Valentino Rossi still motivated at 31

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Valentino Rossi reckons his motivation to stay on top in MotoGP is stronger than ever as the Italian icon celebrates his 31st birthday today (Tuesday).

Rossi recently struck a crucial early psychological blow when he dominated the opening test session of 2010 at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia in his quest for a 10th world title.

Clearly the Fiat Yamaha rider isn’t getting any slower as he gets older, and Rossi reckons his desire and determination is still as strong as ever as he prepares for another fierce battle with Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa.

Rossi told MCN: “The last test was important psychologically because it demonstrated to my rivals that I am ready for another season and this is important.

“In Sepang I am always good, as is the Yamaha, so it is one of the better tracks for us.

“We have wait for Qatar and some other tracks but the start is positive and I am happy.

“This year will be very tough but the good thing for us is that we are also in good shape so it will be another good fight.

“I am still motivated more than ever. I always try to be at the top of my shape, improving and trying to adapt to the new bike.

“You always need to adapt yourself to the new bike, to the new regulation. If you think you are at the top of your performance, it is a big problem!

“Every season has its own story, it is more and more difficult and you always have to be faster. This is my passion and I have had a great career with lot of good results.

“The way to race for me is to try and win. When I understand that will not be possible, it will be ciao.”

Rossi will be back on track in Sepang on February 25 with the defence of his crown beginning under the Losail International Circuit floodlights in Qatar on April 11.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt