There’s never been a career quite like Valentino Rossi’s and the nine time world champion is doing all he can to compete for another title in his 21st season.
As a nine times world champion Valentino Rossi expects to win every time he lines up on the grid. After he failed to win the title in 2015 however there was a clear sentiment hanging in the Valencia air that the Italian may have lost his last chance to win a tenth title.
Having seen his younger rivals dominate the final third of the season and the manner in which the pressure of the title fight affected Rossi the challenge of once again mounting a title fight should not be underestimated. Entering his 21st season at Grand Prix level the task ahead of Rossi is huge.
It’s often said that for older athletes the task on game day doesn’t change but rather the ancillary tasks become more difficult. Race day is something to enjoy but the slog of training becomes more and more of a test of endurance. Last year Rossi somehow managed to turn back the clock and the manner in which he trained in the gym and used his Ranch showed how unique a rider he is in the history of the sport.
Rossi says that the feeling on the bike, working with his team and how he approaches the season is the same as ever and finding the right motivation is the key for him. His resurgence over the last two years has been incredible and the challenge now is maintaining that level for another season.
Speaking at the launch of the 2016 YZR-M1 the Italian admitted that it will take a “special effort” in the coming season to do so again.
“I think I have to give a special effort to try and stay at the same level of the last two years,” said the Italian. “This is the target because in the last two years, especially in 2015, I was competitive more or less everywhere. Whether we’ll be able to fight to win the championship I don’t know. Last year the start was fantastic; in the first part of the season I was ready to be very fast but you never know.
“This year it is like you start from another point because of the new tyres, everyone needs to understand what will happen in a race weekend and also in the race so it will be different and difficult but we will try to be ready from the beginning. When you become older you try to use your experience to bridge the gap.”