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Small issues add up for Valentino Rossi on the second day of the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar as he looks for improvements in FP4.
It was not an easy second day in Qatar for Valentino Rossi, the nine-time World Champion saving a near crash on his elbow with sparks flying. Front-end grip was somewhat lacking in the first session of the day, Free Practice 2, and it took Rossi several laps to adjust himself and the bike to the new conditions. Rossi spent FP2 experimenting with different tyre options in order to understand which combination would be the best for the race.
For Free Practice 3, Rossi and his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team focused on securing themselves a spot inside the top ten in order to head directly into Q2. Some technical issues resulted in a slow start for Rossi, ‘The Doctor’ switching to his second machine and setting a 1’55.175 on his 17th lap of 17. This time saw him end the day in seventh and 0.536s back on the top spot. Times are incredibly close as the top 12 MotoGP™ World Championship riders were split by less than a second, the Q2 session already shaping up to be a hard fought brawl for pole.
Valentino Rossi: “Today was a bit more difficult, especially in Free Practice 2. We tried something else, but we expected the tyre to be a bit harder. Unfortunately it didn‘t work, I didn‘t like it, so we had to come back and we worked a lot on the bike. Free Practice 3 was a bit more positive for me. Unfortunately I had a problem with my first bike with the engine, so we had to change bike, but with the second bike I felt good. I had a good pace, especially with the medium tyre on the rear and I think we are quite competitive. After that we put on a softer tyre, but I wasn‘t able to do the perfect lap so this means we‘re not OK with the setting and we have work to do, but we‘re in the top ten, this is important. We have Free Practice 4 tomorrow to improve the setting to better the bike, because it will be very important to start from the front and not too far behind, if not, things will become very difficult.”
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