Rossi: 2017 MotoGP title fight is "something special"

 Edd Straw

Valentino Rossi believes the 2017 MotoGP championship is “something special” because of the number of riders and manufacturers in contention with six races to go.

The Yamaha rider is fourth in the standings, 26 points behind leader Andrea Dovizioso, with Honda’s Marc Marquez and teammate Maverick Vinales also ahead.

With Dani Pedrosa only 36 points off the top in fifth and riders from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha all in the hunt, it’s a situation Rossi thinks is unusual.

“I think that it is something special, because usually you fight with another one or two riders or maximum three, but this time it’s five,” said Rossi when asked if this was the most exciting championship he’d been involved in.

“Also, during practice, you can be out of the top 10 very easily, so I think yes."

Rossi wrote off his hopes of winning the title in the build up to Sunday’s British Grand Prix, in which he finished third behind Dovizioso and Vinales, and still believes it will be difficult to challenge.

“Yeah, I have 26 points [deficit], which is not a lot, and six races to go, that is a lot, but for me it’s difficult,” said Rossi.

“I am not strong enough in the last laps to fight for the championship. Also, I’m not far [off], but I am fourth so it is difficult.”

Dovizioso refused to make any predictions for the championship, and believes any of the top five can still challenge.

This is despite his recent run of form, as the Italian has won back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring and Silverstone.

“I’m convinced until Dani [Pedrosa in the standings], it is completely open because every race can change everything,” said Dovizioso.

“Look at Marc, in the last few races he created a gap and it looks like he was fastest [at Silverstone] but he had bad luck. This is something that can happen, so it’s completely open.

“Everybody has to push 100 percent and try to get the maximum because the championship, the difference in points, is very close. Six races is a lot of points so we have to think race-by-race.”

Marquez, who didn’t finish the British GP thanks to a Honda engine failure, doesn’t believe that Dovizioso’s win has turned the Ducati rider into a title contender because he already considered him to be one.

“Before the race, Dovi already was one of the favourites, one of the main opponents, and now he’s leading,” said Marquez.

“He’s won four races, he’s the rider with the most victories, so I try to control Dovi, try to control Vinales, try to control the top five riders – even Dani. They are all inside the fight for the title.”

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Motor Sports
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Edd Straw
24 May, 2017