Rossi: “Today was a lot better for us”

The rider from Tavullia was singing a very different song on Saturday after a much better day at the office

It was a tough day for the Yamahas on Friday at the German GP, but for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team there’s a little more to smile about on Saturday. Maverick Viñales moved up to fourth and just off the front row after ending Friday in P6, but teammate Valentino Rossi made the biggest leap as he went from P17 on Day 1 to take a second row start in sixth on Saturday. For the last non-Honda rider to win at the track, it was a big improvement in position and feeling.

“Today was a lot better for us,” affirms Rossi. “We improved the balance of the bike and the acceleration with the electronics. Our pace isn’t fantastic but it’s not so bad. As has happened a lot this year we’re all very close so it will be important to start from the second row and it will be important to make a good start and good first laps, then we’ll see.” The key? The same many have cited: “I think the rear tyre choice will be crucial because it’s very open and we still don’t understand which is the best one. We have to check the data, work, and continue to work tomorrow. Here you have 30 laps so it’s very long and with a lot of left corners it’s very difficult.”

That is, however, the same worry for all. And whilst Rossi thinks some people have shown better pace so far, it could be a showdown to remember on Sunday between him, his teammate, and compatriot and front row starter Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) a little further back – and who knows what will happen ahead.

“Marquez and the Ducatis have a bit better pace, as often has been the case. But after them there’s me, Petrucci, Viñales…it will be another strong battle I think…”

Hopefully it will prove another showstopper a la Assen – and the lights go out from 14:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday.