Weary Rossi looking forward to racing again

Last updated at 10:55 06 April 2005

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has already confessed to a sense of weariness heading into the season's opening round at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez.

Mayfair-based Rossi, who is chasing a fifth successive championship in world motorcycling's elite class, admitted he was relishing the opportunity to go racing again after having spent the winter developing the 2005 version of his Gauloises Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.

The 26-year-old has been concentrating on improving the agility of the bike by tweaking chassis settings, with success seemingly in sight after a succession of improving laps times at the final pre-season testing session at Jerez.

Rossi registered a fourth-fastest lap time at the session, 0.547 seconds behind the one minute and 39.983secs benchmark set by Nicky Hayden on the Repsol Honda.

Marco Melandri, on the Movistar Honda, was second quickest and John Hopkins, riding the factory Suzuki GSV-R, was third.

'The bike has good potential'

"I'm happy at last to have finished testing and to be going racing," said Rossi. "We've done so many kilometres with the bike and on planes it already feels like the middle of the season.

"But we've got a new bike and some things are very different to the old M1 so we've needed this development time.

"We've made some mistakes along the way but overall we've done some good work and I think we're ready to race now and I'm feeling confident about the first MotoGP."

Rossi said he was unperturbed by his failure to dominate during the Jerez testing session as plenty of useful data was accumulated.

"Things didn't go quite as well as we'd hoped, but the bike has good potential," he said.

"We had some troubles in the braking sections of the circuit because the bike was quite nervous when the tyre was coming to an end.

"We know we can do better and what we have to do to improve. So we're not too worried, it's just that there's not quite enough rear grip after I've done a lot of laps.

"The front is okay though - we already fixed that problem."

Team director Davide Brivio said: "After a long winter, during which we've done a lot of testing, it's really good to be finally going racing.

'Everybody tends to try to hide some things about their bikes'

"We're very interested to see the level of our bike against all the others because during testing everybody has been very aggressive but also everybody tends to try to hide some things about their bikes.

"So we want to see where we really are against the others and this is the first real chance.

"We're feeling a little bit different to this time last year because this time everyone is looking at us and expecting us to be out in front.

"But despite this added pressure we're really excited about it. Testing was generally positive and we concluded on a good note," he added.

"Valentino was not bad during the Barcelona test and he set some good times in Jerez. There are still a few problems to solve on the new bike, but nothing big and I'm confident we're ready for the first race.

"I'm sure the mechanics and engineers will be able to fix these things during the two days of practice before the race."

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