Motor Cycling: Yamaha move tests ingenuity of genius Rossi

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The Independent Online

Three-time world champion Valentino Rossi expects it will take some time to get back to speed when he finally ends a near three-month absence from the MotoGP scene.

The Italian has been unable to test for his new Gauloises Yamaha team prior to this weekend's session at Sepang in Malaysia due to contractual obligations with Honda, for whom he won his world titles.

But with his Honda contract having expired at the end of December, Rossi is looking forward to getting his first taste of a Yamaha tomorrow.

He said: "It's been a long time since I rode a bike - more than two months and everything's completely new, so it's almost starting from zero.

"I'll need one day just to get used to riding again, just to recalculate the speed and the braking and the bike will feel different to what I have been used to.

"The target for these three days is to understand the bike and to give as much information as possible to the engineers about any problems we might have.

"I'm very excited, I really am. I've been waiting for this for two months. Tomorrow is not a job, I'm really excited about it."

Rossi is unsure of how competitive his new team will be after they were overshadowed last season by Honda and Ducati.

He added: "It's not clear for me yet because I haven't ridden the bike. To win the championship in the first year will be hard.

"We need time to become competitive and win races. We will aim at being at the top level by mid-season and then try to win some grands prix."