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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 June 2006, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Rossi targets Barcelona hat-trick
Rossi now has 54 MotoGP victories
Rossi feels he is back in the groove after winning at Mugello
Valentino Rossi is impatient to begin his quest to win a third straight Catalonia MotoGP win this weekend.

Italy's world champion won his home race last time out to reignite his campaign to retain the title.

Currently fifth in the standings, he trails joint leaders Loris Capirossi and Nicky Hayden by 34 points.

But Yamaha's Rossi said: "Barcelona has always been a big race for me and I have won it twice in the past two years, so I can do it again."

After a crash in Jerez and finishing empty-handed in China and France, Rossi knows he cannot afford many more errors with 11 races left to go.

Ducati's Sete Gibernau set the pace in last year's Barcelona race only to see Rossi take victory.

The Catalan has yet to succeed on his home circuit, having been runner-up for the last two years and third in 2003.

Le Mans winner Marco Melandri holds a 24-point margin over Rossi in third, while Spanish newcomer Daniel Pedrosa is 21 points ahead of him in fourth.

  • Argentine 250cc rider Sebastian Porto has announced his immediate retirement Thursday ahead of this weekend's race.

    The 27-year-old Repsol Honda rider said he was weary of not being able to win with a motorcycle which did not suit him.

    Porto has won seven races and finished on the podium 19 times since his debut at the Argentine MotoGP in 1994.

    His last victory came last year in the Netherlands, and he finished the 2005 championship in sixth place after being runner-up the previous year.

    Rossi claims stunning Mugello win
    04 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
    Rossi extends contract at Yamaha
    01 Jun 06 |  Motorbikes
    Rossi says title is not lost yet
    22 May 06 |  Motorbikes

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