Seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi went nearly three years without a win prior to his Dutch Grand Prix victory last weekend.
He has been unable to match the performances of his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo or Honda boys Dani Pedrosa and rookie Marc Marcquez this season. However, the Italian is confident that his win at Assen will set the tone for the remainder of the season.
“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.
“What I can do is stay 100 per cent concentrated and be physically and mentally prepared. And every weekend try to do my best.
“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 brushed off the negative press he received from his difficult seasons at Ducati and his disappointing performance after his return to Yamaha in Qatar.
“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,” Rossi said.
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’,” he said.
“We always have it up and down.”