Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rossi Unworried By Stoner Surge

MotoGP World Champion concentrating on own work after Qatari test.

A storming lap from expected title rival Casey Stoner and his own aborted race simulation could have left Valentino Rossi concerned in Qatar, but the reigning MotoGP World Champion was in good spirits after finishing third on night three of testing in the Arab emirate.

Rossi racked up a quickest time of 1’56.972 from 75 laps, over a second down on Stoner’s fastest lap and two-tenths of a second slower than teammate Jorge Lorenzo. The Italian saw his attempts at working on his race pace ended by the troublesome conditions experienced over the three days, switching his focus to other aspects of the Yamaha M1.

“Our position is not so bad; we’re third, close to Lorenzo. Stoner is very fast but I am not too worried because we have a good idea about our path for the race and I think that in one month, when it is hopefully a few degrees warmer, we will be okay,” Rossi insisted on Tuesday night after making a breakthrough with electronics and acceleration.

“In the early part of the evening we were fast enough but later on, when it became much colder and the grip went down, we suffered quite a bit. I started a long run but in fact I was getting slower and slower, so we didn’t finish and instead we concentrated on trying some different things with the setting.”

”This is not a great track for me or for the bike and the target for the race is to be better than last year! Next we go to Jerez for the final test and I am expecting to be strong there.”

Last year’s Qatari round proved problematic for Rossi, who qualified seventh and crossed the line in fifth place - one of only two occasions in which he was absent from the podium in 2008.


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