News 29 Apr 2010

MotoGP: Rossi hopes to be at full fitness on Sunday at Jerez

Rossi is hopeful that he'll be at 100 percent fitness this weekend at Jerez.

Rossi is hopeful that he'll be at 100 percent fitness this weekend at Jerez.

Reigning MotoGP World Champion Valentino Rossi will race for his eighth victory at the Jerez Circuit in Spain this weekend, the Fiat Yamaha rider leading the series into round two of 2010 after winning Qatar’s season opener earlier this month.

Rossi has an impressive record at Jerez with seven wins in all classes there including three for Yamaha in 2005, 2006 and last year, when he overhauled Dani Pedrosa to take his first win of the season.

Despite being on a high from his brilliant win in Qatar, Rossi was perhaps more grateful than most for the volcano’s eruptions as he slightly damaged his shoulder muscles in a motocross training accident ten days ago.

The cancelled race has given him unexpected extra time to recover and he hopes to be in good enough shape to put up a fight in Jerez.

“Of course it was a pity not to go to Japan, Yamaha’s home race, but we will go in October now and for me it was quite lucky to have this extra week,” Rossi explained. “I didn’t hurt myself badly in the motocross fall but my shoulder was quite sore so it was good to give it more time to recover.

“I don’t know yet how much it will affect me this weekend, I hope not too much. The win in Qatar was fantastic but we saw there that we are lacking in some areas compared to our rivals so we have work to do. I love to race at Jerez, the atmosphere is amazing and I have fantastic fans in Spain. Last year I had a great win and I hope we can challenge again this time.”

Meanwhile, teammate Jorge Lorenzo is now hopefully back to full fitness after breaking his hand in the pre-season and the 22-year-old has a score to settle with the first Spanish track of the year, after he crashed out when challenging for the podium last year.

It was at this track where he made history as the youngest ever rider to compete in a Grand Prix and he has won there twice since, on the way to his two 250cc titles in 2006 and 2007.

“I was sad not to go to Japan because I love the country and the race and last season I won, so I was looking forward to going back,” Lorenzo commented.

“Anyway, we can’t change it and at least we will still go, in October. Now we go to Jerez, an amazing track where you can actually hear the crowd as you race! At Nieto and Peluquil corners especially you can feel the people, it’s like nowhere else in the World Championship.

“Last year I crashed when I was trying to pass [Casey] Stoner and get the podium but until then the weekend had been good, I was fast and took pole position. This year I’m confident that I can finish the race and get as close as possible to the front.”