Thursday March 16, 2006

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    Rossi worried by slow bike

    LONDON: MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is worried by Yamaha’s lack of pace with the start of the season looming next week.

    “This has been the worst test of the winter and I’m quite worried,” Britain’s Motorcycle News weekly reported the Italian as saying after the final pre-season test in Jerez at the weekend.

    “We are in a lot of trouble for the first race,” added the 26-year-old, winner of the last five titles in motorcycling’s top category.

    “It’s bad, because we worked a lot during the winter in a lot of tests and the bike has always been good. We were always fast, but now with this problem we are struggling.”

    The season kicks off in Jerez with the Spanish Grand Prix on March 26. Rossi has won six times at all levels at the southern circuit, including last year’s season-opener.

    The Yamaha team performed strongly in previous Barcelona tests but suffered a setback with persistent vibration problems in Jerez.

    “At this point we don’t know which way to follow because we have tried everything … new settings, new tyres, different forks, different shock. And the vibration remains strong,” declared Rossi.

    Rossi was 10th fastest in the tests, more than a second off the pace set by compatriot Loris Capirossi on a Ducati. American teammate Colin Edwards, on the other Camel Yamaha, was seventh. – Reuters

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