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Rossi prepared for what “may be the hardest race of season”

Rossi prepared for what “may be the hardest race of season”

The Fiat Yamaha rider qualified in sixth place at Sepang as he battled grip issues on a track at which he has won five times before.

Valentino Rossi ended qualifying for the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix with the sixth fastest time on Saturday, after struggling to find the extra tenths that would have secured him a front row start as he finished 0.201s off third place.

The Fiat Yamaha rider, who was fastest on Friday, was running inside the top three in the session but towards the end issues with grip prevented him from placing higher than sixth. Even a switch to the softer Bridgestone tyre failed to provide the boost he was hoping for.

"With the hard tyre we're not so bad, even if we're lacking some grip and the bike is moving a bit, so it's not so easy to control. However with the softer tyre we suffered a lot more because the movement became bigger and I couldn't use the extra grip. This means I am only on the second row,” explained the 31 year-old, who has won five times previously at the Sepang International Circuit.

“Tomorrow's race will be very hard, maybe the hardest of the season because the temperature is unbelievable and starting from the second row will make it even harder, but we will do our best and hope to make a good start."

Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha Team Manager Davide Brivio added: "We expected a better result than this today and our potential was greater, so we're a bit disappointed. We need to improve our tyre grip with the race setting; we tried some different combinations during the session and now we need to make some choices so we will use the warm-up for this. Unfortunately at the end of the session the soft tyre didn't give us as big an advantage as we were hoping for so we couldn't do better than the second row, but we will try to improve for the race."


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