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How Rossi returned to the front of the grid for the first time in over four years

How Rossi returned to the front of the grid for the first time in over four years

The Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana saw Valentino Rossi return to pole position for the first time in over four years, whilst his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team mate Jorge Lorenzo narrowly missed the front row.

Rossi initially struggled at the Valencia circuit, lacking grip and having traction issues across all of Friday practice. The Italian and his team worked hard through FP3 and FP4 to resolve the issue, finding a solid set up for Q2 in the process.

A strong 1’30.843s saw Rossi secure pole position as the wind forced many riders wide through Turn 1. Fellow Italian Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) had led the way until the final lap when Rossi surprised even himself to claim pole. It is Rossi’s 50th time at the head of the grid in the premier class.

Lorenzo had been looking strong and was sat in the top three for much of the session. He set a 1’31.049s and looked set to secure third on the grid before a final lap from DaniPedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) pushed Lorenzo to fourth.

Just 0.050s split the Spanish duo in what was an incredibly tight session with 0.6s separating the top ten. Lorenzo and Rossi prepare to fight for second in the championship tomorrow, the Italian having a 12 point advantage.

An elated Rossi joked, “50 in MotoGP, that’s a lot of poles! It was a great surprise today.“

“I felt good in qualifying, we improved our setting and our first tyre wasn’t so bad. The second run we changed something small and I pushed a lot. The second tyre had a lot of grip and my first lap was already good. I made a small mistake in Turn 2 and I slowed, maybe this saved the rear tyre a bit. I then went faster with a 1’30.8 but I wasn’t expecting pole. I usually prefer the race to qualifying, Valencia is also usually quite a tough track for me, ” he continued.

Teammate Lorenzo commented, “Fourth place is good, the session was very close. As always I pushed hard, but I ran wide at Turn 1 and lost some tenths. Valentino was waiting and was able to take the profit of my slipstream. It’s normal for riders to do this and he has done it before. I would prefer no one to do it but this is the way. We have a chance to fight for victory, the Hondas are strong in braking into the slow corners and accelerating out. We have a good pace and the race is long.”

MotoGP, 2014, GP GENERALI DE LA COMUNITAT VALENCIANA, Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

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