Valentino Rossi confident of victory challenge

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Valentino Rossi has backed himself to mount a victory challenge in Estoril this weekend as the Italian plots a successful conclusion to the Yamaha chapter in his glittering career.

The 31-year-old is desperate to add at least one more victory on board a factory YZR-M1 machine after his recent stunning success in Sepang took him to 46 wins for the Japanese factory.

Rossi was declared fit to end the 2010 season recently when he consulted with doctors in Italy about the condition of his damaged right shoulder he first injured in a motocross training accident in April.

Rossi had feared the stress of the flyaway series of races in Japan, Malaysia and Australia would put extra strain on his shoulder and it was only last month that he was contemplating skipping the final two races to undergo corrective surgery.

He said: “I checked the shoulder in Italy and it is the same as before. It will resist so I can finish the season and I am so happy about that because I wasn’t so sure if I could do that. But I don’t have any more damage and I can finish the season before the surgery.

"The stress of the recent races hasn’t made it any worse. The shoulder improved a lot after Aragon. I don’t have any less pain but I suffer a lot less in the race.

"The three races in a row was the worst test for the shoulder and while the pain remains constant and I can finish the season and also make the test in Valencia.

"The last three races have been good for me. I’ve made quite good results and good races and I’ve always been on the podium. We have to try to finish the season with this average and trying to do the last two races at the top.

The nine-times world champion told MCN it was important that he ended his Yamaha career on a high before he immediately joined Ducati after the final race in Valencia next week.

He added: “It is important. I did an important win in Malaysia to arrive at 46 but I prefer to be 47 or 48. But for me it is important to try and win one of these last two races even if they are difficult tracks.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt