Valentino Rossi feels more competitive than in 2015 title near miss

Valentino Rossi does not believe he is in the best form of his MotoGP career, but feels more competitive than in 2015, when he narrowly missed out on the championship

Valentino Rossi feels more competitive than in 2015 title near miss

While the Italian won the last of his seven premier class titles in 2009, his output has increased each year since rejoining Yamaha in 2013 after a tough Ducati stint.

Rossi won four races last year and led the championship until the final hurdle, when he was overhauled by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, finishing second by five points.

He has taken another step forward this year, winning two of the opening seven grands prix - and fighting for the lead at Mugello before his engine failed - with Lorenzo having claimed three and championship leader Marc Marquez the other two.

The 37-year-old downplayed the notion that he was in career-best form.

"The important thing is to be strong and fast on Sunday afternoon at 2pm," he said.

"This is what I've been thinking all my career.

"Last year I fought for the championship to the last race but sometimes in the race I wasn't fast like Lorenzo and Marquez.

"This year it looks like I'm stronger even if it looks like I have less points.

"It's a good moment, I like my bike, the Yamaha is very competitive, I like a lot the Michelin tyre because it's something I used a lot growing up, so it's something very familiar."

Marquez holds a 10-point advantage over Lorenzo following the world champion's DNF at Barcelona, with Rossi a further 12 points behind.

Both Yamaha riders have failed to finish two races, and Rossi believes the emergence of Suzuki and Ducati will only make the fight for big points harder.

"I think that this championship, every race it becomes more open, more difficult to understand, more interesting," he said.

"I think we are there at the same level, very fast like Marquez and Lorenzo, but at the same time also [Dani] Pedrosa, [Maverick] Vinales and [Andrea] Iannone are very strong.

"It will be very important on the race track, sometimes our bike is better, sometimes Honda is better, sometimes other riders are faster.

"But there is still 11 races to go, so the important thing is to work and try the maximum."

FORMER CONSISTENCY TOUGH TO MATCH

As the second-most experienced rider on the grid, Honda's Pedrosa has been racing against Rossi since entering MotoGP in 2006.

He acknowledges that while Rossi's current form is impressive, his consistency when he was winning titles was on another level.

"I think he races super now, especially when you have to give the motivation year by year, this makes things difficult," Pedrosa said.

"But I think when I raced against him in 2008 and 2009, he was really strong every weekend, which now is a little bit different.

"Now some Sundays he's fast some Sundays not so fast but like I said he is very tough."

shares
comments
Suzuki picks Moto2 leader Alex Rins for all-new 2017 MotoGP line-up

Previous article

Suzuki picks Moto2 leader Alex Rins for all-new 2017 MotoGP line-up

Next article

Casey Stoner: How MotoGP has changed

Casey Stoner: How MotoGP has changed
Load comments

About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi
Author Mitchell Adam
The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike Plus

The impossible problem Honda faces with its 2021 MotoGP bike

Honda hasn’t enjoyed an easy start to the 2021 MotoGP campaign, despite gains last season which looked to have carried over into the pre-season. Now admitting it does have issues in serious need of resolving, it faces an almost impossible task in doing so

MotoGP
May 11, 2021
How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem Plus

How Jerez underlined MotoGP's speed problem

The brutal nature of a series of crashes at Jerez has reopened the debate about whether current MotoGP speeds are beyond the safety limits of the tracks. But even if riders are supportive of the move, getting the manufacturers to find a consensus on how speed reductions should be achieved may be altogether harder

MotoGP
May 4, 2021
How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption Plus

How a Crutchlow helped Miller to Jerez MotoGP redemption

Jack Miller’s tough start to life as a factory Ducati MotoGP rider left him mentally battered and bruised, but a pep talk and positive reinforcement from a surprising source aided the Australian to show his full potential with victory at the Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP
May 3, 2021
What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best? Plus

What does Marc Marquez have to do to get back to his best?

Following his resounding MotoGP return with a seventh place finish in Portugal, Marc Marquez now must work to rediscover his best form before turning his attention towards results-based targets

MotoGP
Apr 20, 2021
How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge Plus

How Yamaha’s rookie-spec MotoGP star is taking charge

Fabio Quartararo is on a roll in 2021, having stormed to victory at a venue where he last year served up one of his worst races. Contrasting Portuguese GPs for Yamaha’s factory duo make it hard to understand just how good its 2021 MotoGP bike is, but the Portimao weekend has revealed one key improvement compared to 2020

MotoGP
Apr 19, 2021
The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return Plus

The hurdles Marquez faces next in his Portugal MotoGP return

Even by Marc Marquez’s own high standards, his MotoGP comeback on Friday at the Portuguese Grand Prix will be considered a success even if he didn’t top the times. But having shown competitive pace on his first day back, both Marquez and his rivals know plenty more challenges are to come

MotoGP
Apr 16, 2021
Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return? Plus

Where does Honda's new MotoGP signing sit ahead of its king's return?

Pol Espargaro’s first results as a Honda MotoGP rider may not appear special. But dig a little deeper and a clearer picture of his performance emerges. And, as Lewis Duncan writes, it’s cause for celebration at Honda with the return of Marc Marquez set to provide Espargaro with the reference he has been missing so far this year

MotoGP
Apr 12, 2021
The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons Plus

The "pit bull" MotoGP rookie already drawing legendary comparisons

MotoGP’s 2021 rookie crop is one of the strongest in recent years, but one is already standing out. Jorge Martin’s Doha GP heroics have courted many to compare him to numerous MotoGP legends. Autosport spoke to Pramac boss Francesco Guidotti to find out why MotoGP’s latest Spanish star is already making such an impact

MotoGP
Apr 9, 2021