important thing is to have the conditions and support to try and fight and have a chance to win races. Then we will see what happens.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt