Published on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 23:48
Valentino Rossi was not as relaxed as normal during the 2016 MotoGP season following his '15 feud with Marc Marquez, according to his Yamaha crew chief Silvano Galbusera.
Rossi finished runner-up in the championship last year and renewed his Yamaha deal for a further two years, but Galbusera believes the manner in which 2015 ended hung over him.
Marquez and Rossi became embroiled in a bitter personal feud that year after their clash at Sepang.
Galbusera said Rossi enters 2017 "pumped and motivated, ready to go", but that last season had been very different.
"In 2016 he was preoccupied, the tests reassured him but he was not as relaxed as normal," Galbusera told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"He knew he had to be careful, that every little incident with Marquez would be amplified. He could not allow anything.
"But now he returns with one sole objective: to beat everyone.
"It's a tall order, this season will be hard."
Marquez won the 2016 title against the odds, on a Honda widely believed to be less competitive than Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo's Yamaha.
Galbusera suspects Marquez will be tougher still this year.
"Now they have made a breakthrough with the electronics, it's the Honda/Marquez package that's most dangerous," he said.
"They are the combination to beat."
He does not expect a title challenge from Rossi's former team-mate Lorenzo in his first season at Ducati.
"I don't know what will be the level of Ducati with him," said Galbusera.
"There will be races where he will do very well and he can win.
"But I doubt he can fight for the title."