Just a month after clinching his eighth win of the 2005 MotoGP World Championship and the 76th of his Grand Prix career on the occasion of his 150th appearance at the Alice Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, Gauloises Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi is all pumped up as the season resumes this weekend at Brno with the Gauloises Grand Prix Ceske Republiky.
After moving level third with Mike Hailwood in the all-time Grand Prix winners’ list, Valentino Rossi needs just one more win to equal his total of nine from last season – already a premier class record for a Yamaha rider. The Italian has also equalled Agostini’s record of scoring eight premier-class victories in a season on five separate occasions and one more will set a new record as the first rider to score nine wins in a season on five occasions.
“Records are not the most important thing but I am very happy to have the same number of victories as ‘Mike the Bike’,” says Rossi, who recently extended his deal with Yamaha until the end of the 2006 MotoGP World Championship. “I never saw him race but they tell me he was one of the best, maybe the best ever. I am now on the podium of all-time winners and this is a big pleasure for me.”
Rossi scored his very first win in Grand Prix racing at Brno in 1996 in the 125cc class, after starting from pole for the first time in his career. Since then a further three of his 76 victories have come at Brno, including the MotoGP race in 2001 and 2003, and it is a result he would like to repeat as he looks to make up from the disappointment of losing there last season.
“This break was very important because the first half of the season has been very tough and everybody needed to rest! I have been winning races but every one has been a big battle, almost always with a different rival. Each of the remaining seven races of this season will be another challenge, but I want to try to beat my record of eleven wins in a season.”
“Brno is definitely not my favourite circuit but I have had good races there in the past, especially two years ago. It is a high-speed track, but it still has many turns, as well as some up and downhill sections and a lot of adverse camber. Last year the Yamaha was not bad there, but I lost a little bit too much time under acceleration at the beginning and then also under braking towards the end and in the end it was impossible to beat Gibernau. This year our bike is much better, so I hope it will be a different result!”