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Motorsport | MotoGP

Valentino Rossi © Gallo Images

‘I feel younger and more motivated’



If Valentino Rossi's rivals were hoping the Italian would struggle mentally to adapt this season then they are in for a bit of a surprise.

The 34-year-old multiple MotoGP Champion returns to Yahama this season following a couple of unsuccessful years with Ducati.

Having failed to win a single race during his time with the Bologna outfit, Rossi admitted that he initially thought he would struggle on the M1, but there was no reason to be concerned as he adapted nicely during the pre-season test in Malaysia.

"I was quite sure that after two bad seasons I had not forgotten how to ride. But in the last two seasons the way to ride the bike has changed very much, especially the electronics and the tyres," Rossi said.

"The riding style of the top guys - [Casey] Stoner, [Dani] Pedrosa and [Jorge] Lorenzo - is very different compared to 2008 and 2009 [when Rossi won his most recent titles]. So I have to change a lot and I didn't know if I am able to.

"Now, after the first test, I feel a lot more confident because with the M1 if I try to modify something, it works - with my riding style. Unfortunately, in the last two years, never."

The move to Ducati didn't quite work out as Rossi was hoping it would, but that doesn't mean he has lost his motivation.

"I didn't continue with Ducati because I am sure it is not my bike. This is the main reason," he said.

He added: "I won almost every challenge in my career except Ducati. Anyway, if I had remained with Yamaha [in 2011] then I would feel more tired now.

"After the last two seasons, I feel younger and more motivated."

His Yamaha teammate and reigning World Champion Lorenzo as well as Pedrosa are expected to be the main challengers for the title again this year, but Rossi is confident he can be up there.

"It is another world! Like I do another sport!" he said. "I know it will be very hard this year, but I can start the Championship with the target to maybe fight with Lorenzo and Pedrosa.

"The motivation is 1000 times more than in the last years, where you know you can fight for sixth place."

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