MotoGP Jerez, Rossi today: experience better than courage.

At Jerez it's the day for anniversaries: Lorenzo's 30th birthday, world championship race number 3000 and what might be Yamaha's 500th race win come Sunday. In the midst of all these figures, Valentino also takes a look back in history, starting with the Spanish track itself.

“In 1996 it was at this track that I carried out my first test in 125 with the world championship riders, I had arrived from Europe and realised what the level was like. They were passing me all over the place, 3 seconds up on me, it was quite a wake up call” he smiles.

Many years have passed, how have you changed as a rider?
“I have a great deal of experience which helps me understand what I need, also I now look at things more objectively, more philosophically”.

Do you miss anything?
“Perhaps a little courage, it we want to call it that. Or rather, 10 years ago I was more likely to take risks, I think it's normal but I don't know if it's a shame. Now I approach things more calmly, while once upon a time I was more daring”.

If you could speak to young Valentino, what you tell him?
“It was my dream to race in the world championship, I'd tell him to be calmer”.

Jerez is a winning track for you - you're at 9 so far.
“I know the track really well, because in the 125 and 250 days we'd often test here. It's also one of the most beautiful tracks and on race day it's always emotional to exit turn 8 and find yourself in front of all those fans”.

You seem pleased to be back in Europe…
“Yes, you feel closer to home, the tracks are rich in history and the atmosphere is different. Last year, I had almost a perfect weekend, with the pole position, the win and the fastest lap in the race, we'll see how it goes this time. This is the start of my favourite part of the season, with many great tracks one after the other. We need to score points and give it our all”.

Also because you have the responsibility of leading the championship.
“We're only 3 races in, but I'm enjoying this moment. There's a little more pressure but it's motivation above all. In the end, it's great because over the winter I had many issues and it took time to solve them”.

Have you done that?
“We only changed a few things on the bike between Argentina and Austin and I suffered less. We didn't change much at the Le Mans test either and the M1 worked quite well”.

How was the test day in France?
“In the morning it looked like it would be a wasted day but in the end we did well to go out on track, we lapped for a couple of hours in the wet and then in the dry. The new asphalt is fantastic, no more potholes and good grip. Michelin was worried because they thought it would ruin the tyres, but that's not the case”.

It's an intense testing period…
“It's great to spend time on the bike. My aim for the next races is to be faster and improve in practice, but above all to enjoy myself”.

Not easy after so many years.
“But I want to continue to race, I have a two-year contract with Yamaha and next year we'll make a decision about the future”.

Ezpeleta has said that there's room for you to have a team in MotoGP.
“I thank him, but I'm not interested for now, we'll see further down the line. I want to work with the youngsters, in the CEV, in Moto3, up to Moto2”.


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