Motorsport

Published: Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 8:06:00 PM
Updated: Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 8:08:51 PM

MotoGP: Rossi's still got fire in his belly

Italian rider Valentino Rossi clocked a best lap of 1:59.999 on his 13th lap while Spanish rider Pedrosa also showed blistering pace to clock a similar time on his Repsol Honda bike. – EPA Photo

Italian rider Valentino Rossi clocked a best lap of 1:59.999 on his 13th lap while Spanish rider Pedrosa also showed blistering pace to clock a similar time on his Repsol Honda bike. – EPA Photo

SEPANG: Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi demonstrated to his challengers he still packs a mighty punch after both he and rival Honda factory rider Dani Pedrosa walked away from the last day of MotoGP testing at the Sepang International Circuit with the exact same lap time.

The Italian former world champion, who will make his 15th premier class campaign this year, was able to find something extra in his set-up to cross the line with a best lap of 1:59.999 on his 13th lap while Spanish rider Pedrosa also showed blistering pace to clock a similar time on his Repsol Honda bike.

There was also good news for the Ducati Team with Italian Andrea Dovizioso finishing close behind with 2:00.067.

On Thursday, Rossi, struggling with the 2014 tyres used by the Yamaha factory team, ended fourth while Pedrosa was the pace-setter.

But the three days of second MotoGP pre-season testing at Sepang were enough to convince him he has made significant strides over the winter.

Rossi had a disappointing 2013 campaign with Yamaha when he was outclassed by team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and indicated the first six races of 2014 would determine whether he retires at the end of the year.

With seven world titles in the premier class, Rossi is one of the most successful riders in MotoGP history.

He out-paced Lorenzo at Sepang for the second straight day and said that lap times were a reason for optimism.

”I am very happy about the tests because I improved a lot compared to last year.

”I improved especially in braking, (where) last year I suffered very much, so it is a positive test.

”I am happy as I went under 2:00 for the second time at Sepang in my 20-year career, so I’m proud of this.

”But we need to improve more to fight (current world champion) Marc Marquez,” said Rossi.

Marquez sat out the three-day testing this week after sustaining a leg fracture in dirt track training in Spain last week.

The Ducati, Honda and Yamaha factory teams now head to Phillip Island for a tyre safety test from March 3-5 though MotoGP title holder Marquez will again miss the trip as he continues with his recovery.  

Tags / Keywords: motorsport, MotoGP, Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez, Sepang International Circuit

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