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Rossi keen to halt Stoner's momentum

Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen on the Sachsenring podiumValentino Rossi says it is now essential to halt Casey Stoner's momentum, and that Yamaha must improve their bike and qualifying performance in order to do so.

Stoner's third race victory in a row has brought the reigning champion back to within 20 points of new leader Rossi in the standings.

The Italian finished second in Germany today, but had to fight through from the third row after only managing seventh in qualifying.

"It's a shame I had to start from the back, and in the first laps I lost a lot," Rossi told Italia1 television. "I could stay close to Stoner, even though he was a bit faster than me, so it would have been difficult to beat him anyway.

"I started well, we've perhaps understood what our problem has been up to now. I then lost a bit of time because there was a lot of confusion in the first two or three corners. But the start was good, so we most of all need to find our way in qualifying earlier and more easily, and we need to try to start from row one if we want to beat Stoner.

"In the last few races Stoner and Ducati have been a bit quicker than us, so we must work to close the gap as soon as possible. Now we go to Laguna Seca with this equipment, so we must try to do our best, even though it's a bit of a difficult track for us.

"Then we'll have a three-week break when we'll have to work and try to understand where we can recover those two or three tenths. But in my opinion it will be a tough season until the last race."

He added that the battle for the title between himself, Stoner and Dani Pedrosa was fiercely competitive even if they were not always dicing with each other in the races.

"The level in this championship is very high, we're very quick in every condition and we're more or less always the three of us at the front, fighting for it," Rossi said.

"Unfortunately there's not much on-track dicing, the races are perhaps a bit less enjoyable from the TV than they were a few years ago, but I can assure you that from the bike it's tough because we go quick."

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