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GP Week : Issue 63
Rossi at Misano was on the eve of another great victory. His 103rd. He was also under pressure, his seventh title in the premier class suddenly looking less secure after he crashed at Indy and pesky team-mate Lorenzo closed up to within 25 points again. Cheerful as ever, he didn't let it show GPWEEK: What is it like, racing a strong team-mate on the same bike? It's a rst for you. VALENTINO ROSSI: Di erent. Is a di erent way to work in the team also. Usually the big manufacturers in the last years have always just one top rider each. We are in two in Yamaha, so this is a different strategy that can bring good result, but also big disaster. (laughs) On track, more satisfying to win, because you are at the same level. But usually I always try to make a great work for developing the bike, and I usually make the work just for me. But now I also make the work for my worst enemy. (laughs again) You know ... sincerely I think I don't deserve this, after what I do for Yamaha. But this is the Yamaha choice. You can almost be sure of the title this year. Will you be playing it safe at the last ve races? This year is a great performance but also some mistakes ... a little bit too much. Two times because of strange conditions, with slick tyres in the wet (Le Mans and Donington). Last time (Indy) was a stupid mistake ... and now we have half of the advantage of before. So we need to arrive always on the podium, and arrive at the end of every race. This is the rst target. After almost 14 years in GPs, is your riding still developing. Yes, because the bikes change a lot. I spent seven or eight years between 500 and 990, that were a di erent way to ride than 250, but now with the 800 with Bridgestone tyres and a lot of electronics, I have to come back like 250. I had to modify another time the style, to use this type of bike at the maximum. What is your strongest point, of technique? Precision, I think. I have a precise riding style, and also I don't throw anything away. Concentration seems to come naturally. You joke around the paddock, wave at the camera -- then you pull the footpeg of the bike, and you are completely focused. Always in my career I can arrive at the right concentration. But anyway every year it is more di cult, for sure, but you have to use your experience. You have to know what you need out of the track, and what you have to do from Monday before the race to arrive on Sunday prepared. I don't do any strange things, like ways to concentrate or work on my mind. I just try to arrive on the weekend relaxed and not a lot of pressure from outside. You are like a battery on a mobile phone ... have to be fully charged on Friday, but you must not use the phone too much, because if not you arrive on Sunday and the battery power is finished. (laughs) How to you feel about your rivals ... about Jorge. Must you hate them? First you have to understand your rival. You have to know your enemy -- the good point and the bad point. You have to try to understand what your enemy thinks. You have to hate your enemy, yes, but depends in which way. I mean, it's possible to hate your enemy on the track but have a quite good relationship away from the track. Not a good friend, but civil. Depends on the behaviour of the two enemies out of the track. But on the track, you have to want to kill him, not so? I think yes. Is something like what happens in the jungle, the law of the jungle. If you try to kill your enemy is okay. If one time you don't try, for sure your enemy will kill you. So (laughs) is the same. Who has given you the most pleasure to beat? Gibernau, always ... because before we were quite good friend, and after we have some problem out of the track, so the enemy became bigger. The motivation. But, everybody. Everybody in another way. Are you so competitive in everything? What is it like to play cards with you? After a hiccup in the States, Yamaha's number one man was on form when he spoke to MICHAEL SCOTT as he prepared for a (successful) Misano fightback 5 MINUTES WITH ... VALENTINO ROSSI 18