In addition to revealing to Sky Italia that he is keen to extend his Yamaha deal for another year, Valentino Rossi also gave an insight into his rivalries, his successors, and what life after MotoGP might bring.
The hot topic was of course his renewed battle with Marquez – what he thought about the World Champion, and whether he is worried that his records will be broken some day: “He’s really good, it makes me worry, but he’s also a nice guy and is always ready to fight. He’s someone who knows how to ride the bike very well and has a great desire to win always, to be out in front – so he’s a great opponent.
“It would take a long time [to break my record], but he has the potential to do so. I do not know if it will bother me if he does, for now it’s not close, and he yet has to win many races.”
On his relationship with Lorenzo, which has seemingly improved drastically from its rocky past, Rossi said: “It’s good. We have grown a lot together, we were very obnoxious in the past, but now there is a great deal of respect. It lets us both work together to improve the Yamaha. Of course I am his first opponent and he is my first. But I like to be teammate to Lorenzo, I hope he stays with Yamaha.”
Many great battles were fought between Lorenzo and Rossi in the past, which brings up memories of more great fights and rivals Rossi has had over the years: “I’ve had so many: Capirossi in 250, then in 500 Biaggi, Gibernau, Capirossi again, then Lorenzo, Stoner, Pedrosa – now there’s Marquez. They always become a little bit stronger.”
Once he does finally hang up his leathers, he’s confident that the Italian flag will be well represented: “There are so many strong Italian riders in my opinion. I would say Fenati, Antonelli, Bagnaia, Morbidelli, and there’s my brother who will do the CEV, Bulega, and I forget some. However, there are at least 10 that could potentially be my successors.”
Two of the aforementioned are of course in the Rossi-supported team, Sky Racing Team VR46, this year in Moto3. Qatar may not have gone as planned, though Rossi is pleased with how things have gone so far. “I am very satisfied, we’re having fun with the team working with Sky. We have put a team of the highest level around Fenati and Bagnaia. I must say that in the first race, especially Fenati, disappointed a little as we expected much more from him – because he has the potential. But we are a new team, and we need some time to break in.”
Once and if this young talent takes his place, Rossi does not rule out a switch to rallying – a series he has in the past shown much interest in: “I love it, it’s my great passion. I driven the cars, I’ve done rallying, the Monza Rally at the end of the year. I also did the World Rally Championship, but I decided that as long as I can I will be racing bikes. Then I’ll see.”
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