HRC boss impressed with Valentino Rossi revival

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Honda boss Shuhei Nakamoto might have witnessed a record-breaking rampage to a second MotoGP world title by star rider Marc Marquez, but it wasn’t only the Spaniard’s brilliant form that caught his eye in 2014.

Nakamoto has spoken of his admiration for the performances of nine-times world champion Valentino Rossi after the Italian stormed back to prominence on a factory YZR-M1 last season.

After a tough return to Yamaha in 2013 following a barren two-year stint with Ducati, Rossi finished second behind Marquez in last year’s world championship battle.

The 35-year-old won two races in Misano and Phillip Island and scored 11 other podiums to beat Movistar Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa in the world championship standings.

After a brilliant 2014, Rossi believes a 10th world title in not beyond his grasp.

And his renaissance in 2014 certainly impressed HRC chief Nakamoto, who was full of admiration for Rossi’s desire and motivation to return to the top.

Nakamoto told MCN: “Normally if you have a successful life then people don’t change or they don’t want to change. But he is still trying to change his riding position and his riding style and this is very impressive. When Marc is at a very high level like he has been, then to be close is very impressive and I take my hat off to him (Rossi).”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt