Valentino often talks about how long it's been since he's won. The tradition was repeated at Le Mans too: "I believe it was in 2008. We were still using the Bridgestones," the interested party reveals the secret. "Then I raced lots of great races on this track. I got up on the podium many times, but there hasn't been a victory since. It's been a long time."
The last few years have not been painless for the Doctor and, for one reason or another, the top spot of the podium has been inaccessible to him. If winning can become a habit when everything goes well, can it also become a failure?
"I don't get used to not winning. I'm here because I think I can do it," Rossi emphasizes. "I leave home every time for a Grand Prix with the hope of succeeding. In the first part of my career, I won 11 races a year. If I didn't, I was sad. Now, to continue being part of this sport, I had to change my attitude. But I'm here to win. I know it's hard because so many are going strong ,but I have to try."
On the map, Le Mans is one of those tracks where it's not impossible. Only two years ago, Valentino had just missed a success, falling during the final sprint against his teammate Vinales.
"It's very early to say if it'll be possible to win here. I honestly don't know." He plays it safe. "I can, however, say that (((((I'm very curious to know how Yamaha will behave on this track, which usually adapts well to our bike and where, in recent years, I've been competitive. It's a long way from here to winning, and everything will depend on us: from how we'll work in the practice sessions, in the qualifying positions, and then it also depends on the weather. However, I hope I'll have other opportunities to win during this season," he said with a smile.
It's increasingly difficult lately to make predictions before putting the wheels on the track. Why?
"We don't know which features of a track are better suited for Yamaha. I'd say circuits with long corners, new asphalt, and a good grip, but that's a description of Jerez, and we struggled there," the Doctor observed. "For some reason, you never know what to expect. It's something caused by the union between motorbikes, tires, and track. Sometimes you get to a track and start at a good level, other times you have more problems. I don't know the reason, but usually Le Mans is a good track for us."
Like at Mugello and Barcelona, which will follow the French leg. On paper, a decisive part of the season is starting.
"I disagree. I think the GPs in Austria and Aragon will be more important for us, since we usually have more difficulty on those tracks," he rectifies. " However, I can say that, for my personal taste, this is the best part of the championship, the one where I have the most fun. From here until the summer break, it'll be important to get good results."
It's time for the historic tracks of the championship, like Imola was. The Doctor doesn't hold back and comments the decision that was taken to not race on the Santerno in SBK.
"Riders must play an important part in certain decisions, even if you know that someone can play a strategy with regard to the championship, as might have happened on Sunday with Rea and Bautista," he stated his opinion. " When it comes to safety, you have to listen to what the riders say because by doing a lap with the bike, you can understand things you're not able to in a car. As a general rule, when it rains, we should race. But, at Imola, there seemed to be lots of water, the asphalt wasn't draining, and that is a dangerous track even when dry, so it became even more so with the rain. In my opinion, the conditions were at the limit, but I was in front of the TV, not on the circuit."
Speaking of historical tracks, bikes will return to Spa-Francorchamps in a few years. First, with the Endurance championship, but the declared goal is MotoGP.
"I love that track, even though I've never had the chance to ride there ," he stated. "I think it's the most iconic and fascinating circuit after the old Nurburgring. One day I'll race on it, but I think it'll be with cars because with bikes it would be very dangerous. If they would make it safe, it’ll be one of the best tracks in the world."