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Valentino Rossi is fully aware that he may not have a chance to return to the MotoGP podium with Ducati, as the Italian is switching back to Yamaha next year and the red bike is still not quick enough to challenge the likes of Honda at the front of the field.
“I like Motegi a lot,” the seven-time premier class Champion says ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix.
“It’s a nice track with good grip and I have a positive memory of last year. We steadily improved the bike’s setup over the course of the weekend and I think I could have had a good race if I hadn’t crashed on the first lap.
“At the moment, we’re still missing a couple of tenths with our pace to think of the podium, but at the last two races we were still able to ride at a good, constant rhythm until the end, which is positive.
“At Motegi we’ll try to continue working in this direction and to take advantage of the Ducati’s potential, which is usually very high at this track.”
Last time out in Aragón, Rossi was forced to fight back through the pack after first-lap contact with Jonathan Rea sent him around the long loop at MotorLand’s final corner.
|10 May||Ducati completes setup test at Mugello|
|10 Mar||Hayden undergoes minor wrist operation|
|1 Mar||Preziosi leaves Ducati for health reasons|
|18 Feb||Ducati completes three-day test at Jerez|
|2012 Japanese MotoGP Grand Prix|
|14 Oct '12||Latest MotoGP photos: Sunday at Motegi|
|14 Oct '12||Pedrosa wins dramatic Japanese Grand Prix|
|13 Oct '12||Motegi retains MotoGP until 2018|
|13 Oct '12||Latest MotoGP photos: Saturday at Motegi|
|14 Jun||Rossi tops second practice in Barcelona|
|11 Jun||Rossi targets podium finish in Barcelona|
|20 May||Hamilton enjoys Le Mans MotoGP visit|
|30 Apr||Video: Rossi drives NASCAR at Charlotte|
|18 Jun||De Puniet buoyed by Suzuki test showing|
|18 Jun||Lorenzo fastest on Barcelona test day|
|17 Jun||Suzuki to make MotoGP return in 2015|
|17 Jun||I didn't expect to win, admits Lorenzo|
|More Valentino Rossi photos|