Doohan: 'It's going to be tough for Rossi'

Five-times 500GP champion Mick Doohan gives his thoughts on Rossi and the resurgence of Honda

MICK Doohan has gone on record with Reuters to say that Valentino Rossi will struggle to win another championship after having more than a decade at the top.

The five-times 500GP champion Doohan questioned whether Rossi could return to the top with the injury that has hampered current Ducati rider during this and the last season. In the interview he said: "He's a great rider and there's no other way of saying it, But I think it's going to be tough for him -- he's no spring chicken in motor racing terms."

Doohan, who dominated the Grand Prix championship in the five year period between 1994-1999 continued: "I think in any sport, you've only really got a decade to totally immerse yourself in the top of a sport. He's in his 12th season so it doesn't get any easier, especially after you've had that success."

Unlike Valentino with his wins on both Hondas and Yamahas in the premier class, Mick was only victorious on the vicious Honda NSR500 throughout his career and despite a rumbling to move to Yamaha in the mid-90s never won with another manufacturer in the top-flight series, ending his injury-filled career at Jerez in 1999.

"So I'm not saying that his career's over, but it's not a downhill ride any more, I think he's at the bottom of the slope." concluded Doohan.

On the subject of Hondas slump in recent seasons, "Honda lost their way a little bit, and that's probably why they lost Rossi in the first place, and now they've decided to go back racing properly." said Doohan.

But he recognises a return to form with the performances of compatriot and inaugural 800cc champion, Casey Stoner, "His platform with the Honda this year is as good as he's going to get really. Unfortunately he had an accident with Rossi in Spain but that's part and parcel of racing. A lot of races to go and this year he's definitely a candidate for the championship."