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Rossi: “In the dry we could have been competitive”

The ‘Doctor’ and teammate Maverick Viñales debrief a difficult Malaysian GP

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP duo Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales had a more difficult Sunday at Sepang after the weather changed just ahead of the race, with the M1 a tougher prospect in the wet as they work on some issues that have plagued the squad this season.

#MalaysianGP: MotoGP™ in slow motion

“We were a bit unlucky with the weather,” said Rossi, “because I think in the dry we could have been competitive. We needed a good race because we arrived from a podium at Phillip Island and it’s good to try to stay at the top.” After topping FP3 in the dry and heading the second row of the grid, the race saw the rider from Tavullia only able to fight to seventh - finding most of the going tough: “Unfortunately today we were not strong enough on this bike in the wet, we had a lot of problems. I was struggling and slow for three quarters of the race. We need to understand it and try to improve.”

MotoGP™ riders on the #MalaysianGP Race

Viñales had a similar struggle in the rain, and crossed the line in ninth after dropping out of the points at one point. The Spaniard believed his wet weather woes to have been solved in Warm Up at Phillip Island and backed that up with good pace in FP2 at Sepang but come race day, it was a different story. “I was thinking in the wet we made a big step in Phillip Island, and here in FP2 we were third. Every lap was good,” shrugged the rider from Roses. “But in the race it as a totally different feeling, losing the rear at every corner and it was hard to get a rhythm or confidence.”

The pace on race day for many was different to that of FP2, and Viñales says he’ll focus more on the result in Warm Up in Australia and his feeling on Friday afternoon. Then, it’s on to Valencia: “I have to keep FP2 in mind and not think to much about the race. We know it was a problem but we know we were fast in practice, and in Valencia we have a good opportunity. It’s a track I like and somewhere I’ve always been fast.”

That fires up mid-November as Viñales returns to the venue at which he first rode the M1, with one more chance at a win.