Valentino Rossi looking to improve in wet and dry

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New world champion Valentino Rossi reckons he has plenty of room for improvement in wet and dry conditions after a day of mixed weather conditions at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit.

The 29-year-old, who wrapped up his sixth premier class world title in Japan last weekend, was second quickest in a dry opening free practice session this morning.

But as rain fell shortly before the start of this afternoon’s second session, the Italian was only sixth quickest.

He told MCN: “It was important to make an hour in the dry and one in the wet. For the dry I am quite happy because I am quite fast but we have some problems, especially because the rear tyre has a big stress on the left side. You slide and spin everywhere after only three laps and the demand for the left side is very hard.

“We have to find some better setting to improve the traction. In the wet I am good in acceleration but I am not fast enough on the entry. I don’t have enough feeling with the rear and I lose a lot of time in the entry of the fast corners because I’m not keeping up a good corner speed. If it is dry we have to find some grip in acceleration and if it is wet we need better feeling on the entry.”

Rossi said he was still motivated to finish the season strongly in the last three so as not to give his rivals a psychological boost going into the long winter campaign for 2009.

He added: “I want to try and make three good races and good results. The target is to close the season three times on the podium. I think I have to put all my effort in the last three races because it is not only one race. If I make three bad results then already for next year my rivals are stronger, so I still have to go fast.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt