Valentino Rossi looks forward to 2008 Yamaha debut

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Valentino Rossi has highlighted the early 2008 winter tests as vital to get his factory Fiat Yamaha adapted to Bridgestone tyres with the new premier class season just seven weeks away.

With a right hand injury hampering his Bridgestone debut in November at Jerez, Rossi said at today’s world’s press at the official team launch in Turin that next week’s test in Malaysia will be heavily focussed on working with the Japanese rubber.

Rossi, who will also be making his debut on the new 2008 factory Yamaha in Sepang, said: “Testing on Tuesday in Malaysia will be very important as we get to test the Bridgestone tyres”, said Rossi.

“At the Jerez test my hand was hurt so I didn’t get to test the tyres like I would have liked. The bone in my hand has repaired perfectly but there is a ligament in my little finger that is hurting me, but it shouldn’t be a problem on the bike. Winter tests are very important, and sometimes not very truthful. The times are not important; it’s more about finding the right parts that work."

Rossi also confirmed that he’ll be testing a number of different engine specs at the test, and his team is still undecided on whether to switch to pneumatic valves for 2008.

“The bikes in Malaysia next week will be new. The first objective is to test for Bridgestone because Sepang is a track Bridgestone has done very well on in the past, “said Rossi, who will then concentrate on working on the engine specs and the bike when he returns to Sepang in early February.

The 28-year-old added: “We’ll focus on the electronic and engine at the second Malaysia test. It will be very similar to when we started in 2004 as we have two or three different types of engines to try. We don’t know which valves to use, normal or pneumatic. We need to know which will be best for acceleration and opening the throttle as well as power.”

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Rob Hull

By Rob Hull