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MotoGP: Rossi eyes Barcelona podium after Italian pain

Italian sixth in standings after string of poor results

MotoGP: Rossi eyes Barcelona podium after Italian pain

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, June 11 - Yamaha's Valentino Rossi is eying a return to the podium at this weekend's Catalan MotoGP Grand Prix after his poor form continued with a crash at the start of his home race in Italy nine days ago. The collision that caused the crash was not Rossi's fault but the nine-time world champion started back in seventh place on the grid and so he was more exposed to getting caught up in the inevitable early-race confusion. Therefore, the Italian is especially focused on upping his game in qualifying ahead of Sunday's race in Barcelona to avoid being in the same situation. "For a few days after I had the crash at Mugello (in Italy), I hurt everywhere," Rossi said Tuesday. "Fortunately I was able to start training immediately and I did not waste any time. "The Barcelona race will be very important, especially after recent results. "I want to get on the podium in Spain and I will do my best as usual. "It will be important to start the weekend in the best way and make a good qualifying. "It will be very important to start from the front". Rossi, old by MotoGP standards at 34, returned to Yamaha this season after two winless years at Italian team Ducati. He made a good start to his second stint with the team with whom he who won four of his seven premium-class world titles - between 2004 and 2009 - by coming second at the season-opening race in Qatar. But he did not make the podium in any of the four subsequent races and he is sixth in the MotoGP standings with 47 points, 56 behind Honda's championship leader Dani Pedrosa and 44 behind his Yamaha teammate, title-holder Jorge Lorenzo. He needs a quick return to form to silence the critics who are saying he can simply no longer contend with a younger, hungrier generation of riders, above all Spaniards Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Honda's 20-year-old talent Marc Marquez. "Valentino needs a good result here as he has had some bad luck in the last two races," said Yamaha Team Director Massimo Meregalli. "We are ready for him to recover what he has lost over the last two rounds and perform as we know he can in Catalonia". Lorenzo's victory in Italy last time shows that Yamaha have a competitive bike. Furthermore, Yamaha Team Manager Wilco Zeelenberg said he thinks it is especially suited to Barcelona's Montmelo' circuit. "I think the track suits our bike quite well," Zeelenberg said. "After winning (with Lorenzo) at Mugello, where the package worked out really well, we are looking forward to visiting Montmelo' with a good spirit to fight".

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