Rossi Admits Archrival Stoner Is Biggest Threat
No matter how hard he tries or where he goes, Valentino Rossi cannot seem to shake Casey Stoner.
Speaking at a press conference at Jakarta’s Mulia Hotel, the 27-year-old Rossi said Stoner was still his chief challenger.
“The results show that my biggest rival this season will still be Stoner,” Rossi said, referring to finishing second to the Ducati Marlboro rider three times during official testing at the Sepang Circuit in Malaysia from Feb. 5-7.
The 2008 MotoGP world champion was addressing the media before departing for Istora Gelora Bung Karno, where he was to meet 3,000 fans from across the country.
Rossi and Stoner each suffered off-season injuries, though in much different circumstances. Rossi suffered his injury in a domestic accident earlier this month, slipping while closing curtains and falling into a glass table. He received stitches on his left ring finger and the sole of his left foot.
Stoner, on the other hand, injured his left shoulder while testing at the Jerez Circuit in Spain in November.
“It was a strange situation. Both Stoner and I got injured, but we were still able to lead in testing,” Rossi said, showing the crowd his bandaged finger.
Rossi will ride his new Yamaha YZR-M1 this year and said he still needed time to adapt to the bike.
“We have to improve the bike. The type of tire is very different, and we need to set up the acceleration. We will see if our team is competitive,” he said.
Indonesian rider Doni Tata Pradita was also in attendance at the press conference, and said Rossi’s visit to Indonesia meant a lot to him.
“His visit will be my motivation to do my best and achieve more. His discipline is a good example for me to follow, so I may be like him one day,” he said.
Doni competed in the MotoGP 250cc class in 2008, gaining one point after finishing 15th in the China GP. He will spend 2009 competing in the Superbike World Championship, however, after Yamaha decided to withdraw from the 250cc class, citing poor results and a lack of product development.
Doni said he had been adapting to his new bike for two weeks in Geneva, Switzerland, home base of the Yamaha Indonesia Team, and believed he could complete the 14 series of Superbike with it.
The 2009 MotoGP season starts at the Losail Circuit in Qatar on April 12.
Photo: 2008 MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi of Italy at an event in Jakarta on Monday. (Jurnasyanto Sukarno, JG)Sources: www.thejakartaglobe.com