Rossi challenges for top Factory spot in sixth

Rossi challenges for top Factory spot in sixth
Thursday, 20 March 2014

Having recently launched their new livery, the newly named Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team riders were out feeling their way on the Losail track for the first time this year on Thursday.

With little rubber down on the circuit and some sand blowing across from the desert, grip issues became the number one problem to solve for both Valentino Rossi and teammate Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi gradually moved up the timesheets as FP1 progressed, running as high as fifth before dropping two places to seventh behind highest placed factory rider Dani Pedrosa in sixth at the end.

An optimistic Rossi commented, “The track is in quite a bad condition but I think it’s quite normal for a first practice. There is a lot of sand and not a lot of rubber down.”

He continued, “Also a lot of riders except the factory riders have been here for three days and have done a lot more kilometers and a lot more laps so it’s normal they are stronger than us. Now the work for the weekend will be hard to reduce the gap. I have a lack of grip front and rear, on corner entry and also on acceleration the bike moves very much. I think the condition of the track is getting better and it will get easier.”

Similarly for Lorenzo, he also had no recent data to go on and struggled to find a way round the lack of grip he encountered on the track. He ended the first practice of the weekend in ninth, just under 1.5s from the front.

Lorenzo lamented continued tyre troubles; “The feeling of the rear tyre is more or less the same as in Sepang, with little grip and traction. We didn’t have three days to test here like the top five so our problems are bigger. We must hope that the tyre gets better and we can improve the grip on the rear.”

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