Monday, September 29, 2008

Valentino Rossi, on learning to lose and then coming back to win…

Valentino 'The Doctor' Rossi, the greatest motorcycle racer of our times

No.46, The Doctor, made a historic comeback this year, winning his 6th premier class world championship with three races still to go. Including his wins in the 125cc and 250cc classes, this is Rossi’s 8th motorcycle racing world championship – no mean feat by any standards whatsoever. As 2006 MotoGP world champ Nicky Hayden says, ‘I know what it takes to win one, and it takes a bad dude to win eight of them. Much respect.’

Much respect, indeed. Rossi will be the only man ever to win world titles in the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc, 990cc and 800cc classes. The Doctor may or may not be able to match Giacomo Agostini’s record of eight premier class world titles, but he’s still, without a shadow of doubt, the greatest motorcycle racer of our times.

Speaking to, after winning the Japanese grand prix at Motegi this Sunday, Rossi said, ‘The decision to change to Bridgestone tyres, which I took together with Jeremy, my team and all the Yamaha crew, was very important, as were the changes to the bike, because the first 800cc M1 last year was not competitive enough.’

‘I think it's difficult to say, but maybe this is even better than the first championship with Yamaha in 2004. In 2004, I arrived after three championships in a row. The change was very big and no one expected me to win then – not even us, to be honest! But this year is great too, because I didn't start as the number one favourite after losing for two years. The taste of this is something special.’

‘In 2006, I lost because of bad luck. I still won the most races and was the fastest on track for most of the time, but in 2007 Stoner was a lot faster than us and so we got to the end with a big disadvantage. Winning this championship was very difficult, but also very, very important.’

‘I grew up a lot in the last two years. At the end of 2005 I had a great career and I had won all the important targets so far – 125, 250 and then five titles in a row in MotoGP with two different bikes. I felt unbeatable. But in 2006 and 2007, I learnt to lose and this has been very important. I came out much stronger and my level of concentration and effort to win this championship has been higher than ever before.’

‘I think Stoner next year will be back stronger again. Maybe he is the hardest rival I have ever had, more than Gibernau and all the others I fought against in the past. Last year, I was sorry that after so many successful years, some people thought Valentino was finished and Casey was the new Valentino. As I said, until I stop riding a bike, my objective will always be to win. I like this life and I always try to do my best in it.’

‘I am so happy that I have now won three titles with Yamaha because this is how many I won with my last team, and I want Yamaha to have the same merit. Now I have to get used to being world champion again! As I said, there are many strong riders, but of course I hope that in the future nobody will win like Valentino Rossi…’

Also see:
HUGE collection of 2008 MotoGP wallpaper...
Specs and first official pics: 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Face-off: Honda vs Zonda!
Specs and first official pics: 2009 Ducati Monster 1100 and 1100S
WSBK vs stock Honda Fireblade...
Specs and first official pics: 2009 Aprilia RSV4...
2009 Kawasaki ZX-10R Ninja unveiled...
First pics: 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R Ninja...
Specs, pics and video: 2009 Yamaha R1

Elsewhere today:
Michelin bid goodbye to MotoGP...
Jeremy Burgess speaks about the proposed single tyre rule in MotoGP...
For MV Agusta F4 CC owners: Need to get a car for the wife...?

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