Valentino Rossi looking to extend winning run

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Valentino Rossi is confident he can extend his brilliant current form and his incredible record at Phillip Island in this weekend’s Australian GP.

Rossi clinched his eighth world title in Japan last weekend, but he has no intention of relaxing for the last three races as he goes in search of a sixth straight victory in 2008.

Rossi hasn’t missed a podium finish at the spectacular Aussie venue since his debut in 1997 when he finished sixth on an Aprilia 125 machine.

And he is hoping he can pile the misery on dethroned world champion Casey Stoner by defeating the Aussie in front of his home crowd.

The Italian said: “For sure I want to try and beat Casey in his home track, but I know it is difficult because he rides very well in Phillip Island and he has extra motivation from the crowd. Last year I was fast, also with Michelin and I was very close to Casey, especially in the first ten laps. It is a good track for me and Yamaha is always fast in Phillip Island.”

Rossi, who has ten podiums at Phillip Island, said: “I love Phillip Island and for me it is very difficult to decide which is the best between here, Mugello and maybe Barcelona. It is a strange track with the highest average speed on a lap and it is very fast and very flowing. You have a different feeling with the bike on this circuit compared to the other tracks.

“You are on the edge of the tyre with high speed and it is something very exciting. I have done a lot of good races here in my career, so I hope to make another one this weekend. Usually the races are very close and there is always a big battle and I expect it to be the same this weekend.

“Now the important thing is to stay concentrated and focused because we have three races remaining and I want to close the season with three good results. This year we have had a lot of tough battles so I hope to stay in the battle for the last three races.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt