Valentino Rossi sees no reason why he cannot maintain his race-winning form for the rest of the MotoGP season after his breakthrough victory at Assen.
The seven-time series champion had gone nearly three years without a win before his Dutch Grand Prix triumph last weekend. He had struggled to match Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo and Honda men Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez for most of the season, but made a breakthrough in the Netherlands.
“Now I hope to make a step. My rivals are very strong and very fast, but now I hope if I can ride like this I can stay together and fight for the victory and top positions every weekend. This is the target,” Rossi said.
“I have a great bike, I am in a factory team. But I know my rivals are so strong and the level is very, very high from the start to the end of the race. The pace has changed a lot from when I was younger. I think I still have the potential and especially the passion and the strength to fight at the front every week.”
Rossi insisted that he had been riding just as well during his troubled Ducati seasons as he did at Assen.
“To stay at the top you need everything at 100 per cent. You need a perfect weekend’s work on the bike, you need to be able to use the bike at 100 per cent and you need the right track, the right tyre for you,” he said.
“I was also riding like this last year, but I finished 30 seconds later…”
He also shrugged off media coverage of his disappointing performances between taking second on his Yamaha return in Qatar and winning in the Netherlands.
“After the Qatar race it was like ‘ah Valentino is still young’ and after Austin it was like ‘Valentino is finished, it’s over’,” Rossi said. “We always have it up and down.”