Q & A with Valentino Rossi

Valentino Rossi is a firm favourite with the British fans, and has achieved plenty of success at Donington Park in the past, albeit not in recent years

Q & A with Valentino Rossi

When he addressed the media at today's pre-event press conference, he spoke of his sadness at racing at the Leicestershire track for the last time before MotoGP's move to Silverstone, and reflected on what remains a very tight title battle.

Q. Are you sad that this is Donington's last MotoGP weekend?

Valentino Rossi: Yes, I think it's a great pity that this is the last time, because this track is very suitable for motorcycles and it's always a great pleasure to ride the bike here. Also the weather is the famous English weather, so sometimes you have to fight with the rain and cold, sometimes the wind, but the track is great. The last part is a little bit too tight, but the rest is one of the best.

It's also a great pity because I have a lot of memories at this track. First victory with the 500cc, a lot of great battles with Loris [Capirossi] and with Marco [Melandri] in 2006 on the last lap. I haven't won since 2005, also because Casey [Stoner] for the last two years was very strong. Last year was very frustrating because it was second behind Casey but it was not possible to fight him for the victory, so we'll try this year to do better.

Q. Italy is your main fanbase, but you're also very popular in England.

VR: Yes, it's also because I lived in London for seven years and at the time there were not any English riders in the premier class so I have a lot of fans for that reason and it's always a pleasure to come here. The passion for motorcycles here is very high.

Q. The season is going well isn't it?

VR: Yes, I'm so happy because since Barcelona I've come back very strong. A good result in the last race. But anyway the advantage in the championship is tight. I'm arriving from some positive results but we're only just over halfway [through the season] so I have to stay concentrated and work in the same way to try to arrive in front at the end.

Q. Why do you think it's such a close championship?

VR: Firstly the mono tyre levelled the performance of the top guys a lot. Also some other riders sometimes are in the fight, but usually we have four that are in good shape and have the best bikes on the grid. One mistake from me and Jorge [Lorenzo], but Stoner always arrives at the end of the races, so for this reason the championship is very tight.

Q. Are you expecting Sunday to be just as close, depending on the weather?

VR: Yes, the weather will be so important for the weekend, like always. It's important to try to get some kilometres in the dry. The track is famous for a lack of grip, so you need to set the bike to achieve as much grip as possible on a surface that is not very kind with the tyres. Also we have to wait for the conditions, and if it will be wet it will be so difficult because there are a lot of angles with different cambers, going down the hill is always tricky, and also when it rains it is so cold. We have to wait and hope for good weather for the weekend.

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Rossi not taking title for granted
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