Today, during a Zoom meeting, Valentino Rossi told us about his goals for this year, his relationship with the other Italian drivers and also about his future with or without a MotoGP motorcycle.
This morning we had the pleasure to participate in a Zoom meeting with the nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi. The Italian rider told us that “The tenth title isn’t an obsession. I still have some possibilities to win it, but my goal is to have fun and be competitive again. I have a lot of fans, I’m not giving up racing also to entertain them with some good battles.”.
“26 seasons is a lot of time. Last year’s results were worse than expected but now, after 19 years I’m back in a satellite team. I will have more time to focus on results because I don’t have to care too much about the development of the bike.” Then he continued: “I will have complete support from Yamaha and Petronas SRT has demonstrated that they can be competitive as well as the official team. This is a good moment for me to be in PYSRT, I don’t have to demonstrate anything to anyone, I just want to compete to try and keep the young Italians behind.”.
WORLD TITLE CONTENDERS: TOO MUCH TO BE LISTED
Valentino talked about the championship contenders of this year: “Marc will be one of the favourites, unless he misses a lot of races. As he said he will come back when everything is fixed. But when he will get back on the bike it will be difficult for everyone to contain him.” About the others? “I think that at least 10 drivers can compete for the title this year, and I’m one of them. Anyway they are too many to be listed, I would forget someone. I think that Oliveira will do some good things, as now he is in the official team and he already did good with the satellite. We will have to keep an eye on him“.
“”MY FRIENDSHIPS ARE STRONGER THAN ANY OTHER THING”
“I have worked hard throughout these years to make good and strong friendships. I am a great friend of Franco, we have worked hard to get him to MotoGP. Who would have expected to see us racing in the same team? It’s an interesting and special situation. As he said our friendship is stronger than MotoGP. I hope we will both have chances to finish on top this season.” Then the Italian driver went on talking about other friends on the paddock and in the Academy: “With the Academy, the situation got out of our control. When we started I wouldn’t expect to race with Franco, Pecco (Bagnaia) and my brother Luca (Marini). We often challenge each other and fight with different bikes, Now we will do it in MotoGP. By training every day with them I see also that I’m still fit and I beat them more than sometimes.”.
Valentino Rossi spent also some words for Yamaha test driver, Cal Crutchlow: “Cal is my friend too. It’s not easy to be a test driver. You need a lot of motivation to push the limit and develop a bike that you won’t be able to race with. The fact that he is perfectly fit will be good for him and for the team.”.
ABOUT HIS PREPARATION AND THIS YEAR’S BIKE
Rossi said that: “Last year I wasn’t really ready. It was a strange situation, we had to stop for three months and then we started all of a sudden. This year we started preparing before and I hope that the situation will remain normal as it has been so far. Preparation for me is more important. When you become older you need to work harder. Especially for the breath, more work on the bike, more running and try to improve your capacity, it’s not so easy.” The Doctor told us also some curiosity about the bikes: “Yamaha decided that for this year me and Maverick would have had the same bike as last year. For Franco and Fabio they kept the 2019 one, as we are more used to these bikes.”.
FAUSTO GRESINI: AN IMPORTANT FIGURE MISSING IN THE PADDOCK
The Italian rider had also some words for the recently dead Fausto Gresini: “He is an important figure in the paddock. He had a team in Moto3 and Moto2, and also in MotoGP, as our Academy. We will miss him also because we used to talk a lot. Our teams were just 15km far away from each other.” Rossi wanted to remember him as a driver: “I met him when he was young and still raced, I remember a lot of his battles. He died just at the age of 60, and he didn’t have any other health issue. Maybe now the world is more aware of how COVID-19 is dangerous.”.
RETIRING OR NOT RETIRING? THAT IS THE QUESTION
As Hamlet, Valentino Rossi has a big doubt in front of him. He doesn’t want to retire, but: “If there are no good results it’s useless. I will decide about my future in the middle of the season. If I get some good results probably I will stay. But I haven’t even spoken with the team, maybe they won’t let me choose. If I retire my life will change a lot. If you do something for 26 years straight it’s difficult to stop doing it. I’m happy with my career, I’m not worried about retiring.”. In the end, Valentino opened the doors to a future on the cars, maybe in the endurance championship: “I really like endurance races. I would love to drive for Ferrari at the 24h of Le Mans. I know that hypercar drivers are strong and it will be difficult to be fast as them. It will be beautiful to give it a try when I retire from MotoGP, and who knows, maybe I win something even there.”.