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Monday, 08 February 2016
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Ago: Rossi can't be happy with 5th place

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Da sinistra, Martin Brundle, Giacomo Agostini e Steve Parrish - GPOne.comGiacomo Agostini, along with John Surtees, was recently inducted into the Motor Sport magazine Hall of Fame.  After the event he spoke about modern day MotoGP, and the difficult situation Valentino Rossi finds himself in.

"I was happy to accept this award in England – the 15 time world champion said - in part because I've put the world of motorcycling among many champions of four wheeled sport."

Many people thought Rossi could challenge your records, but suddenly he is struggling to find success.  What do you think about that?

"Going to Ducati was his choice, and it turned out to be very tough for him; last season was negative from every point of view.  I can easily identify with the way he feels right now, and what it's like for him to race for fifth or sixth place.  When you are used to winning, even finishing second or third can make you mad, so being even further back is just that much worse."

Valentino Rossi e Giacomo Agostini - GPOne.comBut things seemed to go a little better during the last Sepang test...

"Valentino is improving, and I hope he continues to improve further, but I'm sure that he will never be happy with 5th fastest. What's important is that they are now on the right track, and I think he is more hopefully than happy."

This season will see the debut of the CRT's, what do you think of them?

"The CRT's are just a small patch on the series. It looks like there will be two categories sharing the track that have nothing in common; if they wanted bikes that were 5 seconds a lap slower than the MotoGP's, they could have used the Moto2's. Putting together bikes with such performance differences is meaningless. The gap is enormous right now, and I hope it can be closed soon."

The CRT's were created because of the economic crisis, but do you think here was a better solution?

"I don't want to start lecturing like a professor, but the time has come for everyone to sit down at a table and discuss the situation, listening to those who have experience in this field.  The biggest problem is the leasing of bikes for over 3 million Euro, which is simply too much right now."

What do you think about the move from 800cc to 1000cc engines?

"This is a decision that I really didn't understand.  It was intended to save costs, but it had the opposite effect, with the manufacturers forced to redesign their bikes and engines.  And I don't understand what they were trying to achieve: faster bikes on the straights?  The excitement isn't generated by higher top speeds.  What's the difference if the bikes hit 340 Km/h instead of 320? The real excitement is in the corners, when there is passing and battles for position.  The 250cc two-strokes didn't have amazing outright performance, but they still gave us great racing."

One last question for Italy in particular: why is there a sudden dearth in promising young riders?

"In recent years we have ignored the young rider programs, not really allowing our youngsters to develop. In Spain, on the other hand, they have done the opposite, with well run and observed championships for every age group.  The Italian federation has now realized their mistake, but they need time to get things back on track again. Hopefully another group of promising riders will come along soon."