Rossi: I've had to raise my game

Valentino Rossi says he is riding better now than when he won his first MotoGP titles, and has had to dig deeper than ever to beat his current opposition

Rossi: I've had to raise my game

The reigning champion - who currently holds a 30-point lead in this year's championship race - said the emergence of Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo had forced him to raise his game.

"I think this year the level is incredible," Rossi told AUTOSPORT.com in an exclusive interview.

"It is very high - especially the first four. First four are potentially world champion level. Because me, Lorenzo, Stoner and Pedrosa have enough performance in the throttle and the head to win the MotoGP championship.

"Also the bikes are very fast - Yamaha, Honda and Ducati are very strong - so this creates a high level of championship."

He said Stoner's title-winning performance in 2007 and the challenge from Lorenzo at Yamaha this year in particular had spurred him on to new heights.

"It is a great, great motivation for trying to improve," said Rossi. "Like with Stoner in 2007 and '08 I have to make a step. I have to make a clear improvement and to make an improvement at 29 years of age you have to work and struggle a lot - and make something more than in the past.

"And this year it is the same with Lorenzo. He is also my team-mate, with the same bike, so it means more concentration, more time dedicated to try and win. It is difficult, it is bad when you lose, but it is a lot, lot more exciting when you are able to win."

Rossi also thinks the races are more physically demanding now than when he won his first MotoGP titles with Honda in the early 2000s.

"Usually you don't make all the race at 100 per cent. Especially in those years, it was more about tactics, battle and afterwards push," he said.

"So if you make all the race at 100 per cent you crash for sure. But now the races change a lot. The rhythm is very fast from the beginning, from the first lap. The start is important, because with these bikes it has become more difficult to overtake. So now is very close to staying at 100 per cent for all the race."

shares
comments
Ducati expects stronger Stoner

Previous article

Ducati expects stronger Stoner

Next article

Exclusive interview with Valentino Rossi

Exclusive interview with Valentino Rossi
Load comments
The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano Plus

The three factors that crowned MotoGP’s newest champion at Misano

The prospect of Fabio Quartararo clinching the 2021 MotoGP world championship title at Misano appeared small after struggling to 15th in qualifying, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia took pole. Here's how the Yamaha rider turned it around, with help from an ill-fated Bagnaia tyre choice, to secure the crown with two races to spare

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on Plus

Marco Simoncelli: Remembering MotoGP's ultimate maverick 10 years on

Saturday 23 October marks the 10th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli's death. The one-time 250cc world champion and double MotoGP podium finisher was the ultimate maverick character with big hair, a big personality and an even bigger talent. Autosport pays tribute to a much-missed figure, a decade on

MotoGP
Oct 23, 2021
Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title Plus

Why Quartararo has evolved more than Yamaha on his road to the MotoGP title

Fabio Quartararo has his first match point in the 2021 MotoGP title race this weekend at Misano. While the 2021 Yamaha is a much-improved bike to its inconsistent predecessor, its the rider himself who has shown the biggest evolution this season. Oriol Puigdemont delves into Quartararo's growth.

MotoGP
Oct 19, 2021
How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda Plus

How KTM has wrestled control of young MotoGP talent from Honda

There once was a time when Honda controlled any young rider who emerged in motorcycling, but its market dominance has now swung to the side of MotoGP rival KTM and, to a lesser extent Ducati. Could this development have significant ramifications for the future?

MotoGP
Oct 12, 2021
Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider Plus

Why Marc Marquez has to reinvent himself as a MotoGP rider

Marc Marquez's romp to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas led many to believe the 'old' pre-injury Honda rider was close to coming back to his full powers. However, the 'old' Marquez will probably never exist again and instead he'll have to adapt to his new reality to return to title-winning ways in 2022

MotoGP
Oct 6, 2021
The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream” Plus

The Marquez self-preservation that fulfilled a COTA MotoGP “dream”

Marc Marquez scorched to his seventh Circuit of the Americas victory in MotoGP last Sunday with a display reminiscent of his pre-injury form. However, his path to the win across the weekend was in keeping with the current reality of his physical limitations, with self-preservation on Saturday key to his Sunday success

MotoGP
Oct 4, 2021
How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike Plus

How Ducati has developed MotoGP's most versatile bike

His third place at Misano made Enea Bastianini the fifth different Ducati-mounted rider to score a podium in 2021. Amid a season that has seen one rider amass the bulk of Yamaha and Honda's success, the Ducati's versatility makes for a potent weapon, but the contribution of a former leading light shouldn't be forgotten

MotoGP
Sep 23, 2021
The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career Plus

The next steps in the rebuilding of a stalled MotoGP career

Maverick Vinales’ early debut with Aprilia has been one of the most interesting plots of the recent MotoGP rounds. The results may not look standout on paper, but a closer inspection reveals just how much progress Vinales has truly made in understanding a bike that has taken him well out of his “comfort zone”

MotoGP
Sep 22, 2021