Valentino Rossi spoke openly to MotoGP colleagues, journalists and fans at Misano, just days before he fractured his tibia and fibula.
Yamaha has announced that it will not replace the injured Valentino Rossi for this weekend’s racing at Misano, having been ruled out for at least a month after breaking his leg in a motocross crash. Instead of fielding a replacement for the 38-year-old multiple-time world champion, Yamaha has confirmed it will run a sole factory bike for Maverick Vinales this weekend.
In recent years, Rossi has taken some stick about his age – but he’s determined to prove that the naysayers wrong. During the interview, Valentino spoke about how aging has affected his performance on track. “The first thing is the body; now it is more difficult and I have to train more, it is harder to recover” – but, he went on to say, “I’m not old, maybe what happens is that the rest are very young!”
He also emphasised the importance of mental strength. “It is easier when you are younger. The new generations are always stronger and faster but it is also a great challenge. You learn a lot from them. I also learned from the elders when I was young, but now it’s the other way around.”
The Italian multiple-World Champion also underlined the changes in race strategy in MotoGP over the years: “Before you had to be smarter, the strategy had more weight in the race. Now you have to go with the gas to the top from the beginning to the end and physically is much more demanding.”
When asked about his Yamaha, Rossi weighed his words carefully. He spoke about the steps the Japanese factory has taken to improve tyre degradation – and the problems the changes have presented. He said, “It’s like throwing a coin into the air, what will come out? Will it be good or bad? That’s how it works.”
Finally, Rossi acknowledged that plenty of his peers have their eye on a ride with Yamaha – but warns, “It will be difficult (laughs), I will give the maximum”. And in reference to retirement, Rossi said that he will base his decision on the first six races of the season, “I will decide based on whether I can peel for the podium and the victory.”