Why Rossi still rules

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Sport -

We’re now eight races and five tests into the Valentino Rossi and Mav­er­ick Viñales team­mate re­la­tion­ship, and up un­til now it’s been all sun­shine and smiles, with many in the pad­dock amazed at how well the new boy and the old hand, no­to­ri­ous for turn­ing team­mates and ri­vals into quiv­er­ing wrecks, were get­ting along.

But, with the pres­sure now bear­ing down firmly on Viñales’ shoul­ders and Rossi get­ting into his stride as the cham­pi­onship re­turns to the Euro­pean cir­cuits that he loves, Viñales might fi­nally be start­ing to get a taste of what it means to come un­der the kind of pres­sure that few are able to ex­ert quite like nine-time cham­pion Rossi.

It all started at the Barcelona test where Rossi laid the blame for Yamaha’s strug­gles so far this year on his team- mate’s shoul­ders, protest­ing that his is­sues with the new chas­sis had been over­ruled by the new wün­derkind.

And, with Rossi on win­ning form, the next few rounds may well be where we fi­nally get to see what the young pre­tender is made of. Strug­gling on mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions and some­times at a loss to ex­plain why, Viñales looks is begin­ning to show some chinks. That’s a dan­ger­ous place to be with Rossi breath­ing down your neck, and how Viñales han­dles it at Sach­sen­ring, Brno and Aus­tria should de­fine whether he’s ready for ti­tle suc­cess in 2017... or not.

‘He is no­to­ri­ous for turn­ing ri­vals into wrecks’

MO­TOGP RE­PORTER SI­MON PAT­TER­SON

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