Wed Apr 11, 2012 | By Motogp @ motogp.com | Image by asphaltandrubber.com
Valentino Rossi spoke to motogp.com at the Wrooom 2012 event at Madonna di Campiglio on Tuesday, the second day of an action packed week in the stunning Italian Dolomites.
The Italian began a snowy day two of the annual Ducati event with a press conference followed by an interview with motogp.com, in which he stated that the 2012 season thus far looks like the team will be closer to the front than they were in 2011, “but the gap is still big, especially compared to Honda, and we still need to work a lot to fix our problems.”
Commenting on how he will approach these challenges this season, Rossi offered: “The target for the first race is to understand if we are on the right track in fixing the problems we have had. But I’m confident; it’s been one year that we have worked together and I think we have the potential to make a good bike, though for sure it won’t be possible to be competitive at the beginning, but we can try to be ready for the first race.”
“The expectation is to do better than we did in 2011 and to come back on top. Trying to win a race, this is the first target and will be a starting point for the rest of the season.”
At 32 years old, Rossi still feels he can be a protagonist among the incredibly high level of talent in current field of riders. “The situation is normal, there are a lot of strong riders, especially Lorenzo and Stoner, but I feel confident because I’m motivated and I know if I’m in good condition I will be competitive.” In the earlier press conference, he touched on the same subject, saying: “you can’t compare different eras. I’m older and come from a previous generation. The new riders are younger and very strong, but when I ride well I’m still very fast and my hunger is the same.”
Rossi discounted a possible return to a Japanese bike in the earlier press conference as unlikely, though “not impossible, but we (Ducati) started this project and we want to win something. I would like to help Ducati achieve something.”
Indeed, the seven times World Champion remains committed to the Italian manufacturer, and plans to stick with them for at least two additional seasons. “At the minimum, I want another contract, meaning two seasons after this one,” he told motogp.com. “This year will be interesting because all the riders have contracts that end! But I hope to remain with Ducati because I have to win with them and get some good results.”