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Straight off the back of signing a new deal to race in MotoGP™, Valentino Rossi secures fifth on the grid.
Many fans and paddock insiders had expected Valentino Rossi to wait until around the race in Mugello to decide his MotoGP™ World Championship future, but ‘The Doctor’ got an offer that was too good to refuse. Fans around the world awoke to the news that Rossi would continue in the MotoGP™ World Championship for at least two more years with the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team. Rossi had wanted to wait but as conversations between himself and Yamaha progressed, he realised he was exactly where he needs to be. Rossi first stepped up to the premier class in 2000, this contract guaranteeing he will have a career that spans at least 18 years at the pinnacle of motorcycle racing. With his future sorted, Rossi was able to focus on the task at hand: racing.
Leaving it late to head out in Q2, Rossi needed little time to get up to speed and briefly sat at the top of the time sheet after his first run before being pushed down to ninth. A trip back to the pits saw his Yamaha M1 fitted with a new pair of slicks before he headed back out for one last attack. In the closing seconds Rossi was able to set a 1’54.815 to secure fifth on the grid. Surprisingly this is Rossi’s best Qualifying result at the opening round of a year since 2010 when he started second on the grid. Rossi won the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar in 2015 after an intense battle, his pace suggesting he'll again be in the podium mix.
Valentino Rossi: “I‘m quite satisfied, because it‘s important that we start from the top five and we are fifth. It‘s the ’minimum target‘, but it‘s not so bad because we are not so far from the pole position. I lost a little bit in the second part of the lap, I didn‘t do a perfect lap. If I had done so, I could have stayed a bit more in front, but anyway it‘s good to start in fifth place. I‘m also quite happy about the pace. We have to work and improve in the warm-up tomorrow, but I was already not so bad. It looks like four or five riders are fast and have more or less the same pace, but I‘m most worried about Marquez, because today he had the best pace.”
“ I‘m happy and satisfied with my decision to stay with Yamaha for two more years. I thought I wanted to wait a little bit, but I spoke with Yamaha over the last few days and they were ready, so was I, and the contract was OK, so we said “why not?”. Now we can concentrate on the races.”
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