Valencia MotoGP: Valentino Rossi third in Yamaha farewell

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Valentino Rossi ended his Yamaha career on the podium in Valencia yesterday, but the Italian was unable to clinch a fairytale farewell as he was overshadowed by bitter rival and Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi was in contention for an emotional final victory and the 47th of his Yamaha career when he suddenly started to fade with Lorenzo and Aussie Casey Stoner dicing for the lead.

The 31-year-old though blamed a lack of fitness for his failure to sustain his challenge as his training regime has been badly affected by the damaged right shoulder he suffered in a motocross training accident in April.

Rossi, who will ride for Ducati in 2011 and is due to make his debut tomorrow (Tuesday) in Valencia, said: “It was a great race for me because we suffered too much during the practice and I think it is one of the best races of my career at Valencia.

"I lost time at the start but I had a good grip from the beginning so I could push. I did some good passes and when I arrived in third place I was able to come back on Casey and Dani (Pedrosa). I made some great lap times and at that moment I think maybe it is possible to win the race. But Jorge rode ride very well.

"I was behind him and we were behind Casey, but unfortunately for the last laps I’m not at the maximum. I’m not fit, so I start to lose power to the right hand and then to the left and then to the leg. So I need more distance to stop the bike and I started to make some mistakes behind Jorge.

"I was running wide and I have to slow down. If you are not 100 per cent with this level it is impossible to win. But the podium is great and I kept third position in the championship.”

Rossi will test for Ducati this week before he goes for surgery on the shoulder that troubled him throughout the entire season.

He said: “Next Monday or Tuesday I will do the surgery. It will be quite a long time to recover and hard work but I hope to be quite fit for the first test in Sepang and if I will not be at 100 per cent I hope to be at the maximum for the first race of the next season.”

For full coverage of the final race of 2010, see Wednesday’s issue of MCN.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt