PHILLIP ISLAND // The newly crowned world champion Valentino Rossi is seeking to end a two-race losing run at one of his favourite tracks during this weekend's Australian race. The Italian rider won his sixth world premier-class title at Motegi last Sunday, beating the Australian defending champion Casey Stoner in the Japanese Grand Prix.
If Rossi, 29, wins all of the season's remaining three races here and at Malaysia (Oct 19) and Valencia (Oct 26), he will equal his record of 11 victories in a single season, set with Yamaha in 2005. In almost a decade of racing at Phillip Island, Rossi has enjoyed nine podiums in all classes, including two 250cc wins and an unbeaten five-year streak in MotoGP that included the title-clinching victories in 2001 and 2004.
"We have three more races, at tracks which I love, and I am so excited to be able to just have fun at all of them," Rossi said yesterday. "As everyone knows Phillip Island is one of my favourite tracks, maybe the best of all, and it's an incredible feeling to race here. "I have won there so many times in my career and losing for the last two years has made me sad so now I have one aim to win. "It's a special place, the fans are always fantastic and it's the home race for four of my team so I want to do it for them to thank them for their work this year."
Meanwhile, the still-injured Stoner insists he is focused on a strong performance at his home grand prix. "It's important to come back here with some solid points," he said. * Agencies