Valentino Rossi cagey on title prospects

Published: 19 April 2013

Valentino Rossi’s stunning return to Yamaha in Qatar earlier this month has not suddenly convinced the Italian legend that he is now a serious title contender in the 2013 MotoGP world championship.

Rossi completed a fairytale return to a YZR-M1 in Doha when he fought back from a lowly seventh to second, which included a captivating late battle with rookie Marc Marquez.

But after arriving in Texas for the inaugural Circuit of the Americas (COTA) showdown on Sunday, Rossi said his pre-season ambitions to be a consistent podium threat and race winner remained.

When asked by MCN if his Qatar podium has altered his expectation for 2013, he said: “"I am very, very happy about Qatar but my target remains the same. To think to be a championship contender I have to win a race, so it remains the same but I am more positive, more optimistic. It is just one race, we have to concentrate and take important points also at the tracks that are not good for us."

The chances of a repeat of the Yamaha 1-2 that Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi achieved in the Losail International Circuit night race were unlikely, according to the 34-year-old.

Last month’s private Honda and Yamaha test at COTA was dominated by HRC duo Marquez and Dani Pedrosa and Rossi added: “The test here was not very good for me but after this test we modified the setting and in Jerez and Qatar I was more competitive.

It is true that the Honda's in the test were very strong and very fast, especially Marc. But also Jorge was not so far from the Honda's so our target is to try and go like him. We don't have to start already beaten, we have to try the maximum but I think this weekend will be more difficult than Doha. Racing is different to testing and we can be more competitive."