And came back stronger
From the disappointment of 2006 and 2007, Valentino Rossi came back strong in 2008.
The MotoGP World Champion with a record-breaking points total, the Fiat Yamaha rider used the bad experiences of his dry two years to his own advantage this
past season, as he himself acknowledges.
“I think that in those two years I learnt to lose, which is an important thing because everybody loses sometimes. The style and the character that you show when you lose is so important for when trying to win another time”, says the Italian on reflection of his most recent MotoGP campaign.
“There are a lot of different keys to my success in 2008. For sure the physical and mental preparation was very important, because I tried to fix one-by-one all the problems around me to arrive at the first race very concentrated on the target”, adds Rossi, who had attempted to address one of said problems with a switch in tyre manufacturers before the season´s start.
“I´m very happy with my work together with the team when Bridgestone had some problems, especially at the beginning of the year. I had a lot of pressure on me, because Michelin did a great job at the start and everybody said that I had made a mistake in changing tyres.”
“The change gave me a lot of extra motivation, but to start with it was difficult; we had to modify the settings on the bike and also my own riding style.”
The Doctor´ is also much more at home with his bike, despite having to make the radical changes to suit his new rubber. A step up in quality from Yamaha was a welcome move for the now six-time MotoGP World Champion, and appears high up on his list of explanations for personal improvement.
“Last year our bike was very slow, it wasn´t just the tyres.
I felt a great improvement and a great effort from Yamaha to improve the M1. I felt in my skin that in every test the Japanese worked very strong so I tried to do even better”, he explains.
As Yamaha continue work on the bike for 2009, Rossi´s rival will also be pushing hard. All of the top five gave the MotoGP king a hard time in various races this past season, and he expects nothing less of them in the coming year.
“Stoner I expected to challenge for sure, because in 2007 he was very, very strong. I always like Pedrosa because for me he rides very well, so I expect him to be very strong. Lorenzo arrived from two World Championships in 250cc was strong from the beginning; I know he has a good talent. Also Dovizioso. He is very strong and he was good on a bike that this year was a bit slower than the factory bike. In the future he will be a difficult enemy.”