Rossi remains realistic about MotoGP championship hopes for the 2012 season
VALENTINO ROSSI has downplayed his chances of challenging for the 2012 MotoGP championship - but hopes to be closer to the leaders this season.
In 2011 Rossi failed to win on the Ducati Desmosedici and languished in the mid-pack in his debut season, in what was meant to be a dream partnership with the Italian manufacturer.
Speaking at the annual Wrooom media event at Madonna di Campiglio, Rossi said: "The championship is difficult because the gap in 2011 was quite big.
"Our target is to fix problems step by step, and try to come closer to Yamaha and Honda. And from that moment, start to fix all the details, to be competitive for the victory."
Elaborating on why the title may not be achievable in 2012, the Italian admitted: "I do not want to say from the start that I cannot fight for the championship, but I have to be realistic."
Commenting on the post-season test at Valencia, he said: "In the end there was 1.5 seconds we have to recover, and our target is to get close to the others and be able to race with them and fight with them. This is our goal."
"I think that the first test will be important, and for sure the bike will be different compared to last year. It is impossible to be competitive from the first test, but I think we will have some good information to work with, and be ready for the first race."
Comparing his thoughts on this season compared with how he felt before the beginning of 2011, he said: "I have to say it is a bit different because last year I arrived in a worse physical condition, so my mood was a bit down.
"Today I am in shape physically, and we have two or three weeks ahead of us. I am ready for the first test. It is nice to work with Ducati, even if unfortunately the results have been under our expectations. The atmosphere is nice and we all believe in what we are doing."
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