“It would have been very nice to win with Ducati,” Rossi said. “I didn’t expect it to be so difficult. I gave it 100 percent, but it wasn’t to be. These things happen. The difficult part was knowing it was two years.
At the end of the first I realized there was no chance, but knew I would have to go through a second year knowing I wouldn’t be able to fight for good positions. That was complicated. It was very difficult to find any motivation and to try and stay focused. In the end, you don’t enjoy your 18 MotoGP races if you are traveling the world, but knowing you can’t fight for what you want. When things are like that, it is quite difficult…
“(When I returned to Yamaha) I was not entirely sure I would be given an official Yamaha M1. That left me worried that I would be ending my career with two negative years, so when it was confirmed that I would be racing with my M1 again, I felt very, very motivated.”
Once he was back on a blue bike, Rossi was also straight back on the podium.
“The whole weekend had gone well,” he recalls of the opening meeting of the 2013 season in Qatar. “But then we had qualifying; the others were very strong and I wasn’t able to improve. I had to come through from behind. The race itself was nice because I rode especially well and managed a great pace over the last 10 laps. When you realize you can actually catch the others, it’s a beautiful feeling.
“Assen was the most special race so far because winning is just so different to anything else, including finishing second. It was a special victory for me from many points of view, especially since I had not won since 2010 and honestly did not know whether I would ever again. So to win at Assen in a beautiful race and after several overtaking moves … well, that was probably the most difficult win of my career, but the one I wanted most.”
Rossi went on to specify precisely what the Dutch success meant to him:
“At that precise moment, I felt reimbursed for all of the disappointments of the previous two years – and to taste victory again is always special,” he said.
Now poised for an “important race” at Misano this weekend, Rossi stresses that he is targeting as many more victories as possible before the end of the campaign.
“The aim is to finish inside the top three, to try and fight with (Cal) Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech3) — who is very strong — and to score points, but mostly to be on the podium and be winning races,” the Italian said. “As an approach to the races … well, I think it now takes more effort than it did before because, when you are young everything is always much easier. To achieve the results now, you must always be 100 percent focused, and work especially hard in the garage to make sure no stone is left unturned.”
With six Grands Prix remaining and a maximum of 150 points still left on offer this year, fourth-place Rossi remains mathematically in touch, although the possibilities are continuing to decrease by the race. He currently sits 77 points in arrears of rookie world championship leader Marc Marquez.Assen, Ducati, MotoGP, Valentino Rossi, Yamaha