MO­TOGP

SEA­SON PRE­VIEW

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Motogp Preview -

And even with that in mind, Rossi still has a use­ful tool up his sleeve – his vast ex­pe­ri­ence of rid­ing bikes with­out elec­tronic aids.

Now the only rider on the grid with ex­pe­ri­ence from the days be­fore ex­ten­sive rider aids (let alone the un­tame­able 500 two-stroke ma­chines of old), he should be able to shine in the clos­ing stages of the race, as tyres fade and con­trol be­comes much more about the rider than in pre­vi­ous sea­sons – some­thing he ad­mit­ted to MCN dur­ing the fi­nal round of test­ing at Lo­sail.

“The long run we did at the end in Qatar was im­por­tant be­cause you don’t feel a lot of dif­fer­ence if you only do four or five laps. The races will be­come more dif­fi­cult for the rider with the new elec­tron­ics - you will have to do a lot more work.

“For sure the tyre moves and slides, but you can push - you can stay on the rhythm. We’ll have to play more with the bike com­pared to last year, but that will be in­ter­est­ing!”

There’s no doubt­ing the skill of the class’s old mas­ter, and that - along with his sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with the M1 - could well be a huge ad­van­tage against a gen­er­a­tion of rac­ers raised on trac­tion con­trol.

So for 2016 it looks like his main op­po­si­tion won’t come form a young up­start like Marc Mar­quez, but from the op­po­site side of the garage in the shape of team-mate Jorge Lorenzo.

Un­stop­pable on his day by any­one last year – Rossi in­cluded – Lorenzo was sim­ply a league above the rest of the field when he got go­ing; he led ev­ery lap of ev­ery one of the seven races he won in 2015.

So how does Rossi counter that? By do­ing what he can do best, dic­ing with Lorenzo and pre­vent­ing that trade­mark early race break­away. The new Miche­lins, with their slow­ness to come up to tem­per­a­ture, might well play into his hands there, bunch­ing the pack in the open­ing stages of the race and giv­ing Rossi the chance to strike.

Fo­cused and fit, Rossi is ready to pick up where he left off

Rossi rounded out his win­ter test­ing pro­gram in Qatar fifth fastest

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