2010 Preseason Interview
What have you been doing during the off-season? How much training and how much holidaying?
Valentino Rossi: If my time during winter was 100, let’s say 50/50 between holiday and training. I went to the mountains with my friends and I snowboarded with them, which is my favorite winter sport. My training during the winter break is very different than the standard one during the MotoGP season. Anyway, I have never stopped training; otherwise it would be very much difficult to start riding again this year.
How do you prepare for a new season? Is it more important to work on your fitness these days?
Valentino Rossi: Training has become more and more important, because MotoGP bikes are more and more difficult to be ridden and you need power and resistance for the 45 minutes of the race. You also have to get to the new season start in the best possible shape. At the gym, my training is pretty normal, with weights, but I always try to ride motocross or supermotard bikes at the “cava”, in order to not lose the feeling with the throttle.
At the age of 31 (nearly) do you think you are still improving as a racer or do you think you have reached the peak of your talents?
Valentino Rossi: On 16th February I will be 31. I will be a little older… I always try to be at the top of my shape, improving and trying to adapt to the new bike. You always need to adapt yourself to the new bike, to the new regulation. If you think you are at the top of your performance, it is a big problem! Every season has its own story, it is more and more difficult and you always have to be faster. I will try again, as usual.
Who do you think will be toughest to beat this season, Jorge, Casey or Dani, and why?
Valentino Rossi: It is very difficult to say now who will be the hardest rival this year. I think all of them are on the same level; it is difficult to beat any of them. They are very strong riders, they can be fast on every track and condition and through the entire season and they are all capable of winning the championship. The 2010 bikes will make the difference, but I think all three riders will be the more difficult to be beaten.
You have made no secret of the fact that you are not happy about the new engine rule restricting the amount of engines that can be used in a season. How would you change it, if you could?
Valentino Rossi: This rule is not fantastic for MotoGP. It will make everybody’s lives very difficult. To me it is not right that MotoGP have six engines only for the entire season, it is too tight. The rule is aimed to save money, but I think engines should be at least eight; ten would be easier and less risky. All manufacturers will have to adapt to the new rule and all riders will have to be careful, in order to save the engines and arrive at the end of the season with six engines only.
Last year you made more mistakes than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing you make. Do you think this was to do with the level your rivals pushed you to or what?
Valentino Rossi: Rivals pressure is always very high, every year. In 2009 I did three mistakes during races, which is too much, but at least two of them were very particular, because it was raining and I had slick tyres. In Indianapolis, instead, I had the worst accident and I could avoid it. In 2010 we will try to stay as much concentrated as possible and to avoid those mistakes.
What developments have you personally asked to be made to the M1 for this season?
Valentino Rossi: In order to improve the 2010 M1 we have decided to focus on two aspects: we have improved the chassis, that I tested in Valencia with. Our aim is to develop a more stable bike, with more grip. The second direction, which is the most important, is the engine. We need more horsepower, despite the new rule that limits the number of engines through the season. We need more power and longer life of the engine. This will not be easy for Yamaha, but I know that they have been working very hard on this.
What’s your opinion about Ben Spies? Do you think he can be a threat to the current ‘big four’, as many people say he will be?
Valentino Rossi: There is a lot of expectation about Ben Spies. I think Spies is a very good rider and has a great talent. It is not a case that he is the current Superbike World Champion! He will surely be very competitive, he has a good potential, he’s fast and brave, but of course I hope he will be less fast than we will be, because four strong riders are already too many…
What are your thoughts about the news of 1000cc engines returning in two seasons’ time? Is that an exciting prospect that makes you want to commit to MotoGP for even longer?
Valentino Rossi: Theoretically, I am very happy to go back to the 1000cc, because I like it more than 800cc and it is more fun. Of course we will have to see how the technical regulation will be for these engines and we will have to see whether they are fast and fun to ride like they were in 2006. Anyway, going back to 1000cc is an important challenge, as far as my motivation are concerned, and may convince me to stay in MotoGP for longer.
Following your recent Ferrari F1 test, people are asking once again if you will move to F1. What do you say about this, and how do you expect Ferrari to do this year?
Valentino Rossi: I had the chance to drive the Ferrari F1 car in Barcelona. It was great, I had fun and it was a very good test, with good lap times, but I think that it will be very difficult to see me driving in Formula One.
What do you think about Schumacher returning to F1?
Valentino Rossi: It has been an interesting and curious choice. It will be nice to see Michael again on a F1 car and see if he can be as fast as he used to be before retiring.
Is what Schumacher is doing something you could see yourself doing, i.e. leaving MotoGP for a few years and then returning? Or do you think that, when you do decide to retire, it will be for good?
Valentino Rossi: I don’t know. It is a difficult question. A lot of great sportsmen such as Michael Jordan retired and then came back, as well as Armstrong. Honestly, my objective is to not retire at all and, if I do it, I would do something else. But I don’t know, it is really very difficult to say.
When do you expect to make a decision about your future?
Valentino Rossi: It is difficult to say a date, anyway during the next summer I will have my ideas more clearly about my future, about 2011 and 2012. I am very good in Yamaha, so I will talk to them first. Then we will see.
Can you shed any light on what you’re planning?
Valentino Rossi: I can tell you that I am building a new house. All the rest, I don’t know; I have not decided yet.