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GP Week : Issue 46
>>Moto GPnews Rossi adjusts his sights ... A COUPLE of weeks ago, Valentino Rossi identified Casey Stoner as his major title rival. Results at Jerez and Le Mans mean he has adjusted his sights, and now regards both his Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa as equal threats. Pedrosa was on pole at Jerez and Le Mans, and on the rostrum at the last three rounds. Asked before the French race if he now took him more seriously, he agreed emphatically. “He is still not 100 percent fit after his injury and he is complaining about the bike, but he is very fast. I am worried about how he will be when he is not complaining,”he laughed. Then came his disastrous race, and the loss of the points lead to Lorenzo. “It is very unusual, but I think maybe we will have four riders still fighting for the championship to the end of the year,” he said. At this point, he gave himself, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Stoner equal chances – “25 percent each. Luckily it is not three against me. We are alone,”he said. But he spoke of the need for urgent technical improvement, after set-up difficulties at Le Mans were complicated by clutch problems that cost him practice time. “We don’t need new parts. We need to work better with this bike. We have to work in another way.” Last-ditch set-up changes at Jerez, mainly raising the ride height, had not transferred to Le Mans. Nor did he expect a hatful of upgrade parts from Yamaha at crucial tests after the Barcelona GP. “I think mainly they will look for improvements in electronics, because it is a cheaper way,”he said. Pedrosa was continuing to complain about a lack of development from Honda: “The engine is too aggressive and the chassis is not so stable,”he said. “I have been saying this for a long time, but we have seen no changes.” 1