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A strong Q2 at the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina saw Valentino Rossi secure his best grid position since the Japanese GP.
Throughout his career, Valentino Rossi has never excelled in Qualifying, especially in recent years with the new shorter format. But on Saturday at the Argentina GP, ‘The Doctor’ produced one of his best, and perhaps most crucial, results. A 1’39.786 put the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP man second on the grid and saw him finish as the only rider able to get within half a second of Marc Marquez’s (Repsol Honda Team) pole position time. The time came as a result of immaculate planning in Q2, Rossi waiting for the majority of the field to leave the pits to ensure clear track.
Rossi has managed to finished the last 23 MotoGP™ World Championship races in the top five, the Italian GP back in 2013 the last time he failed to score points. The Italian’s consistency come race day is his greatest strength, when he is able to attach to a group of riders ahead, Rossi has the ability to attack at almost any moment. Qatar proved that Rossi has the pace to stay with the podium fighters, the nine-time World Champion aiming to step back onto the box in Argentina. Few will forget Rossi’s victory in 2015, closing an almost impossible gap to snatch victory from Marquez. A repeat performance in 2016 would cement Rossi as a title contender once more, but Sunday will again be a step into the unknown as Michelin announced they would be introducing a mandatory rear tyre option.
Valentino Rossi: “Last year in Qatar and also here in Argentina the qualifying was bad, but on the other side the races were fantastic. Now we have done a good qualifying, but the race will be tomorrow. Anyway I‘m quite happy because we worked well on the bike and also the track improved a lot today, we can push more and also have a good pace. I think battling with Marquez will be hard because he is faster, but I‘m not so bad and the most important thing is to fight for the podium and make it a good race.
"This new allocation changes the situation a lot, because I thought they would pull the soft tyre and we could race with the harder option, but unfortunately we have to race with a tyre that we never tried before. With this decision we have to start from zero, so we have to hope that tomorrow morning in the half hour warm-up we can understand the situation and that this tyre is safer. Everybody is in the same boat, so we will see what happens tomorrow."
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