Valentino Rossi Post Laguna Debrief: "I Didn't Sleep For Three Weeks!"

Q: How difficult was that?

Valentino Rossi: Very much, yeah. Especially the beginning, I have to stay out of the battle, because in front they were making a strong battle. So I don't feel enough confidence to go into the battle. I have to wait. And I need a bit too much lap to take good rhythm and to ride in a good way. I have to say that when I see Dani in the gravel, is extra motivation, you know, because fourth or fifth, more or less is same, but fourth or third change a lot. And from that moment I try to make my best, and I put some good laps together, and I arrived with Dovi, and this time I win the battle, not like in Sachsenring.

Q: At one stage you were over two and a half seconds behind Dovizioso, and as we've seen in the past, it is difficult to close down the gap. There was a lot of laps left, but were you always confident that it would be quite easy to catch up with him?

VR: No. At the beginning I was already with Dovi, together, but he got away, because he was faster than me. In that moment, I don't have enough confidence with the front, especially, to go with him. When lap by lap I improve my feeling. When the fuel goes down, I have less pressure on the front, I am able to ride in a better way, and when I start to do 1'22 low, and I see I can catch him, which was extra motivation.

Q: Would you have been able to resist Ben Spies if he didn't make a mistake?

VR: I hope so. But I don't know what happened to Spies.

Q: Most of the riders crashed in the same corner as Dani. Is there any problem there with the corner?

VR: Yes. Hard, hard, hard bump. And I go one time I go very, very close to crash, same as Dani.

Q: You have three weeks until Brno. Do you think you will be 100% there?

VR: This two and a half weeks for me will be very important to recovery. I don't think in Brno I will be 100%, but better than this week.

Q: When you got to Andrea, and you were right behind him, where could you see that you had a slight advantage over him?

VR: For me, looks like he had better feeling with the front at the beginning, but less at the end, and for me it was the opposite. This was the difference.

Q: Was there any point where it became too difficult, or you thought, you can't push so hard?

VR: Yes. I suffer from Turn 4 to Turn 5 to change direction, and braking to the Turn 5 always I have shaking because not pushing enough. And also to go down the Corkscrew I have some pain. So in that change of direction, I was not strong enough.

Q: Was there any time you thought the podium wasn't possible, because it was too much effort?

VR: Yes. Before Dani crashed, I thought it's impossible for sure. But afterwards, yes. It came better.

Q: Shoulder injuries make it very difficult to sleep. Is it hard for you to sleep, with the shoulder?

VR: No, now. Now I am able to sleep. But I did not sleep for three weeks. So I have always to stay on the other side, yeah.

Q: It was only 50 days ago that you were lying in hospital with your broken leg. Could you have imagined then that only seven weeks later, that you would be in Laguna Seca on the podium, a fantastic result?

VR: One week after the crash, you don't think of anything. You don't think of the race, of the bike. You just have pain. You don't sleep. You say f*** every time, and just this. From that moment, when the condition starts to improve, it's like you start for a trip, you know? You know that if you have to arrive at one point, you can't lose a lot of time in the Autogrill for filling up with fuel or eat. So you have to push for arrive at a good time. But I don't expect ... so I remember when two weeks after the crash, I say, "F***. Also Laguna, is always a good atmosphere over there, go to US, it's enjoyment and a great track." So to be here on the podium, I didn't expect.

Q: You've had seasons like Jorge Lorenzo is having now - first and second in every race. So you know this feeling. What can you say about Lorenzo at this moment?

VR: He did a great job. So great congratulations to him. Because he is doing a very well. He's in front every practice, and in every condition. So he's in great, great shape. I think he deserves this championship also, also without my injury, my crash. But I have to say that for sure if I am on the track, I can give him a little bit more pressure and more problems, last year that worked quite well. But you cannot say nothing to a rider whose worst result is second.

Q: And he makes no mistakes, so far.

VR: And he makes no mistakes. So another congratulations. [Laughs]

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But you cannot say nothing to a rider whose worst result is second.... That is a great praise for Jorge... IMHO Jorge and Vale are the best in current crop of riders.

But I think NEXT season is when Lorenzo will really have to prove that he is a step above Stoner and Pedrosa. Pedrosa might not be as comparable but Stoner does have a World Championship to his name. I mean, it's obvious Lorenzo is an elite rider, but if he gets a 2nd World Championship it would be a great start to what could become an impressive legacy and really separate him from the other two aliens. You could argue he already has separated himself from everyone not named Rossi, but again, with a second championship there would be no arguement.

Very impressive by Valentino. I was one of the few who was 100% with his decision to come back at Sachsenring and for sure he made the right choice.All credit to him, a really impressive ride. How valuable will those points prove come end of season ?
It appears that Jorge is 'gone'.However Rossi and Stoner are perhaps fancying a shot at 2nd and 3rd in the Championship.
Very interesting to note Vale being wary of a 'front end' issue which could have seen him in the gravel. Casey gets 'brickbats' for saying the same thing.
I guess its the difference between conveying the same message objectively or passionately.
Roll on Brno.

