MotoGP star Rossi targets his 80th career win
LE MANS, France - Agence France-Presse
Nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi targets an 80th career MotoGP win on May 19 at the French Grand Prix, where he also hopes to break his duck for the season. AP photoNine-time world champion Valentino Rossi targets an 80th career MotoGP win on May 19 at the French Grand Prix, where he also hopes to break his duck for the season.
The Italian Yamaha star currently sits at fourth in the world championship, 18 points behind surprise leader Marc Marquez on a Honda.
Rossi is in the middle of an alarming winning drought with his 79th and last triumph coming in Malaysia in October 2010 before he switched to his unsuccessful two-year spell at Ducati.
But his career statistics are still beyond the reach of his title rivals.
Dani Pedrosa, the Spanish Honda rider who won in Jerez last time out, is next on the list of all-time winners on 23.
“Le Mans is a good track for me, also because in the last two years I was able to arrive on the podium in the dry and also in wet conditions,” said Rossi, who has won three times at Le Mans in the elite class.
“We hope to do the same and also better with Yamaha because this is a good track for the bike. In Le Mans the weather will be very important, because usually the weather is quite bad. It can be cold and wet so we will see. We will have to work well like always and try to understand the weather and the conditions of the track. We will try to do the maximum as always.”
Rossi was second at the circuit in 2012 and third the year before -- performances which represented his best rides during his ill-fated stay at Ducati.
This year, he has been in the shadow on world champion teammate Jorge Lorenzo who captured the season-opener in Qatar and is third in the championship. Lorenzo is a three-time winner at Le Mans, including in 2012 when victory was achieved in torrential rain.
Marquez, the 20-year-old Spaniard who only graduated to MotoGP from Moto2 this season, admits today’s practice will be key to his chances.
“We go to Le Mans and again we arrive there starting from zero, as I haven’t done any tests there,” said Marquez, the winner in Texas last month.