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MotoGP, Rossi laughs: "It's true, I'm done.. they've been saying it for 10 years"

"Age doesn't count, I don't think about the risks when I race. We got the set-up wrong in Australia, Vinales' win was a cure-all for Yamaha"

MotoGP: Rossi laughs: "It's true, I'm done.. they've been saying it for 10 years"

Some interpreted Valentino's 6th place finish in Australia as a significant defeat at the hands of his team-mate or, worse, as the beginning of the end of his career. When we mention this to the Doctor, he bursts out laughing: “every time I get beaten they say I should stop, it's cool because they've been saying it for 10 years already”.

What did Maverick's win mean to you?
I see it as something of a cure-all for the entire team, because we were having a hard time and hadn't won for more than year, so doing so creates harmony in the team”.

Why were you not at his same level at Phillip Island?
We made mistakes, one was not changing the tyre, then also the bike set-up. This was clear when we looked at the data, but we needed to understand before, not after. In MotoGP now, you need a set-up that safeguards the tyres, that's become the most important thing”.

So age has nothing to do with it? You don't feel any differently to when you were younger?
(There is a pause before he replies) “No (he laughs). Physically, I feel fitter than I did last year, i'd had some problems at the end of a few races, even more so after breaking my leg. That's another reason why I trained more over the winter. But there may be a different between me and the younger riders”.

In what sense?
In terms of improvement. Vinales, for example, is 25 and it's only normal that he still improves season after season. While I have to work on the technical side, and on riding style”.

Pernat maintains that at certain tracks you may be holding back to avoid taking risks…
Honestly, I've never liked crashing, not even when I was 25 (he laughs). With experience, you learn to only give the maximum when it counts, while when you're younger you don't think and go flat out. You always need to be ready to take risks in a race though, I'm not thinking about holding back”.

Are you thinking about retiring?
"I've signed a two-year contract, but I haven't decided whether it will be my last or not. There are certain things I don't think about ahead of time”.

Is it the desire to score a 10th title that pushes you to continue?
They are just numbers, it doesn't really matter. In fact, I'll say that even if I'd already won it, I'd still continue to race. I'd be happy to be champion again of course, but I'm mainly racing to have fun and win races”.

It is possible to do that with this Yamaha?
I think that we need to continue to work in order to be constantly competitive. This is an important time because winter testing will soon begin. If they work hard in Japan, I believe we can improve in the medium-term”.

Now it's time to focus on Sepang…
I like the track, it's technical and fast. It's very different to Phillip Island, both in terms of climate and layout. It's tough physically, but also for the bike and the tyres. The weather looks like it's going to be unstable, so we'll need to be fast in both the wet and the dry”.

Do you think you can do well?
Looking back at the last tracks, Phillip Island was one where I'm strong and I'm disappointed because it would have been good to score a podium, something I've not done since Sachsenring. It's important to do it here”.

Translated by Heather Watson

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