Valentino Rossi wary of Indy challenge

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Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi has played down his hopes of becoming the most successful rider in MotoGP history at this weekend’s first ever Indianapolis showdown.

Rossi can break Giacomo Agostini’s record of 68 victories in Indy this weekend after he tied the Italian legend’s premier class winning tally with his sixth win of 2008 in Misano last month.

But Rossi, who broke his America jinx in Laguna Seca in late July with victory in a classic scrap with Casey Stoner, has already been a strong critic of the Indy circuit.

When a MotoGP test was held at the iconic motorsport venue back in early July, there were some complaints about the state of the track surface in some sections, while also concerns about the close proximity of perimeter walls.

While MotoGP safety bosses are confident there is going to be no major issue this weekend, Rossi is reserving judgement until he has seen and ridden on the new track, which sits inside the famous Indianapolis oval course.

The 29-year-old, who holds a commanding 75-point lead over Ducati rival Stoner going into Sunday’s 28-lap clash, said: “Indianapolis is a great, great question mark for everybody and we have had a lot of discussions in the safety commission about it. The track was slippery at the test and the wall in some points is very close, so I don’t know.

"For me it is important to have a 75-point lead going there, because I expect Casey will be very fast and competitive like he always is on a new track.”

The opening practice session on Friday morning has been extended by 30 minutes to 90 minutes to give riders chance to familiarise themselves with the Indy track.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt