Rossi does Monza

Rossi back on win­ning form as he suc­cess­fully de­fends his rally crown

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Si­mon Pat­ter­son MCN MO­TOGP RE­PORTER

Valentino Rossi has rounded off his 2016 sea­son in style by suc­cess­fully de­fend­ing his Monza Rally crown with a stun­ning win at the three-day car race in Italy. Tak­ing the lead from World Rally reg­u­lar, and fac­tory Hyundai driver, Dani Sordo in the sec­ond stage, Rossi even­tu­ally won by 20 sec­onds in the ten-stage event, with Le Mans podium fin­isher Marco Bo­nanomi fin­ish­ing third.

Rossi tra­di­tion­ally takes to four wheels to fin­ish off his sea­son, ad­mit­ting to MCN that af­ter last year’s dif­fi­cult end to the Mo­togp sea­son he needed an es­cape from two-wheeled rac­ing and loved the no-pres­sure event in front of his home fans.

The win means that Rossi and co­driver Carlo Cassina have now drawn level with Le Mans 24 Hours win­ner Ri­naldo Capello with five wins each at the race.

Rossi also took vic­tory in the knock-out for­mat Mas­ter Show race that rounds out the day, with a blown en­gine for Sordo hand­ing him the win in a dra­matic fi­nal race of the mini­tour­na­ment.

“In the last few years, to­gether with Mon­ster En­ergy, we have re­ally built up the event to be some­thing very spe­cial. This year we have had great weather, and a lot of peo­ple came out to watch and sup­port,” Rossi said.

“Of course to fin­ish the sea­son with a vic­tory is a great feel­ing. To win the rally and the Mas­ter Show at the same time is fan­tas­tic. Tak­ing the win in front of the grand­stands, with the great at­mos­phere in Monza, is very spe­cial to me.

“I am so fo­cused for the en­tire sea­son on Mo­togp rac­ing, so when it comes to the end of Novem­ber, af­ter Va­len­cia, I can’t wait to meet the team and drive my rally car. Of course I al­ways want to be com­pet­i­tive as a rider or a driver, and I want to fight for the podium in the car at Monza.”

And, with the win­ter test­ing ban now in place and the 2017 Mo­togp sea­son some two months away, the Ital­ian ad­mit­ted that it was time for a wellde­served hol­i­day af­ter the in­tense last two months.

“I’ll try to re­lax now, be­cause this sea­son was very long and with a lot of pres­sure. From now, I’m of­fi­cially in hol­i­day mode! I’ll stay at home and hope for some snow so that I can spend some time snowboarding.”

It was a good week­end for the rest of the VR46 team, with Suzuki Mo­togp team boss Da­vide Brivio and brother Roberto fin­ish­ing fifth and best friend Uc­cio Saluc­cio in ninth.

Even in a car Rossi would re­ally rather be on two wheels

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