I have always admired Valentino's grace when he is being beaten by someone he respects. It had to be a real bitter pill when he narrowly lost out to Hayden in '06 but he was one of the first to ride up and shake his hand.
I also believe Lorenzo would likely be in front even if Vale had been here the whole time too. Him charging to second at Qatar while injured was an ominous sign.

He's always given respect where it was due, and I see no reason why he wouldn't now. But on track for the rest of the season, I think he will bring the battle to Lorenzo, in a way the other aliens just don't seem to be able to.

Maybe this was always going to be Lorenzo's year, but with a fit Vale, I think it would have been a heck of a lot harder for him. read how people judge riders.
First I respect all opinions and I don't believe I know the truth any penny more than anyone else. Maybe less.
But I wouldn't rate them by number of titles. Of course Rossi plays in another league but if you move a peg down to the other three I would start from a different approach. Originally Pedrosa is the guy with more titles, albeit in 250, with the background of a strong champion. He hasn't won them. He dominated them with authority. When he came to MotoGP I had high expectations and up to now he hasn't fullfilled (which proves only that I was wrong of course). But he showed to have character, after being a star in 250 more than one would have melted without strong results. And when he is in a good day he is extremely strong. If he finds some consistency he can surge to the top spot. And I suppose he also helped developing the bike, maybe not as fast as it should have been done.

Which in the end brings me back to ducatisti83 ... I agree with him that a second WC next year (if he wins as he should this year) will seal it above the other two. But overall, because in this particular moment I think he is already more mature and stronger. And he has already come back from difficult times. I think that not having to fight #46 was a blessing to him, not beacuse of the easy win of the WC (again if) but because it come exactly when he was gaining a lot of confidence in himself. Now he is sturdy, a couple of losses to VR weeks ago could have altered the process.

Stoner is fast. Very fast. And more likeable than Dani at times. But he won a WC only when he was riding a bike way faster than the competitors. To his credit it goes that others were not able to ride it like him. I believe the switch to Honda will show his true value. But to really stand out he has to show that he is able to win in difficult situations. Rossi won against him with a slower bike. Pedrosa won some races (not many but some) with a bike that was not ready. And Lorenzo....

...well Lorenzo should be the weakest of the three. Always losing to Pedrosa in the past, and not even a WC title like Casey. Plus, less spectacular than the australian. Maybe because of that but he has improved a lot much more than the other two. Or three since Rossi hasn't much left to improve, plus the age. It's true that with a full fit 46 it would have been another world, but those are pointless hypotesis. There was not fit 46 so let's look at the facts. The facts are that he is riding fast, making no mistakes and with an astonishing confidence. His weak spots of last year are not his strenghts. Chapeau. And in the first races when Rossi was almost fit he showed to be able to race him on the same level, which is stronger than last year. So potentially is edging above the others, or it will happen if things keep on this way.
His point to show is to be able to develop a bike. He seems very good in setting it up, but all the hard work comes from VR/JB. Yamaha may take a gamble on the development side when the bike will change.

"and not even a WC title like Casey."

doesnt Lorenzo have 2 250cc titles, in 06 and 07?

I feel like we're saying the same thing. I'm saying Lorenzo is on fire right now! If the aliens are on another planet I guess that would put Lorenzo in another galaxy? But my point was their careers. Let's just say motoGP ended after this season and Lorenzo did win the WC. My ranking would be Rossi in first (obviously) Pedrosa in 4th but then you have Stoner and Lorenzo, both would have had incredible runs to the WC (Stoner's was amazing and Lorenzo's proving to be equally as impressive). So who would be 2nd and 3rd? What I was saying in my previous post is that if Lorenzo won another WC sometime after this one (like you said if he wins this one) then the choice would be all the more obvious.
Stoner came back from difficult times (if you buy into the mystery illness as I do) and he definitely won with authority. The faster bike thing bothers me and I feel it takes away from his WC. I mean you could say that about Rossi's WCs post 2008, well he only won them because Yamaha clearly have a superior bike (which they do!) but thats not fair and I would never say that. Ducati might have had a faster bike that year (on the straights) but it was Stoner that actually new how to use it and Stoner who got it across the line. And if Stoner wasn't on that Ducati that year then Rossi would've won.
Ranking riders is for fans and I suppose silly, but thats all I was saying, who are the top 4 in this generation of riders. Thats how I would rank them, on their results in motoGP, and their WCs. Maybe its a bad comparison but I think its just like NBA, you could be the best player in the league for a few seasons straight or most of your career, but its not until you win the title that you can seriously be compared with the elite players.
Thanks for your response, I enjoyed it.

Definitely agree with you. I still believe there is a difference between the advantage of the Ducati that year and Yamaha now. Most of the passes, almost all of them, were on the straight just by power.
Is also true for Rossi at HRC (by far the best bike at the time). His first WC on Yamaha for me has way more credit than the one the year before. But a WC is a WC and in the end they all count the same :)