Valencia MotoGP: Valentino Rossi ‘curious’ ahead of Ducati debut

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Valentino Rossi admitted that he’s curious to find out what challenges await him as he prepares to make his much-hyped factory Ducati debut in Valencia next week.

The 31-year-old will test for the Bologna factory next Tuesday (November 9) having opted to quit Yamaha back in August. 

The nine-times world champion said: “I’m very curious because it looks like the Ducati is very different compared to the M1 but I expect a competitive bike, perhaps a bit faster but a bit more nervous and aggressive but also with good power.

"This is what I think from following the Ducati on the track but it will be a great emotion on Tuesday morning like the first time with the M1 in Sepang in 2004. It is something that you will always remember in the next years.”

Rossi, who has won 46 races for Yamaha in a seven-year stint, reckons his final YZR-M1 appearance on Sunday will be an emotionally charged affair.

Rossi, who has won twice in 2010 in Qatar and Malaysia, told MCN: “For sure it will be quite an emotional race knowing it is my last race with the bike I’ve been with for the last seven years.

"But it will be a goodbye with a smile because it was a great history together and a lot of victories and a lot of achievements. But also a great taste to work together and improve the bike.”

Rossi was speaking in the same press conference room in Valencia where in 2003 he announced he was leaving Honda to join Yamaha.

And he added: “I am very happy and if in 2003 in this press conference room somebody would have said to me you will win four championship and 46 races, I would have signed with my blood.”

Rossi also spoke of the importance of moving with his entire crew to Ducati, led by influential Aussie Jerry Burgess.

He said: “For me it is very important and I know that for the guys and especially Jerry it is a completely new adventure. It is also a life choice but at the end all the guys say yes and I’m very happy because they bring a lot of experience and together we have a great atmosphere.

"It is a long time we have been working together. At the end of this year they have been together for the same time they were with Mick (Doohan), so I want to make more.”

He also said he would have switched to Ducati regardless of whether Burgess and the crew moved or not.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt