It's time to draw some conclusions at Valencia, and decide whether the season has been positive or negative results-wise. Valentino doesn't need maths to tell him that 2018 has brought more disappointment than satisfaction, though from a personal standpoint he gives himself a pass, “i'd give myself a final mark of 7”.
There are those who see it differently and say they've witnessed the best ever Rossi…
“I don't know about that, but I've definitely given it my all and ridden well. But in the end it's the results that count”.
And in that respect he has been lacking…
“Technically, we've suffered, I consider it similar to 2017 in this respect, though in the first part of last season we were more competitive. We've found ourselves in difficulty in many races this season and it hasn't been easy to maintain focus. When you fight for the podium or the win it's definitely all more fun”.
How have you managed to react?
“It's been hard, particularly at this point of my career, but perhaps it's just been yet another test for me (he laughs)”.
Now it's time to think about 2019…
“We've improved since the Thai GP and Maverick won at Phillip Island while I was competitive at Sepang but we still have a lot to do over the winter. I think the next 2 or 3 months will be very important in helping us understand how competitive we can be next season”.
Do you have faith in Yamaha?
“Historically they have always created winning bikes, so I trust them. We just have to work well and intelligently, but I've seen that the Japanese are more motivated of late, more with it as we say”.
So will we see big changes at the Valencia and Jerez tests this month?
“We'll have something new, mainly relating to the engine, we need to clarify our ideas in this respect as soon as possible. But we won't have a great deal, the big things won't come until the February test in Malaysia. That's ok though, the important thing is that the new elements work”.
In the meantime, you have third place in the championship to fight Vinales for…
“It's not exactly like fighting for the title, but it keeps me motivated. It will be important to see if what we found in Malaysia works at Valencia too. Anyway, managing to finish top three after such a tough year would be a positive result”.
Pedrosa will run his last race on Sunday, does that make you feel older?
“i already felt old without Dani's retirement (he laughs). I remember when he arrived in MotoGP in 2006, we were all worried because he'd won two titles in 250 and reached the podium in his first race. I remember so many battles with him, he deserved a MotoGP title. Everyone will miss him".