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Old 02-06-2016, 03:10 PM   #1
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Valentino Rossi Talks Competition

Photo Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

Valentino Rossi says as long as he's still able to race for the win, he'll keep racing.

If there was any question as to whether “The Doctor” had any more gas in the tank, Valentino Rossi proved yes he does at the first MotoGP test of 2016 in Sepang, Malaysia. The 36 year old (37 in February) was very competitive, finishing fourth overall. And when you consider the removal of the softer compound tires halfway through the test after Loris Baz’ big crash, Rossi’s time on the harder compound tire realistically moves him up to second. There was still one guy that was better – last season’s championship rival and teammate, Jorge Lorenzo.

The reigning champ was the man to beat, and he bested Rossi by .976 of a second. Rossi gave credit to his teammate’s fast time, but also pointed out sometimes testing is about the work – his 147 laps over three days to Lorenzo’s 105.

“He [Lorenzo] feels very good with the tires and with the bike, he rides more on the limits and he rides better,” Rossi said. “But you know it’s just the first test. I did a lot more dirt work compared to him, I did more laps and everything, he concentrate more on the performance. But anyway his lap time is impressive for everybody, for me, but also for all the other guys that are behind me. We have to understand the way to go closer.”

After looking at the data, was Rossi able to see where Lorenzo was making up the time?

“He’s very good everywhere,” Rossi said. “He brake hard, he enter the corner very fast, is able to have a good corner speed… So at this moment he’s in a good shape and he rides the bike very well.”

In addition to Lorenzo, Rossi has another rival back in the mix (at least on the test track) – Casey Stoner. Stoner, while not a big threat to Rossi at this point, was in the mix on the final day of testing. It wasn’t something that bothered the nine-time World Champion.

“First of all is very good to see the lap times like this – Lorenzo, Rossi, Marquez, Stoner, Pedrosa – so everybody, this is very good for the championship,” he said. “Already the level is very high, but Stoner is another world champion that can come, and he was very fast in this test.”

Photo Courtesy of Movistar Yamaha

At the end of the three-day test at Sepang, Rossi trailed his teammate Jorge Lorenzo (pictured) by .976 of a second.

2016 is Rossi’s last year of contract with Movistar Yamaha. When he signed a two-year deal in 2014 some were amazed at his willingness to stick around that long, basically racing at the grands prix level at 37. But the Italian said that as long as he could prove to himself that he was still competitive in those early stages of 2014, he would stay. How about now? Is this his last year?

“It is a great pleasure and is my target,” Rossi said about his competitive performance at the first Sepang test. “Because like in 2014 the test and the first part of the season would be important for me to understand if I have enough potential to continue. So is good to be second here and to be at the top. I’m happy because I want to continue, but I continue just if I’m able to fight for the important position.”

Translation: number one.

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