Valentino Rossi is getting ready to risk everything in 2017 in a bid to win a tenth world title - and he’s glad to be losing Jorge Lorenzo as a team-mate in the process.
But the hugely successful and wonderfully wily 37-year-old already admits that as one terrifically talented title threat leaves the Yamaha garage, another one has walked in, in the shape of Maverick Viñales, just 21 but already a MotoGP race winner.
In an exclusive interview with MCN, the nine-time world champion admitted: “When I understood for the first time that Lorenzo was going, I thought ‘ahhhh, good!’ It’s very difficult to have a team-mate as fast as Lorenzo, and I thought it would be better with someone else. But now it seems that with Maverick it’ll be the same!
“Pedrosa would have been an easier team-mate. He is a little older, but he would still be a hard team-mate. But anyway, I don’t have any rights in my contract to decide my team-mate– Yamaha decide that without me.”
And with a twinkle in his eye, Rossi shrugs off further questions about whether he expects a frosty atmosphere to develop in the Yamaha garage.
To read our full exclusive interview with Valentino Rossi, pick up a copy of the December 28 issue of MCN, available in newsagents and on Android and Apple devices.
In the same issue we also speak with his main rivals for 2017; Ducati newcomer and three-time MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo, three-time champion Marc Marquez and Rossi's new team-mate in the factory Yamaha squad, Maverick Vinales.
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