With new YZR-M1
Valentino Rossi officially unveiled, on Monday, the YZR-M1 he will tackle the 2009 World Championship with.
The Fiat Yamaha rider intends to retain his crown but reckoned it should be difficult as he expects a fierce opposition from his rivals.
was difficult because it was the year in which I had to give the most of myself in order to win. In 2009 it will be even more difficult because my adversaries, who suffered in 2008, are now out for payback and will be looking to beat me. I think it's going to be even harder than 2008!”, he said.
“I do think that Lorenzo will be one of my strongest rivals, because he has a year's more experience and this year there is also the monotyre, so we will start equal. He will be a very hard rival to fight”, he continued. “I think that the number one rival will be Stoner. Then also Pedrosa will be very fast, and of course Lorenzo.”
Having ridden the 2009 prototype bike before the winter break, Rossi had positive comments about it. “I had the chance to try the 2009 prototype briefly after Valencia but more so in Jerez, when I was very fast. The bike seems better and I was faster than I was with the 2008 version. I'm very confident, and anyway we're only at the beginning of our work and now we must use these months before April to improve the 2009 M1 even more.”
“In Sepang we will use our new bike”, he added. “I will use my two bikes with the parts which I will use in the race, so I want to quickly try to find a good feeling. We're working a lot on the engine and we're trying to find a way to improve the acceleration a bit, and I think that this is the area in which we will be concentrating.
The Italian is already the most successful rider in the history of the sport but still finds new targets – one of them being Agostini's record of 122 wins in all classes.
“Agostini's record is something very important, naturally. I am not far off, but to do it I would have to continue to fight and race for a few more years! My principal objective is to win a few more world championships; this is more important than catching Agostini. Obviously, if I succeed then it will be wonderful!”
But how does he keep his interest and hunger ? “To ride the bike on the track and to try to find ways to be faster, but above all to work with Yamaha and with this group of people, always makes me happy and therefore I feel motivated. I have been racing for a long time and every year I need to stay concentrated to find the right motivation and to be aggressive. I feel in form.”