MotoGP, Rossi: The 2020 results will tell me if I have the strength to continue

Meda's interview with Valentino: "I have sensations in the race, like when I started. At my age, it's a privilege to race for positions that count."


Withe the San Marino and Rimini Riviera GPs just around the corner, Guido Meda interviewed Valentino Rossi, live from the Misano circuit.

Here are some key excerpts from the interview with the nine-time world champion.

Riding around the streets of Tavullia with your racing bike. How was it?
"It was a really exciting moment. It's a dream we had as a children. It's the road that goes from the Ranch to the center of Tavullia, and goes up to the VR46. It's a beautiful road, where we used to race our mopeds when we were young."
Throughout your career, you've always been level-headed.
"Your character is an important thing, especially for sports, but also for life. When you get to a certain age like me, life teaches you that you don't have to be particularly sad when things go wrong and not even particularly happy when things are going well. The bar must always be kept a bit in the middle."
It's not easy.
"It's not easy. It's a sort of a question of character. From a certain point of view, it's difficult because you get to the Misano weekend and have a lot of pressure and commitments. On the other hand, after so many years, it's a privilege to be able to race with this bike before the public and try to get upfront."
When you have to race, is the pressure the same?

"The feeling is the same, from the first race to last Sunday, to this Sunday."
At 20, like at 30, and at 40?
"It's the same. Nothing changes. Maybe that's the beauty of it. If that feeling changes, where you don't feel comfortable on one hand but, on the other, it's exciting. Maybe that's why you race."
Two things emerged from the Misano tests: the first is that the grip of the track is less than last year and, in relation to your bike, which has difficulties with grip, this could be a problem. Then you went through a very interesting phase: “I arrived pessimistic, but I started off optimistic at birth." Can you put the two together?
"The track is a year older. The grip at Misano is usually never very strong, so it's a bit slower than last year, but last year the race was disappointing, since I finished seventh and, during the entire weekend, we went slow. Instead, it was better during the tests because the bike is doing better. Yamaha is working, and I think all the Yamaha riders are in great shape, even when it comes to strength, since we have the nuisance that's Quartararo. Every time he gets on a track, he gets half a second on everyone, and you're on the same bike, so you have to try to do your best and try not to get too far behind. However, he is a real nuisance because we all would have preferred him not being there, but it's still great, since it makes us all go faster."
Is Quartararo in a stage of his career where he's "all instinct"?
"He has an extraordinary talent. I expected him to be fast, but not like that. No one believed him. He gets on his bike and thinks of nothing. He has no history of negative experiences, and this helps him."
The bike seen at the tests presents two evident innovations.
"Finally! They are all small things but, above all, the exhaust, which softens delivery, finally. Then I like the carbon swingarm because the bike becomes a little more precise, a little better in entering. Finally, we get to the tests and have some actual things to try. Something that, in the past few years, had never happened, as if the Yamaha were working hard, and that's a good thing.
Does the fact that Vinales didn't present these improvements and show all this optimism in public mean something or did you test different things?
"I don't know how to answer that question. When I test, I try to understand if something is better or worse, maybe without looking at the times much. I think he was a bit better. And we've been quite competitive. We weren't even that bad with the pace. We were pretty fast ."
Is the real 2020 bike the one we'll see in Sepang in January?
"Yes, the good thing is that we've already gone through two tests with the 2020 bike. There's a 2020 bike, and that's already a good thing. We've already gone through two tests, and there's still a lot of work to do. There are things that are already going better and others that still aren't, but we started in Brno, like the others do, and like we used to do when we used to win. So this is positive, but I think it will evolve, at least until February of next year, in order to have the final prototype."
And is it also that bike to which all decision are linked for the future, and up to 50 years from now?
"Yes, in the meantime we'll have to go through the third part of the season because there are also six or seven races. We're working, and certain things can already be added this year. Next year's results will be important, in order to understand if I'll still have the strength and speed necessary to continue or not."
What do you think of Leclerc's victory in Monza?
"Leclerc is a phenomenon. He's great. He's a real pilot. You can see from his results because he won the GP3 and, in his first year, the GP2. Then he reached the F1 with Alfa Romeo, which is a half rankings car, and he went fast immediately. So then he got on the Ferrari, and he's scary. The F1 is great because there are plenty of other strong pilots, like Norris, for example, and then Verstappen. An important future generation. Monza was an unforgettable weekend."


Translated by Leila Myftija

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